Praying for the President

NOTE – I wrote this blog post a little over a week ago based on some struggles I had been experiencing with people who I care for. I was going to post it right after writing it, then the Executive Order travel ban happened. As a result of the ban I worried at that time because of the circumstances that my post might not be viewed I in the manner I had intended. So I postponed this post until today.

I have said before that I talk politics not politicians at church, chaplaincy, and on this blog but I’m going to break that for the beginning of this post. The reason I am going to break my previous statement is because it is necessary for the subject that I wish to write about – praying for the president.

My friend Kirby, a poli sci professor at Texas A & M, posted a Google Chrome extension (PolitEcho) that analyzes one’s Facebook “friends” and places them on a continuum of political ideology. Below is its analysis of my “friends”.


As you can see from the above graphic of my friends, if it is accurate, I am apparently drawn to people who have an extreme range in political thought. I know for a fact that several of my friends are having trouble praying for our current president and I also know that some other friends have had trouble praying for previous presidents. I have heard this as a friend, a pastor, and a chaplain.

1 Timothy 2:1-4 reads as follows:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

That isn’t a suggestion. It is a directive. Following that command is obviously easier when you like the president that is currently in office. It isn’t necessarily very easy if you really don’t like the president and feel like he (and thus far it has always been a “he”) is dangerous for the country.

Yet scripture tells us believers to pray for him. is a pretty big deal since Paul was telling Christians to do this during a political regime that would soon want to kill them. Yes praying for the emperor was smart. It showed that Christians, while having very different values, weren’t trying to overthrow the empire. Christians were persecuted in the Roman Empire for many things but the biggest reason was that we were viewed as bad citizens for not being willing to sacrifice and worship the emperor1 . Christianity wants to transform countries, not necessarily depose kings. Praying for Caesar didn’t mean supporting what he was doing in Rome. In fact, the followers of Christ worked to change the world that the Caesars wanted to create. So Paul instructed followers of Christ to pray for their political leaders. This is usually fine and dandy with people when we like the leader.

But not so much when we don’t.

One of my favorite aspects of Anne Lamott’s book “Plan B” is her honesty in admitting that she didn’t want to pray for President George W Bush, a president that I voted for twice. She knew she needed to pray for him because she claimed to follow Christ. She knew that it is written scripture that Christians should pray for their political leaders. Of course, this didn’t mean that she wanted to pray for him. So she prayed for God to help her pray for the president. I love prayer like that and I believe God does too. It reminds me of the father in scripture who prays “I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief”2 .

I’m convinced that praying for President Trump means asking for God’s best for him while also asking for the best for our country. Asking that the duties of the office of the presidency won’t destroy his marriage or family. That love in his marriage and family will grow during his time in office. Asking the Father to help President Trump to make very difficult decisions and to make the right decisions. To know when to listen and to whom to listen.  Praying for him to be surrounded by people who will offer him good advice and help him to see the American way. Praying for humility for the man who now sits in the oval office. Praying for him to be able to find ways of peace for our country in a world off war. Most importantly praying that God will make himself known to President Trump and that Donald Trump will also know that he himself is known by God. That’s actually a pretty dangerous prayer because while it is best for all of us to encounter God it also tends to flip everything one thinks upside down.

None of the above means that we can’t pray for certain of his policies to be stopped from going into action. Nor does it mean that one can’t pray for his time in office to be as short as possible. It just means that we need to be praying for him and his life. I believe that praying for our leaders affects our attitudes toward them. It might help to love him like Christ does, as a child created in the image of God no matter how marred that image might be. I can pray for President Trump while also praying for policies that I am convinced are more consistent with the American way.

  1. The Emperor Cult was a crucial part of Roman power and the witness of Christians that “Jesus was Lord” was a direct affront to the Roman thought that “Caesar is lord”. 

  2. Mark 9:24 

Saying Something is Outdated in an Outdated Manner

So I found myself on another degree mill kick this morning (one of the wonders of Facebook is finding “friends” who have “degrees” from some of these places). The video above came from today’s search through the interwebs. Bethany Divinity College & Seminary is located in my hometown of Dothan, Alabama. You can read for yourself about the college and the requirements they have for their degrees. I would love to be able to say that the school makes me proud of my hometown, but after looking at what they offer and require I can’t say that.

You should watch the above video. Why? Because of the wonderful example  it is of calling other modes of education outdated in such a wonderfully outdated manner. The video looks and sounds like it was made in the late 70s. It was posted on YouTube in 2012 by Bethany as an example of why you should use them for your education. BTW in my opinion you shouldn’t use them.It is my opinion that they are a degree mill, a unaccredited “school” that provides an “education” that won’t be accepted by accredited institutions and doesn’t really prepare you to do what it is supposed to prepare you to do.

Bethany describes other modes of education as outdated in a video that claims to that Bethany is on “the cutting edge”. I’m not sure what decade this video would have been consider “cutting edge” but I’m betting it was before the 80s, maybe before the 70s.

To paraphrase old Jeff Foxworthy‘s old “You might be a redneck” series of jokes: “If you watch the above video and think it is cutting edge, you might be out dated.”

Personally it reminds me of all the times I see people, businesses, churches, and other organizations talk about how something it new and exciting when the truth is that whatever you are doing is basically the same old thing. For churches this usually means “We’re the church for people who don’t like church” which should usually just be translated “you can wear shorts to church and our pastor has a cool beard, but everything else is basically the same”.

Johnny Karate’s 5 Karate Moves to Success

Noah really likes Parks and Recreation. Since Noah liked the show I thought I would Netflix the series. I just finished it which means I have now watched the rather odd 7th season. In the 7th season there is one episode about The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show.

Johnny Karate (i.e. Andy Dwyer, a.k.a. Chris Pratt) has 5 Karate Moves to Success and I love them. The 5 karate moves are to each day:

  • Make Something
  • Learn Something
  • Karate Chop Something
  • Try Something New (Even If It’s Scary For You)
  • Be Nice To Someone

A long time ago I started teaching the boys 4 things that I wanted them to remember if I were to I suddenly die (at the time this would have probably been from an alligator attack since we were living in Baton Rouge). This was important at this stage of my life because it was not uncommon for me to be involved in something that could possibly lead to my death.

I’ve mentioned the 4 things before. They are that a real man …

  • Loves God
  • Loves his family
  • Respects/protects women
  • Protects those who are weaker than him

The list works and I continue to ask the boys concerning the 4 things whenever I leave from visiting them or they leave home to go back to school. However, if I was looking for a new list I would seriously consider Johnny Karate’s. I even think “Karate Chop Something” would work if I directed it toward karate chopping injustice (i.e. I’m going to call my senators tomorrow – POW).

Is it too late for me to encourage my college age young men to karate chop something each day?

Basset Hounds Make Great Guard Dogs

Just in case you have ever doubted that basset hounds make great guard dogs above is photographic proof of their superior ability in such tasks. I took a photo of Montana setup in her security post when I left on my rounds early this morning and took another photo when I returned home. As you can clearly see she has barely moved from her post. This right here is dedication folks. Obviously, Montana is a great example of diligence in protecting her family.

Bulletin Quote January 8th

For 2017 I’m making graphics of the quotes from the front of each weeks bulletin at Tapestry’s gathering. This week’s comes from a C.S. Lewis letter found in the compilation “Letters to Malcolm”. It’s a great reminder that the God Who is the Comforter doesn’t necessarily bring the comforts that we often pine away over.

If any “threads” would like to do some of these please shout and let me know.

Sabbath as Ressitance

Just finished Sabbath as Ressitance by Walter Brueggemann and it is so good. Was reading it with the small group that Pam and I belong to. BTW we are officially the most awesome small group in the world because the Oberstadts made coffee cups for everyone saying so.

Anyhow here’s a quote from Brueggemann’s book that I believe summarizes pretty well what he is saying throughout the book.

Sabbath is the practical ground for breaking the power of acquisitiveness and for creating a public will for an accent on restraint. Sabbath is the cessation of widely shared practices of acquisitiveness. It provides time, space, energy, and imagination for coming to the ultimate recognition that more commodities, which may be acquired in the rough and ready of daily economics, finally do not satisfy. Sabbath is variously restraint, withdrawal, or divestment from the concrete practices of society that specialize in anxiety. Sabbath is an antidote to anxiety that both derives from our craving and in turn feeds those cravings for more. Sabbath is an arena in which to recognize that we live by gift and not by possession, that we are satisfied by relationships of attentive fidelity and not by amassing commodities. We know in the gospel tradition that we may indeed “gain the whole world” and lose our souls (Mark 8:34–37). Thus Sabbath is soul-receiving when we are in a posture of receptivity before our Father who knows we need them (Luke 12:30). p. 84.

Bass Fishing Via A Drone

I may have a reason for owning a drone now. This is awesome. It is even better because he catches the bass on a Arbogast Jitterbug, the greatest of all lures. Now sure that even Andy Lickel has done this.

In addition I have mad respect for the guy for having wits enough about him to tell the person taking his photo to do so horizontally, rather than vertically. Folks, there are very few occasions when it is okay to take portrait style photos.

Chicken & Dumplings Isn’t Soup

I love living in Wisconsin and being from the South. Ninety-five percent of everything is super cool because of the contrasts that I experience during my days because of the differences between the two cultures. However, five percent of the time the conflict is too great and I become frustrated. Yesterday Conor was the sources of one of those 5% moments.

I ran into Conor yesterday at Emy J’s1 . It is incredibly typical for me to run into a “thread” at Emy J’s. It is one of the multitude of reasons that I love going to Emy J’s. We spent around an hour solving all the world’s problems (you’re welcome) and I introduced Conor to the Firecracker rolls at the Main Grain. If you have not had one of these then you need to go to the Main Grain early (because they run out) on a Wednesday and get one. They are amazing. Anyhow after an hour I decided to go home and eat leftover homemade chicken and dumplings for lunch. I invited Conor to join me because Pam’s chicken and dumplings are amazing. I mean seriously. I literally moan when I eat these things. They are that good.

Anyhow it didn’t work out for Conor to be able to join me because I couldn’t verify with Pam that there was enough left over for two, and while I am willing to share my leftover chicken and dumplings with people I care for, I am most definitely not willing to give up my leftover homemade chicken and dumplings. As I wrote earlier, they are VERY good. So we decided it was best for the friendship for him not to come over.

As I was leaving Conor said “Enjoy your chicken and dumplings soup.” That’s right he called it “chicken and dumplings soup.” Now chicken and dumplings can be liquid enough to look like a soup (which is the way I like it because then you add in cornbread to sop up the juice) but it isn’t a soup. Therefore, it is incorrect and just sounds plain wrong to call it “chicken and dumplings soup”.

I ran this past the weekly small group that Pam and I are a part of and they were pretty much split down the middle on soup or no soup. It is chicken and dumplings folks. That is all. Just chicken and dumplings!

Get it straight you darn Yankees. :)

  1. Mom you’ll love that Conor’s first words to me were “Hey I see that you too came to Emy J’s so people could see you read. 

Dear TV Sound Effects Person

I am sure you have a true job title like “sound engineer” or “audio artistic developer” or something else like that, but right now I am irritated at you and therefore I don’t care about searching out your true title. I usually appreciate what you do. You add wonderful audio elements to the TV shows and films that I watch which help to immerse me in the world of the video I am watching. It wouldn’t be the same without you adding both small and big sound effects. Doors should sound a little squeaky when they are opened and you make sure they do, and how else will I know that someone drove by rather fast without that little tire squeal that you add to the scene.

Yet every now and then you add a sound effect that sounds more like something going wrong in my house than it does anything that would be happening in the movie. For example, last night when Pam and I were watching the 2016 Call the Midwife Christmas Special.

Now don’t judge me. Call the Midwife is excellent. It is a really compelling show and as a member of a care giving profession and the spouse of another member of said profession I will add that the care fictionalized on Call the Midwife is usually a wonderful example of how to listen to someone in need. The fact that I get bonus points with Pam for watching the show … well that’s just gravy.

Anyhow last night the cast of Call the Midwife cast was in South Africa. It was a very good episode, as usual. You however, Mr or Ms Sound Effect person, decided to randomly add the small tweet of a song bird in the background of many scenes. I’ve never been to South Africa so I wouldn’t know if there should be song bird tweets or not. I do know there weren’t random lion roars sprinkled throughout the episode. Anyhow the tweet was never very obvious so I never thought “Hey there’s a song bird tweet”. The sound effect was consistently there, sprinkled throughout the episode, and it sounded almost exactly like something going bad in our furnace or some creature deciding our warm house is a better place to winter than the very cold outdoors of Central Wisconsin.

Furnaces going out and unwanted furry visitors are a real fears up here in the cold North. If your furnace goes out when it is -3 degrees outside really bad things can happen and the battle never ends with small creatures that think “mi casa es su casa” during the yearly reign of Jack Frost. Therefore, your ears are alert for these sounds during the chilly time of the year.

Tweet, tweet, tweet. Is that a pulley going bad? Squeak, squeak, squeak. Is that a mouse figuring out if it is safe to come out and not see the cat?

It only took us a few times of stopping the DVR and listening to finally figure out the sound effect stopped every time we paused the video replay.

Darn you. Darn you all to heck sound effect people.