One Question About the Trial of a President

I am finding it hard to blog right now. I have been watching the proceedings in  the senate and I get a sinking feeling. As we head down the path where the balance between the three branches of government is toppled, I wonder when and where there a point of no return.

The one question I have for the president’s defense team is this: If what the House laid out as crimes that should remove a president from office don’t  qualify, what action would qualify? Is there such an action? Trump  himself once said that he could kill someone and his supporters would still stand behind him.

I don’t know. DT is looking more like a monarch each day.

A Dark Moment in Time

Awake at 3 am. I knew I would not be able to go back to sleep, so I got up and started the coffee. I read until 6…three hours. Bernie got up about 5:30. I told him that I woke up with the impeachment trial on my mind. I wasn’t arguing in my head about the the opposing parties’ positions. I wasn’t arguing at all, just laying in the sludge and feeling dirty.

I know that it isn’t any of the perspectives about the president that make me feel “icky” inside. Rather it is hatred itself that leads to the condemnation of a whole people. I believe that divisiveness is evil, based on my belief that God is One and God is Love. The extremes of taking sides with one’s own party seems cultish to me. One of the characteristics of a cult is that followers will follow a charismatic leader blindly, even denying their own doubts. Another is control to the extent that any dissent is considered traitorous.

I don’t know what will come. Our country has suffered division before, in fact, there is always division. From its birth, those who set out to create a new government showed their basic divisiveness in how they fought over how to design the new government. But the job got done. It wasn’t perfect, so adjustments had to be made along the way. More will have to be made. We are still in process.

What is frightening today is the violent tone, a vicious, bullying, condemning tone in which those with opposing views are deemed the enemy. We can get past that. Moderate, reasonable voices are around and hopefully will win out. Unfortunately, these don’t get the greatest attention. We need to know who those voices are, listen and join our own voices with them.

The frightening thing about this moment in time is that there are those who are stock-piling weapons in anticipation of a revolution of the bloody kind. We need to get out of this dark place into the light before a shot is fired. This is what kept me awake.

God – Pro Gun?

PRO GOD, PRO LIFE, PRO GUN.

Bernie and I saw the above on a bumper sticker driving home this morning from the mechanic’s shop.

I said, “What!!!???” I get the pro-life part. God, after all, is the source of life, all life. God loves all life, God’s own creation…all of it. But Pro Gun? Really? A person should be guaranteed his or her right to own a gun because God is standing behind them? Really? This same God who is in love with all life would approve of something that has the sole purpose of taking life away?

Now I have seen everything.

What I Want in a President

Another Democratic presidential debate tonight! Thankfully, there are only six contestants. I remember the Republican debates in 2016. Yikes! So much nastiness! These debates are deteriorating to nastiness as well. People say that is good. It prepares them for the final debates with their Republican contender – implying that we should expect that to be nastiness extraordinaire. Also it helps to distinguish the candidates one from the other when the Democratic positions are pretty close between candidates. It makes me weary. I will watch tonight because I am a good citizen but I still have no clue where my vote will land.

Most Democrats hold positions similar to mine. For example, I am in favor of universal health care, making higher education accessible to all and immigration reform that has some semblance of compassion. Everyone qualifies, pretty much, except for the nitty-gritty details. I am not smart enough to know whose ideas will actually work. So all of this is not going go help me narrow down my choice.

As I was pondering this morning, I realized what I want most of all in a leader. I want a president that is a person of character: honesty, humility, compassion, and respect for others. I want to be able to trust him or her. I think back at the many presidents that have come and gone over my years as a voting citizen and the fact is, some of my favorites weren’t all that good as presidents. They made mistakes, sometimes with dire consequences. Some were Republicans, some Democrats. But I had a great deal of respect for them because they were good human beings.

I am not naive. I know the importance of experience, smart solutions and the ability to work with the other branches of government. But I sure hope for someone I can proud to represent the country.

JOHN WESLEY – “LIBERAL” OF THE 18TH CENTURY

Posted today on Facebook is a JohnWesley’s Manifesto. Wesley was an 18th century religious leader, founder of the Methodist movement which grew into the Methodist Church. Take a look:

1. Reduce the gap between rich people and poor people.

2. Help everyone to have a job.

3. Help the poorest, including introducing a minimum wage.

4. Offer the best possible education.

5. Help everyone to feel they can make a difference.

6. Promote tolerance.

7. Promote equal treatment for women.

8. Create a society based on values and not on profit and consumerism.

9. End all forms of slavery.

10. Avoid getting into wars.

11. Share the love of God with others.

12. Care for the environment.

These words today would be considered a “liberal” point of view and rejected by those who consider the conservative view of a higher spiritual value. But Wesley was living in the 18th century under monarchical rule. If “conservative” tends to be back-looking, Wesley is pretty far back. From my perspective the above is not liberal or conservative but universal as a practical way of being a respecter of all as equal in the sight of God. Everyone….everyone…is my brother or sister. All the advantages I have I will work for them to have as well. Being a Christian, I see the above as a practical way of Jesus’ teachings being lived out in the world today.

So why are these ideas so adamantly rejected today by so many, even people of faith? I struggle.

COMING HOME TO WORDS OF WAR

I was on a retreat this weekend and left with an amazing sense of peace. Home again, I unpacked and took a much needed nap before I checked the news on my computer. I saw words about threats and bombings and even WWIII.

Here is what I want to say about this news:

War never leads to peace.

War and killing are never God’s will.

God never takes sides in a conflict.

Any leader who claims that he is speaking for God is a manipulator and liar.

I am not allowing these events to mess with my peace. The peace I feel is a gift. Jesus said, “I give you peace,” but he added lest his followers should misunderstand, “The peace I give is not what the world gives.”

Return to Pacifism

Watching the news in recent weeks and months, I find myself searching for that small space inside me that once held a faith in pacifism. Today, I felt a hope of renewal as I read a reflection by Richard Rohr. Lately he has been writing about mystics, perhaps for the same reason that I have had this yearning. Today he highlighted Catholic priest and peace activist, John Dear. He quotes Dear in his explanation of what it means to be a pacifist:

“What does it mean to be nonviolent? Coming from the Hindu/Sanskrit word ahimsa, nonviolence was defined long ago as ‘causing no harm, no injury,no violence to any living creature.’ But Mohandas Gandhi insisted that it means much more than that. He said nonviolence was the active, unconditional love toward others, the persistent pursuit of truth, the radical  forgiveness toward those who hurt us, the steadfast resistance to every form of evil, and even the loving willingness to accept suffering in the struggle for justice without the desire for retaliation….”

Rohr suggests another way understand nonviolence by claiming our fundamental identity  as the beloved (children) of the God of peace….This is what Jesus taught: “Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the sons and daughters of God…Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, then you shall be sons and daughters of the God who makes the sun rise  on the good and the bad, and causes rain to fall on the just and unjust.

If we believe that we are all children of God, then every human being is our sibling, he says, “then we can never hurt anyone on the earth ever again, much less be silent in the face of war, starvation, racism, sexism, nuclear weapons, systemic injustice and environmental destruction…”

When I meditate on the words that Jesus spoke and the life he lived, it baffles me that any acts of violence, ANY harmful acts against other human beings can be justified in his name. I feel the light again, a tiny flame now, but I hope that in finding others who believe in peace as a way of life, it will burn brightly once again.