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Dear Reverend Graham

Dear Reverend Graham

Dear Reverend Graham,

Your continued support of Mr. Trump is ungodly, immoral, unholy, dishonorable and corrupt; not to mention just plain inexcusable!

What is wrong with you? Do you really not see the truth of who and what Mr. Trump really is?  He has absolutely no sincere interest in defending the free expression of religious faith or safeguarding the rights of unborn children, whatsoever! You are of no consequence to him. He is and has been using you and the faith you profess to gain and maintain corrupt power and unscrupulous control.

You keep defending a man who has committed multiple crimes against women, treason and sedition against the federal government of the United States and genocide against the American people and the world. To say nothing of money laundering, fraud, tax evasion, and who knows what other heinous crimes he has performed.

Mr. Trump is one of the most morally bankrupt individuals in all of history. If I believed in a literal interpretation of the Bible, I would say you are the false prophet touting the wonders and accomplishments of the antichrist.

In a recent Newsweek article, you claim:

… the U.S. is entering a “dark winter” not just because of COVID-19, but because God is “turn[ing] his back” on a country with deteriorating morals.

If that is the case, you certainly share in the blame, considering your apparently unswerving subservience to a pathological liar and what appears to be a willful misunderstanding of biblical teachings as well as God.

How could God who is everything ever turn His back on Himself? It is simply not possible. Jesus maintained as such:

If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. Mark 3:24-25

Jesus never turned his back on anyone, not even the pharisees, sadducees, or teachers of the law. He reserved his harshest words of criticism for them (see the book of Matthew, chapter 23) because, like you, they were all about appearances, pride, and hellfire judgement. Yet his interactions were always Truthful and Loving, all the while he reminded everyone to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly” with God.

Literally speaking, who turned who’s back on whom in the Garden of Eden? Didn’t Adam and Eve turn their back on God? What was God’s response to their betrayal?

Genesis 3: 8-9 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

Where are you is a far cry from what you propose about God’s behavior. Yes, there were consequences to their choices. However, even after God sent the pair out of the garden, He spent the remainder of the Torah and Christian Old Testament wooing mankind into relationship with Himself. Over and over again God is met with resistance and duplicity.

Every sincere and thoughtful examination of the Bible reveals God as lovingly seeking shared awareness with Her creation. Always!

For God so loved the world that he gave his only and unique Son, so that everyone who trusts in him may have eternal life, instead of being utterly destroyed. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but rather so that through him, the world might be saved. John 3:16-17

Where is the back turning?

Sincerely,
Susan Fridinger

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-supporter-franklin-graham-says-dark-winter-due-moral-decline-not-just-covid-1558436

Unity

Unity

The following is an excerpt from ushistory.org about the Pledge of Allegiance:

“The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by the socialist minister Francis Bellamy (1855-1931). It was originally published in The Youth’s Companion on September 8, 1892. Bellamy had hoped that the pledge would be used by citizens in any country.

In its original form it read:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1923, the words, “the Flag of the United States of America” were added. At this time, it read:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1954, in response to the Communist threat of the times, President Eisenhower (a Republican, by the way) encouraged Congress to add the words “under God,” creating the 31-word pledge we say today. Bellamy’s daughter objected to this alteration. Today it reads:

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

What does this covenant mean to you? In light of the fact that Mr. Bellamy wrote it to “be used by citizens in any country,” shouldn’t there be a deeper more enlightened interpretation than simply devotion to one’s country?

There is a lot of talk about “unity” these days … unity and healing.

Both of these concepts appear to be the go-to sentiments since the 2020 election results were called for Mr. Biden by the Associated Press just a week ago. After a bit of research, I found the word ‘unity’ is a fairly common term in presidential inauguration, acceptance and concession speeches especially after particularly contentious campaigns and close election outcomes.

After all, we are the United States of America.

In light of the way so many people vehemently support the Pledge of Allegiance, how can those same folks say “America, love it or leave it?” Also, please note, right-wing Republicans and fundamental Evangelical Christians, that this oath that is at the very heart of your patriotic nationalism was written by a “socialist minister.” How is that for irony?

I have few enough friends on Facebook that it is very easy for me to tell when someone has unfriended me. As a result of my outspoken support of truth in the face of Mr. Trump’s lies and Mr. Biden’s win, I lost several of them in recent times. They felt, it seems, they could no longer associate with me due to, what appeared to them, as my supposed “hatred” of Mr. Trump.

And that’s just the thing …

I do not hate Mr. Trump. I do not hate anyone who supports him. To do so would be to believe they are not also children of God, and that is simply not true. Furthermore, in this very shared, interactive and interdependent world of ours, we cannot ever for very long disassociate from “our enemy” as some bloggers I have read suggest.

Jesus is adamant about how we are to respond to our enemy. Over and over again, His mandate is crystal clear in stories like the Good Samaritan and in the message of the Sermon on the Mount.

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Matthew 5:44-47

If you do not believe him, perhaps the wisest king in Hebrew history can persuade you. Solomon said:

If your enemies are hungry, give them bread to eat; and if they are thirsty, give them water to drink; for you will heap coals of fire on their heads, and the LORD will reward you. Proverbs 25: 21-22

To “heap coals of fire” on the heads of our enemies means to choose to act out of generous, selfless love rather than vengeance and retribution.

This is not easy! Just ask Malala Yousafzai or Corrie Ten Boom or Martin Luther King, Jr. or Gandhi or Nelson Mandela or Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

As I write this, I am looking out my front window through my neighbor’s yard to a house on the next block that has a blue Trump banner flying on the front porch. I have never met the person(s) living in that home but I could certainly make assumptions about them.

What good would that do? The anger, frustration and, yes, hatred toward them that fills my heart as I look at that pennant only hurts me!

And just because I have not been formally introduced to them, does not mean that I have not stood in line with them at the grocery store, or sat beside them at the doctor’s office, or had some kind of interaction with them in the course of one of my days.

Whether we know who are enemy is or not, we are called to treat people the way we want to be treated.

Perhaps this the true spirit of awareness Mr. Bellamy was calling forth in all God’s children.

Love is who you are. When you don’t live according to love, you are outside of being. You’re not being real. When you love, you are acting according to your deepest being, your deepest truth. You are operating according to your dignity. —Richard Rohr

For further perspective on this topic, please visit: https://www.cnn.com/2020/11/14/europe/nazi-grandfather-store-scli-intl-grm/index.html

For more on the meaning of “heaping burning coals,” please visit the following site:
https://free.messianicbible.com/feature/time-heap-burning-coals-enemy-2/

Debate

Debate

“I’ve never been happier about being a Canadian.”

I received this text message from a friend this morning to which I replied:

“And I’ve never been sadder to be an American.”

Before I even received her text, I woke up crying. I did not watch the debate between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump. Too much seemed to be at stake, so I prayed. I did not need to watch what I knew would be a loathsome and spiteful performance by Mr. Trump.  My friend’s uncharacteristically insensitive comment only added to my grief and quite frankly made me feel angry—no, not just angry … F***ING pissed off!

I could not imagine what would cause her to be this flippant.  I do not know the circumstances surrounding her citizenship status and have never thought to ask. I never saw her as “Canadian.”  I thought we were beyond labels. Our friendship is based on a spiritual kinship of caring for all God’s beloveds. We have discussed politics and share the same progressive bent, but her statement felt like she was kicking me when I was down.

In what identity of separation did I appear to be caught?

Her sentiment seemed to be lacking in awareness, compassion and kindness. What does one say when tragedies happen anywhere around the globe? When the building exploded in Syria, would one say “I’ve never been happier about being a (fill in the nationality)?” Does one think one’s citizenship or lack thereof will save him or her from dying of COVID? Would anyone really state he or she is glad to live on the east coast of the US while the west coast is awash with devastating conflagrations?

This is the problem! Too many people continue to see through the eyes of judgement and condemnation, as if one nationality, or ethnicity, or religion, or gender or any imagined identity of separation is better or worse than another—they are all delusional anxieties. Tragically, the US has a “leader” who inflames those labels of separateness and alienation to his demonic-like pleasure.

Some of you may be thinking that I prayed for Mr. Trump to lose the debate or that I prayed for Mr. Biden to win. I did not pray for either of those short-sighted and limited  outcomes! I prayed for the eyes and minds and hearts of all people to be open and to really see Mr. Trump’s true character.  I did not differentiate my prayers based on anyone’s citizenship or nationality.  I prayed for Mr. Biden to endure the onslaught of Mr. Trump’s satanic-like attacks—which Mr. Biden did with decency, empathy and great feeling.

I prayed for the choice that is before us and how our nation will move forward after all the votes are counted.  This 2020 US election is not about making America great again.  God forbid.   This election is about reducing/eliminating world wide suffering because Trump, like any despot, is utterly unaware of the interconnectedness of all of God’s creation.

My tears were a mixture of many feelings–tremendous relief that the debate was over. I was unaware of how much tension and disquietude I was holding within my spirit.  Millions of lives quite literally hang in the balance as we await the results of this upcoming election.  Another feeling was doubt. Can the hardest of hearts be softened? Can blind eyes really be opened? Can ignorant minds be unlocked? I do not know.  I am heartbroken and bewildered that any American needs to be convinced that Trump is not fit for office.

Mostly I cried because it is all so painful. We are a nation in mourning. Hell, we are a world in mourning and the last thing we need is a bully kicking sand in our face.

In the meantime, I’m going to talk to my friend, I’m going to celebrate the little things in life, and I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing—listening, praying, grieving, healing, being …

… that is more than enough for the times in which we are living.

I already voted, that was easy!

COVID

COVID

Mr. President,

Should I become sick with COVID and/or die as a result of becoming infected, I will hold no ill-will against you; but you would be responsible–as you are for the 6.75 million COVID cases and the 198,000+ resulting deaths in the US, as of this writing.

If I became sick I would let you off the hook, NOT because you deserve it or have done anything to have earned it, but because you have no idea what you are doing–it’s called Grace.

You believe in an illusion and you are not even aware that you are completely unaware. You have believed and continue to believe in something that simply is not true—that we are separate from God and separate from each other. You have put your faith and trust in wealth, fame, sex, power, and all manner of man-made, ego-centric delusions and ideologies.

You hold a Bible in your hand in front of a church to make people think you are a moral man, all the while your misogyny, bigotry, and blatant racism increasingly informs and inflames social, economic, and political division. You pander patriotism while holding illegal rallies, criticizing peaceful protestors, and kowtowing to Putin. You claim to be pro-life, while threatening to rescind healthcare, deregulating hundreds of environmental laws, and reinforcing intolerance through violent “Law and Order” tweets.

I can only imagine the pain and hurt you must have endured and carry with you to go to such extremes in building irreverent walls that only reinforce your separation from all that is holy and sacred.

You are blind to the interconnectedness of all of life which is why you use and abuse anything and everything in your way. Because you fail to see the eternal value of all God’s beloveds, people become a means to an end in your over-indulgent, one-man narcissistic and morbid theatrical performance.

There is a better way! Unfortunately, I fear your heart is so hard that you cannot hear Her calling you.

place your trust in Allah. Surely, Allah loves those who place their trust in Him.” (Q. 3:159)

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe,” a part limited in time and space. [One] experiences [oneself] . . . as something separated from the rest—a kind of optical delusion of [one’s] consciousness. . . . Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. —Albert Einstein

Since tomorrow only exists in theory, it is not too late for you to change, to come to terms with your pain and heal, to let Light and Love flow into your heart in order to begin the awakened journey.

Your pattern and past practices of selfish, self-absorbed behavior, however, suggest this may not be possible.

I can only hope for your sake that when you die—because all would-be tyrants do—somehow your eyes will be open and you will recognize the Divine and accept the mercy that is freely available to you even now.

With respect to the office you will hopefully be voted out of,
Susan Fridinger

Deceived

Deceived

“Both North and South looked to God for meaning, and each side believed—with equal fervor and certitude—that God was on its side.“ Harry S. Stout

Feeling rather plucky, I took the MSN.com link to an article by The Hill, entitled “Billy Graham’s Granddaughter: Evangelical Leaders are Failing Us by Supporting Trump,” and copy/pasted it in the comment section of one of Mr. Trump’s posts on his FB page.

This is not the first time I have stepped out of my comfort zone, of flying under the radar, and making a ‘controversial’ comment. A person responded by writing one word, “Deceived.” I did think of replying, “yes, you certainly are” but thought my snarkiness was best left unsaid.

Who is deceived? Is she deceived or am I deceived? Or are we both deceived? If there had been social media during the Civil War, would Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, or Robert E. Lee have been accused of being deceived? I wonder.

But more importantly, if someone is deceived, what is the deception?

“Jesus said repeatedly to defend the poor and show kindness and compassion to those in need. Our president continues to perpetuate an us-versus-them narrative, yet almost all of our church leaders say nothing,” Jerushah Duford

This statement seems perfectly reasonable to me. Where is the duplicity?

According to Mr. Stout and other historians, both the North and South believed God was on their side. Does God even take sides? If so, how does She decide who is right and who is wrong? If not, then why are we as a nation so divided?

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not survive.” Matthew 12:25

God does NOT take sides, we do.

We may not be divided geographically—north and south–for this upcoming election, but it certainly appears we are extremely divided religiously and/or politically. If Mr. Trump is to be believed, everything wrong with the country is the Democrats’ fault. From the Government sites I researched, it seems the failure is with the Republican led Senate, namely Mitch McConnell. Have I been deceived by reliable and trustworthy sites, or have others been deceived by the “completely unbiased” Fox News, Breitbart or Prager University?

Back to my original question, who is deceived?

All of us, unless we remember otherwise!

Because “in the beginning” humanity believed the lie that we are alienated/separate from God. As long as we continue to believe in this illusion, the more deluded we will become and the “us-versus-them narrative” will continue unabated.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8: 38-29

There is no ‘us’ or ‘them,’ there is only God.

“The orphan is not a cause. The orphan is not an issue. The orphan has a human face, and that face is Galilean. Jesus tells us that when we see the poor, the weak, the vulnerable, the tossed aside, we see Him there.” Henry Harry Duke of Sussex

… or everyone else, for that matter.

“We believe that God sees us from above, but He actually sees us from the inside.” Shams Tabrizi

Shouldn’t this knowing be the fundamental justification for all our decisions?

https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/life/entertainment/story/2019/nov/23/both-armies-civil-war-god-churches/508964/

http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/nineteen/nkeyinfo/cwsouth.htm

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/billy-grahams-granddaughter-evangelical-leaders-are-failing-us-by-supporting-trump/ar-BB18mBCW?ocid=sf

Decisions

Decisions

Have you heard anyone say the following?

“I decide who I’m going to vote for based on how the person stands on abortion and what they believe about marriage.”

Do you have an understanding of your own decision-making process? Or what is the underlying motivation for it? In other words, on what are your decisions based?

“We make thousands of choices every day. It’s estimated that the average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day. Each decision, of course, carries certain consequences with it that are both good and bad.” Science.unctv.org

If a person is pro-life concerning the issue of abortion and stands with the traditional definition of marriage—including being against gay marriage, does that necessarily make them a morally ethical person?

President Trump claims to be pro-life and anti-gay marriage, and I certainly do not believe he is a morally ethical person. In fact, I dare say he is morally reprehensible! And yet, many people voted for him in 2016 and will do so again in 2020 simply because of where he seems to stand on these two issues.

Do these two issues take precedence over all the other complex concerns the US is currently facing? If so, why?

“Of about 6 to 10 million currently existing species, we have still only identified 1 million; we know more about vertebrate species than we do about plants and insects. But for groups that we know well, knowledge of very recent species extinctions — and for current species, their ranges and the threats to them — allows us to be certain that extinction rates are comparable to those of the great past extinctions.

For example, for birds, of about 10,000 species worldwide, at least 128 have disappeared in the last 500 years, about 1,200 are currently seriously threatened with extinction (all but three from human activities); there is a real prospect of the loss of 500 bird species within this century.” Daniel Simberloff

Does human existence take priority over all other existence? If yes, why? Does the dominion given to humans in the Garden of Eden in the book of Genesis of the Old Testament mean we have the freedom to treat all creation any way we want? Are we called to harsh and evil rule or for benevolence and grace?

For all intents and purposes, it appears to me we have ruled over the earth with the harshness and greediness of an evil king bent on destroying everything that does not serve his very own personal wish and whim.

Acrimonious and disgraceful leadership and example is not a sound basis for decision making.

Again, I ask you, on what do you base the myriad of decisions you make in your life, especially those that can and do affect so many people and other life forms either negatively or positively?

I am a follower of Christ and registered as a Democrat and I believe it would be just as morally impoverished to vote against Mr. Trump as for him simply because of his abortion and gay marriage stance.

Extreme, ignorant and black and white thinking is selfish, narrow-minded, hard-hearted and shows a lack of awareness, and/or intelligence. Individuals who live their lives in such poverty are lost—lost in their own merciless illusions of judgement, wrath, and anger. I pity these folks because they must be enduring a lot of pain or fear in order to want to build walls around their hearts and country rather than become pathways for Light, Love, health and healing.

Do you really want to see the abortion rate drop? Then provide women—ALL women, not just women with economic advantages but poverty-stricken women, women of color and all women everywhere–with educational and economic opportunities so they do not have to see men as their only way through this world. Until we do that, we are faced with a patchwork of limited programs that barely if at all meet their physical and/or emotional needs, much less the needs of children born into trying and disadvantaged circumstances.

Abortion and sexuality are just two issues among many others where people want to impose what they see as right for their own bodies and lives onto others by taking choices away from anyone who disagrees with them. How can the difficulties and challenges different perspectives on these issues raise be addressed through impoverished, black and white thinking? They can’t.

And since collective answers to complex and multidimensional concerns are never straightforward, how can choosing a leader based solely on those two issues regardless of your faith or spiritual practice be so neat and tidy? It can’t.

Not all decisions we make are weighted equally and the results and outcomes can range from inconsequential to life threatening. Within such a broad and seemingly unlimited range of possible results, what becomes our basis and motivation for deciding? What are the things that must be considered?

“Before you speak, THINK. Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind?”

This saying could easily translate to decision making. To it I would add, do my decisions judge others, life and the world in the light of love?

Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” not “force unto others.”

How will you choose?

My choice? I just want to help people—I don’t care about their gender, their sexuality, the color of their skin or anything else that may be used to make us believe we are separate.

I just want to help and be a pathway of Light and Love.