Maria Yeager

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What Has Happened to Christianity in the Age of Trump? Part 1

After observing some recent tweets by both President Trump and evangelicals, I felt a strong pull to address what has changed with Christianity in this age of Trump. It is beyond me how some Christians blindly follow this man. It is also very scary as some of the things we are witnessing today are eerily similar to what happened in World War II. I recently read a book called “The Choice” which was written by Dr. Edith Eva Eger. Oprah recently interviewed Dr. Eger on her show, “Super Soul Sunday”. She is strongly opposed to what is happening at our southern border as she knows what it is like to be treated in that manner. In her book, she explained how she was sent to Auschwitz and forced to go on the death march. She was found barely alive on a top of dead bodies when the Americans came and saved her. She has vowed to fight against the issues at our southern border as much as she can even though she is 92 years old.

What really propelled me into writing this series of blogs was an article that I read on Facebook. A Jewish woman has proposed that a “Book of Trump” be added to the Bible. I just about fell out of my chair when I read this! That has to be one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard…and in my opinion, it is sacrilege to even suggest something like that.

What I have decided to do is to compare actual tweets made by President Trump to actual quotes from Jesus that are in the Bible. I hope that by doing this, the reader can see the extremely clear differences in what Trump has said and what Jesus told us to do. Please know that this is just the icing on the cake when it comes to Trump. As you will see, for many of the questions, I quote things that Trump has said on Twitter over the past month ONLY. If I quote every lie or name that he has called someone, I would literally have a book. This blog just gives a very few examples of how Trump’s words and actions do NOT follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

 

Name-calling

What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes):

  • “Paul Ryan almost killed the Republican Party. Weak, ineffective and stupid are not exactly the qualities that the Republicans…were looking for.”
  • “Andy McCabe is a major sleazebag.”
  • “Could you imagine having Sleepy Joe Biden, or Alfred E. Newman, or a very nervous and skinny version of Pocahontas as your President…”
  • “I don’t know the Ambassador, but I have been told he is a pompous fool.”
  • “Watching Fox News weekend anchors is worse than watching low ratings Fake News CNN, or Lyin’ Brian Williams…and the crew of degenerate Comcast (NBC/MSNBC) Trump haters, who do whatever Brian and Steve tell them to do.”
  • “Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress is quitting the party…A total loser!” (He is talking about Justin Amash)
  • “We all know that Alexandria Ocaso-Cortez and this crowd are a bunch of communists…”
  • “I told Theresa May how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way…”
  • “The ‘Squad’ is a very racist group  of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Matthew 5:9
  • “And if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council.; and if you say,’You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire.” Matthew 5:22
  • “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12
  • “I tell you, on the day of judgment, you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:36-37

 

Ego/Narcissism:

What Trump has said since July 1, 2019 (actual quotes, and yes, he does refer to himself in the third person): 

  • “Our country is the envy of the world. Thank you, Mr. President!”
  • “Tell him the USA now has the best economy and military anywhere in the world by far, and they are both only getting bigger, better and stronger…thank you, Mr. President!”
  • “They don’t want people to shop at those great stores because he contributed to your favorite President, me!”
  • “…rather than what you have now, so great looking and smart, a true stable genius.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
  • “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4
  • “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12
  • “So I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have set you an example that you also should do as I have done to you.” John 13:14-15

 

Love of money: 

**Note: The point here is not to say that we shouldn’t be happy that the economy is doing well. The point is that Trump’s focus is on money, and he’s not ever happy that he has enough. He always wants more, and this is a problem.

What Trump has said on Twitter since July 1, 2019:

  • “In the meantime, we are receiving billions of dollars in tariffs from China…”
  • “We are doing great economically as a country, number one…”
  • “When you are the big piggy bank that other countries have been ripping off for years…”
  • “Dow just hit 27,000 for the first time ever!”
  • “Ask the Times what they paid for the Boston Globe and what they sold it for (lost 1.5 billion dollars).”
  • “Strong jobs report, low inflation, and other countries around the world doing anything possible to take advantage of the United States.”
  • “It could have been even better – massive additional wealth would have been created…”
  • “Today’s stock market is the highest in the history of our great country!”
  • “We have the greatest economy anywhere in the world.”
  • “The economy is the BEST IT HAS EVER BEEN!”

What Jesus said:

  • “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Matthew 6:24
  • “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:23-24

 

Lying:

**Note: It is common knowledge that Trump has lied over 10,000 times since he took office. Several media outlets are currently tracking and documenting all of his lies.

What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:

  • “I don’t make money, but lose a fortune for the honor of serving and doing a great job as your President!”

Truth: There are many ways Trump has made money while he has been President. Here is one example: According to estimates by Dan Alexander and Matt Drange of Forbes, Trump pulls in AT LEAST 175 million annually from commercial tenants in his buildings.

  • “So interesting to see Progressive Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe…”

Truth: Trump was talking about the 4 Congresswomen who have recently been in the news. Trump’s comments were viewed as racist, and the House passed a resolution saying that his remarks were racist. Three out of the four women were not born in other countries. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born in the Bronx in New York. Ilhan Oman is a refugee from Somalia and became a U.S. citizen in 2000. Rashida Tlaib was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. Ayanna Pressley was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio.

  • “[Joe Biden] added more debt than all other Presidents combined.”

Truth: According to Forbes, “Trump’s deficits as a percentage of GDP will exceed any other President’s during a time of economic expansion. Under Trump, debt has risen to a record $22 trillion.”

  • “Democrats want open borders….”

Truth: At no time has a Democrat ever said that they want open borders. Democrats have said that they want sensible immigration reform. Since Democrats’ idea of immigration reform does not match Trump’s version, Trump immediately jumps to the conclusion that Democrats want open borders. This is false.

  • “No collusion. No obstruction.”

Truth: Here is the quote from Mueller’s report which clearly states that Mueller did not make a decision on either collusion or obstruction: “Charging the president with a crime was an option we could not consider. If we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

  • “As most people are aware, according to the polls, I won every debate…”

Truth: The following data is an average of five polls that were taken during the Clinton/Trump debates. The five polls came from ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal:

Debate #1 – Clinton 43%/Trump 40.4%;

Debate #2 – Clinton 44.8%/Trump 40.8%;

Debate #3 – Clinton 45.8%/Trump 40.4%.

Now, I know that some Trump supporters will call this “fake news”, so I decided to include the numbers from Fox News ONLY:

Debate #1 – Clinton 41%/Trump 40%;

Debate #2 – Clinton 43%/Trump – 40%;

Debate #3 – Clinton 45%/Trump 38%.

So even the Fox News poll proves that Trump lied about this in his tweet!

  • “We are building the wall now…”

Truth: As per multiple news sources (including Fox News and other right wing news sources) on July 21, 2019, Trump has not installed a single mile of new wall at the border. As per Fox News, “The Trump administration has not installed a single mile of new wall in a previously fenceless part of the U.S. – Mexico border in the 30 months since President Trump assumed office, despite his campaign promise…” According to Customs and Border Protection, all completed fencing was to replace existing fences in need of repair.

  • “The Trump Foundation gave away 100% plus, with zero rent or expenses charged, and has been sued by Cuomo and New York State…”

Truth: The Trump Foundation has been shut down. They found that Trump and his children benefited personally and politically from it. Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump can never operate a New York charity again because of the corrupt activity that was found.

What Jesus said:

  • “‘If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.’ He said to him, ‘Which ones?’ And Jesus said, ‘You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness…'” Matthew 19:18-19
  • “You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because  there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44

 

Infidelity:

What Trump has said:

  • “I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f*** her. She was married.” (He was talking about his failed attempt to seduce Nancy O’Dell)
  • “I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her…I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the p****. You can do anything.” (He was talking about Arianna Zucker)
  • During an interview in 2005 with Howard Stern, Trump said, “I’ll go backstage before a show, and everyone’s getting dressed…You know, no men are anywhere. And I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant. And therefore, I’m inspecting it…is everyone OK? You know, they’re standing there with no clothes. And you see these incredible looking women. And so I sort of get away with things like that.”
  • At a 1992 party with Jeffrey Epstein, Trump grabbed a women by the waist, pulled her to him, and patted her on the butt. During that same party, he kissed Faith Daniels even though Daniels was married. He described the kiss as “so open and nice”. Recently a video has surfaced that shows this behavior, and NBC has shared it.

What Jesus said:

  • “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife…or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17

Note: I know some Trump supporters will point out that this verse comes from the Old Testament, and some will claim “it doesn’t apply because all that changed when Jesus came.” But let me point out these verses from Jesus: 

  • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28
  • “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” John 5:46-47

 

Immigration/Helping others who are less fortunate/Lack of compassion:

What Trump has tweeted since July 1, 2019:

  • “Failing New York Times is writing phony and exaggerated accounts of the border detention centers…”
  • “If illegal immigrants are unhappy with the conditions…just tell them not to come.”
  • “Sorry, can’t let them into our country.”
  • “Many of these illegal aliens are living far better now than where they came from.”
  • “Tell migrants not to come into our country…”
  • “Detention facilities are not concentration camps!”
  • “If you are not happy here, you can leave.”

What Jesus said:

  • “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”…” Matthew 22:37-40
  • “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me…Truly I telll you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:34-40
  • “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.” Luke 3:11
  • “When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless…” Matthew 9:36
  • “Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes. Immediately they regained their sight and followed him.” Matthew 20:34
  • “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them away hungry, for they might faint on the way.” Matthew 15:32
  • “When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.'” Luke 7:13

 

Hypocrisy:

What Trump has said since July 1, 2019:

  • “The Democratic Congresswomen have been spewing some of the most file, hateful, and disgusting things ever said…”

Truth: Trump says hateful and disgusting things almost every day (see examples above).

  • “If Democrats want to unite around the foul language and racist hatred spewed from the mouths and actions of these very unpopular and unrepresentative Congresswomen…”

Truth: Trump has made many racist statements such as: 

    1. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came…”
    2. “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here? We should have more people from places like Norway.”
    3. “These aren’t people, these are animals, and we’re taking them out of the country…”
    4. “But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides…” (speaking about the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville where Heather Heyer was killed.
  • “When will the radical left Congresswomen apologize to our country…”

Truth: Trump attacks people constantly and never apologizes for anything.

  • “Horrible anti-Israel, anti-USA, pro-terrorist and public shouting of the F… word…” (He was talking about the 4 Congresswomen)

Truth: The following are just a few examples of actual quotes where Trump has used the F word in public:

    1. “Listen, you motherf*****s, we’re gonna tax you 25 percent.”
    2. “We build a school, we build a road…in the meantime, we can’t get a f***ing school in Brooklyn.”
    3. “We have nobody in Washington that sits back and said, ‘You’re not going to raise that f***ing price.”

What Jesus said:

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24
  • “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:25-26
  • “So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” Matthew 23:28

Lawlessness:

What Trump and his administration has done:

Ignored subpoenas

Repeatedly lied.

Refused to testify in front of Congress.

KellyAnne Conway has violated the Hatch Act multiple times.

Appears that Trump did obstruct justice regarding the Russia investigation.

What Jesus said:

“And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.” Matthew 24:11-12

 

So if Trump’s behavior does not fall in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ, why do some evangelicals think he is doing God’s work? The following are just three examples of how evangelicals push this narrative, but there are many more:

  • “Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation…” Brad Pascale, Trump campaign manager
  • “I think that [God] wanted Donald Trump to become President.” Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  • “Furthermore, when you consider everything that President Trump has done for people of faith since taking office, it’s easy to see why so many of them agree with Sanders that Donald Trump is doing God’s work.” Paula White, evangelical leader and adviser to Trump.

Jesus told us how we could distinguish between true Christians and those who just say they are Christian but really aren’t:

  • “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-16

We know that God does not listen to sinners (remember that Trump has openly admitted that he doesn’t repent; therefore he is an unrepentant sinner):

  • “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but he does listen to one who worships him and obeys his will.” John 9:31

And we know that the light cannot mix with the darkness:

  • “And this is the judgement, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”  John 3:19-21

We also know that someone like Trump who is the antithesis of Christianity cannot do the will of God. Jesus explained this in Matthew 12:25:

  • “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then will his kingdom stand?” Matthew 12:25-26

In conclusion, I believe that it is safe to say that Donald Trump is NOT doing God’s work. His words and behavior are the exact opposite of how Jesus taught us to act. I believe far-right Christians and some evangelicals believe Trump is “doing God’s work” based purely on the fact that he says he is pro-life (he used to be pro-choice) and that he has assigned conservative judges to the Supreme Court. However, it is extremely important to realize that abortion is not the only issue. In fact, I believe Jesus warned us that hyper-focus on one issue, such as abortion, could lead us down the wrong path. Let’s revisit Matthew 23:23-24. Think about far-right Christians and their hyper-focus on abortion. Then think about all the anti-Christian things Trump has done as evidenced in this blog. Ready? Now read what Jesus said:

  • “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith….you strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

The point here is that Christianity involves EVERYTHING that Jesus taught. It is not just about abortion. Yes, the abortion issue is important, but if we focus just on that one thing while ignoring justice and mercy and faith, we are hypocrites and are not doing the will of God.

More to come soon…

 

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A Letter to Pope Francis

Please see attached letter which is being sent to Pope Francis in the next several days:

January 20, 2019

 

His Holiness, Pope Frances

The Apostolic Palace

00120 Vatican City

 

Your Holiness,

 

I am writing to you today to voice some deep concerns over the state of the Catholic Church in the United States. I decided to write this letter after witnessing the despicable behavior of some Covington Catholic high school boys as they harassed a Native American while attending a March for Life event in Washington, D.C. These boys were wearing MAGA hats and t-shirts, so they clearly support Donald Trump.

I have been a Catholic my whole life. I attended St. Gertrude school in Madeira, Ohio which is a suburb of Cincinnati. Covington is just over the river from Cincinnati, and it is rightly considered a suburb of Cincinnati even though it is in a different archdiocese. The Cincinnati airport is located in Covington, and many people who live in Covington work in Cincinnati. There are even families that live in Cincinnati that send their kids to schools in Covington. So, as you can see, the two areas interact quite a bit, so it is appropriate to address the archdiocese of Cincinnati along with the archdiocese of Covington when addressing this issue since they are in the same general area.

I no longer live in Cincinnati as I have moved due to work. However, I still have a lot of family and friends that live there. Many are wonderful people who I love very much and who in no way condone the actions of the Covington high school boys. However, there are quite a few Catholics who are die-hard supporters of Donald Trump and who are very hateful.

I have lived in 5 states – Ohio, Kentucky, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. I have friends all over the United States from all walks of life. I am embarrassed to say that the most hateful rhetoric is coming from people in the Cincinnati area. I was disgusted to read what happened with those high school boys, but sadly I was not too surprised based on the pure hate of Democrats and the adoration of Trump from some of the Catholics that I know in that area.

I posted the video of the boys taunting the Native American man on Facebook, and some of those from Cincinnati took me on. They tried to say that they were just young and “made a mistake”. Others tried to say that it was the archdiocese of Covington, not Cincinnati as they tried to distance themselves from the incident. One guy named John ******** stated that he was a Catholic teacher in the archdiocese of Cincinnati. When I explained to him that the hate needed to stop…that these kids weren’t born with hate in their hearts and that their behavior was a reflection of what the adults around them were doing/saying regarding support of Donald Trump…he posted a cartoon gif of a man beating a dead horse. Clearly, this Catholic teacher didn’t care, and he was making a joke out of a very serious issue.

This morning, I checked Twitter and found a post from a Catholic priest named Fr. Frank Pavone who was at the March for Life rally. He was complaining about the caravan that was forming in Honduras and clearly stated that he supported Donald Trump and called Democrats “un-American”. I have attached a copy of it for your review.

Another instance that I would like to mention is one when a Catholic priest told his parishioners in a church in the western U.S. that it would be a “mortal sin” to vote Democrat in the 2016 election due to the abortion issue.

I feel the Catholic church is veering off the right path. Catholics here in the U.S., especially those who I hear from in Cincinnati, have become laser-focused on the abortion issue. Yes, clearly abortion is a very important issue, and I am very much pro-life. But at what point do we become so laser-focused on that one issue that we end up ignoring all other sin? Well, I think that day is here in the U.S. Many Catholics here believe that all Democrats are evil, and they wouldn’t dare vote for one even if the Republican candidate is Donald Trump who is probably the most corrupt and sinful man to ever occupy the Oval Office.

I read this passage this morning, and it hit a nerve with me. I hope you will see that the abortion issue has become so important in Catholicism that other sin is being neglected.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. IT IS THESE YOU OUGHT TO HAVE PRACTICED WITHOUT NEGLECTING THE OTHERS. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

Catholics need to remember that they can be pro-life, but they must not ignore other sin while doing so. Not all Republicans in the U.S. are good people, and it is imperative that Catholics stand up against a Republican if he/she is doing the wrong thing according to scripture. I am sickened by the Catholic support of Donald Trump. He lies pretty much every single day, and he calls people names constantly. All you have to do is look at his Twitter feed. Yet some Catholics here follow him as if he is almost a prophet…not all Catholics, but there are certainly some here who do this (along with other evangelical Christians), and I strongly believe this is what led to the despicable actions of those high school boys. I can’t tell you the number of times that I have heard that “God put Trump in office”. And it is all based on that single fact – that Donald Trump claims he is pro-life.

I am asking you, Your Holiness, to direct the misled Catholics back onto the right track. Please remind them that abortion is not the only sin, and that we, as Catholics, should never, ever condone sin of any kind even if it comes from a Republican. Also, a priest should never, ever say that it is a mortal sin to vote Democrat. The Church is already dealing with the abuse crisis, and now we are facing this. Please help us. Thank you.

 

Sincerely,

 

Maria Yeager

 

Cc: Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Archdiocese of Covington

 

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Honest to God, I am really getting sick and tired of these caravans. What in the world is this? Just come and push your way into the country? And all of this just happening by itself? Thank you, @realDonaldTrump for standing firm against the un-American #Democrat party. #MAGA

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 8

Well, it has been several weeks since I wrote one of these blogs, and there is good reason for that. I am the founder of Adenomyosis Fighters, a support group for those suffering from the uterine disorder adenomyosis. About two weeks ago, I published my third book on the disorder! It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, but I am so happy that this book is finally finished so women can get a hold of it to help them deal with this disorder.

Today, I am going back to Matthew. We stopped in Chapter 23.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!” Matthew 23:23-24

This specific passage reminds me of my spiritual journey regarding my political views. I feel like today, I see more clearly than I did 10 years ago. Let me explain.

Ten years ago, I was a strong Republican for mainly one reason – the abortion issue. I am pro-life, and that is the main reason why I was never a Democrat. I watched Fox News all the time and never watched CNN or MSNBC. However, since Trump took office, I saw a side of the Republican party that I did not like one bit. In the past year, I have seen a tremendous amount of hate coming from the right (Remember Charlottesville?). I didn’t recognize the Republican party that I had fully supported for the majority of my life.

I decided to watch CNN. I listened to some family members that were Democrats. I realized that Democrats were not “evil” as some on the right want us to believe. In fact, I saw much more compassion for others coming from the left than from the right. As I listened to the left-leaning media for the first time, I realized that this party showed much more mercy toward those who are suffering while those on the right seemed to be quite a bit more judgmental and lacking in mercy. I had to rethink my political views, and I realized that some of them had been wrong. I realized that neither party was perfect…that each party could actually learn from each other if they would just put their differences aside.

Jesus tells us in the above passage that by focusing on one issue, we will neglect other important issues. Many Republicans including some friends of mine are so laser focused on the abortion issue that they are blind to other important issues in the world today (such as compassion). Yes, they are pro-life, but what about after birth? The Republicans want to make cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. They have also made cuts to Obamacare. So they are pro-life as long as the baby is in utero, but once he/she is born, then they want to cut programs that may help those same children?? Is this truly pro-life? No. They sound pro-life until we start talking about money…then money becomes the number one priority. Remember, Jesus also told us “you cannot serve both God and money.”

Let’s not forget some of the other issues out there: the cancellation of DACA, not welcoming the stranger by building a border wall, Trump’s attacks against the Justice department, etc. Let’s look at part of that passage again:

“[you] have neglected the weightier matters of the law: JUSTICE AND MERCY AND FAITH.” Matthew 23:23

Let that sink in for a minute.

The lesson? By becoming laser focused on one issue (abortion), we are neglecting other  matters such as justice and mercy. Don’t let one issue blind you to the rest of God’s Word.

Have a great day!

 

 

 

Bible Study – The New Testament and Evangelical Beliefs – Part 5

Today, I am going to take a little break from Matthew and jump to the book of James. It is only a few pages long but it is full of direction on how we must be “doers” and not just “hearers”. I think we need to take a good hard look at this little section of the Bible today.

Again, I hear many evangelicals say that actions don’t matter – all that matters is grace, and that if we confess “Jesus is our Savior” with our mouths, that is enough to get into heaven. Now let me make this very clear – we DO need to accept Jesus as our Savior. We DO need grace to get into heaven. By all means! But the point I am trying to make is that actions are also important, and that the teaching that we are to get into heaven by grace alone….without any work on our part….is incorrect.

In my search for answers, I found James to be quite enlightening. Many people focus on the gospels which are so important, but if you go further into the New Testament- into the letters of Paul, John, James, etc., it really clarifies things. This is where it clarified for me that actions do in fact matter.

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” James 1:22

It doesn’t get any clearer than that. But let’s keep going:

“But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who ACT – they will be blessed in their doing.” James 1:25

These passages clearly refute the beliefs of some evangelicals who say that our works on this earth don’t matter, and all that matters is grace. These passages also directly apply to those evangelical preachers who turn a blind eye to Trump’s immoral behavior. They are not “doing”…they are not standing up and saying that Trump’s behavior is unacceptable.

“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For the one who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said “You shall not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but if you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.” James 2:10-11

Let’s think about that for a moment. Some of the evangelicals and even other Christians constantly speak out against abortion. But these same people are quiet about Trump. Some even give Trump a “mulligan” for his adulterous affair with Stormy Daniels. Now, read the above passage again. Clearly James is telling us that this kind of behavior is wrong. We have to call out ALL sin, not just the sin that “fits” into our little box. You can’t pick and choose.

Going on, James clearly states that faith without works is dead:

“So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.” James 2:17

Then James makes a statement that should make everyone think long and hard. He states that even the demons believe that God is real….and they shudder:

“Even the demons believe – and shudder.” James 2:20

Then he goes on to reiterate that works are a part of accepting Jesus fully:

“You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone…For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is also dead.” James 2:24-26

Now, as we read the next verse, let’s think about the evangelical preachers who are giving Trump a “mulligan” and who teach that we don’t have to act or to follow the Ten Commandments:

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1

Kind of scary, huh?

Now think about the obvious hypocrisy that we are witnessing in some evangelicals today. Remember, they jumped all over Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal, but now these same evangelicals are mysteriously quiet about Trump. Also, a recent poll showed that during the Clinton administration, the percentage of evangelicals that said that moral behavior of a President wasn’t important was in the 20s. Today, under Trump, that number is in the 70s. What happened? Is it hypocrisy, or do the rules change depending on whether you are a Republican or Democrat?

“But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of PARTIALITY or HYPOCRISY.” James 3:17

James is very clear. These teachings and behaviors of evangelicals who still support Trump are not in line with true Christianity. My hope is that they will read this, pray about it, and return to the only path that leads us to Jesus.

I implore preachers like Franklin Graham, Tony Perkins, Andrew Wommack and others to rethink what they are teaching and to call out Trump on his immoral behavior.

I will close with this:

“Anyone then who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” James 4:17

Have a wonderful weekend! God bless!

 

 

 

 

God Works in Mysterious Ways

Have you ever gone through something horrible and thought “Why me?” Have you ever wondered why God allows us to walk through the “valley of death”?

I’ve certainly been there. And I’m quite sure you have too.

But I have also learned that no matter what we go through, somehow good always seems to come from it. One example in my life is my ordeal with adenomyosis. While I cried my way through some of the most painful nights of my life, I questioned why God was putting me through it. But today, I can look back and see why He put me through it – to help other women who are suffering through adenomyosis today. I have written one book on the subject and am working on a second book. I sell about one book per day, and I get constant “thank you” messages from women desperate to find help for this terrible medical disorder.

As many of my readers know, I don’t like Trump. Since Trump took office, I have heard over and over again from some on the far-right that “God put Trump in office”. I don’t believe this. Why? Because God gave us free will. He doesn’t dictate what we are to do in this life. He invites us to follow Him, but He doesn’t dictate. If he put Trump into office, then He also put Obama in office, and those on the far-right aren’t going to like that much…haha! Also, if God puts someone in office, why would we have elections? The truth is that we, the American people, voted Trump into office, and God ALLOWED it to happen.

Now, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. But what I have witnessed this year personally is that those on the far-right are not nearly as Christian as they say. I see a lot of people (not all, but some) point their fingers at the left and calling them evil. However, the behavior of these same far-righters is not at all Christian. In fact, some of these far-righters turn around and do exactly what they tell others not to do. Hypocrisy has become blatantly clear in some on the far-right.

So, what if God allowed Trump to get into office in order to shine a light onto the hypocrisy in the far-right evangelical movement? What if He allowed Trump to become President in order to show the hypocrisy and non-Christian behavior in the Republican party? Like I said, I don’t presume to know what God is thinking. What I do know is that God works in mysterious ways, and many times, he will use something meant to hurt us for good. After all, in the Bible, it says “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.”

I used to be Republican, but I am now just completely embarrassed and disgusted by the Republicans. What I now see is some on the far-right that loves to point fingers at other while acting in a non-Christian manner. I see white-washed tombs. Jesus said “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.” This means some love to talk all about Jesus but they live in continual sin, and this is hypocritical. These people are all talk, but there is nothing Christian inside them. That’s why I have always said that words aren’t enough. You have to truly believe in Jesus in your heart, and your actions will follow. If you truly believe in Jesus, you will turn away from sin…not to say that you won’t ever sin again (we are all human), but you won’t live in continual sin.

I don’t agree with some of what the Democrats believe, but I now see that the Democrats actually act on helping the poor and welcoming the stranger. The Democratic party welcomes immigrants and is outraged when Trump and his administration didn’t adequately respond to the disaster in Puerto Rico. The Democrats are ACTING in a Christian manner regarding these issues. Jesus said “By their fruits you will know them” meaning that by ACTIONS, you will know them. I see more Christian actions this year from Democrats than Republicans.

For me, God opened my eyes this year. He opened my eyes to hypocrisy. I now understand the meaning of “white-washed tombs”. I now know that I can’t vote for a candidate based only on one issue – by doing that, we can end up in the situation we are in today. I have learned that pro-life addresses life at ALL stages, not just the unborn. Those who voted for Trump based solely on the abortion issue are knee-deep in hypocrisy as well. Why? Because they fight for the unborn, but once they are born (and many will have disabilities because a lot of abortions are done because of medical issues), they want to take healthcare away, specifically by cutting coverage for pre-existing conditions. So, we bring these children into the world, but the Republicans don’t want to take care of them once they get here. See the hypocrisy?

I think we should look back on this rough year and listen to what God is trying to show us. I listened and learned. Will you?

“Love One Another as I Have Loved You”

Wow, it has been a while since I posted on this blog! I have been working hard on my next book, Estill County, which hopefully will be done some time this year. But I have also been deep in thought about my Christian beliefs. This has been a time of deep introspection as I have struggled with what is going on in the world today. Today, I would like to pretty much “bare my soul” and explain my thoughts over the past few months.

I was raised as a Catholic and attended a Catholic grade school. During my younger years and in my twenties, my Christian beliefs were pretty much black and white – follow all the commandments, all abortion is wrong, etc. etc. No gray area whatsoever. Since that time, I married and divorced (due to an affair on his side) someone who was Baptist, and we were married in a Presbyterian church. During my marriage, we attended Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and even non-denominational churches. I’m glad I had these experiences as I learned how people praise God in different ways. I still loved my Catholic faith, but I found myself becoming more open-minded about other faiths.

During those years, most of my encounters regarding religious differences were fairly positive, but I did run into a few problems. First of all, when I asked a priest to be a part of our wedding ceremony, I was met with a stern “no” because we were not getting married in a Catholic church. He went on to lecture me about my “weak” Catholic faith. Another example involves a guy that I dated long ago. His Catholic mother said that  her son was not going to heaven because he was engaged to a Baptist girl.

On the other hand, I have met many people who have actually said that Catholics are going to hell. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard that Catholics worship Mary. I went to a Catholic school, and I was never taught to worship Mary – only to ask her to pray for me. I also am very hurt and irritated when others claim that Catholic teachings are not biblically based.

Right after college, I joined a Right to Life movement. At that point in my life, I would have gladly taken part in a protest outside of an abortion clinic. I remember getting all kinds of newsletters from them explaining how they were fighting against abortion. I specifically remember how this group would get involved in “protecting the life of the baby” when a mother’s life was in danger or if the fetus had a known defect. I didn’t think too much about that at the time.

I went to work in a genetics lab (my degree is in Microbiology). After several years of work, my views on abortion started to gray a bit. I performed prenatal testing, and I saw many really sad cases during those years. One genetic defect was particularly disturbing – a disorder called anencephaly. A fetus with this disorder has malformed brain development. Sometimes the entire skull is opened with very little to no brain development. At one point, my boss asked me if I would like to watch a fetal autopsy on a fetus with this disorder (the woman had miscarried). I said “yes” because I wanted to see what I was testing for in the lab. I was shocked when I saw the fetus. The brain was completely opened up. The baby almost looked like an alien – there was no forehead. The top of the head was just above the eyebrows. Anyone without a strong stomach couldn’t have handled that sight, but I could for some reason. Don’t get me wrong – it affected me in a way that words can’t describe, and I felt so horrible for the parents. But I am a scientist, and I believe that God gave me the ability to do this work to help others – just like some people can handle the sight of blood while others can’t. After witnessing several of these autopsies on fetuses that women had miscarried, it suddenly dawned on me the emotional toll that this sort of thing would take on the family. This was a child that was wanted desperately, but something went terribly wrong – something that was completely out of their control.

As I continued my work in genetics, I learned about several other genetic abnormalities – specifically trisomy 13 and trisomy 18. I learned that most of the time, after these children are born and if they survived, they would probably never leave the hospital and would most likely die within the first year of life. Their lives would most likely be spent in agony while they were hooked up to multiple machines. I hated when I analyzed a case and found it was trisomy 13 or 18. HATED it!! I knew what the parents were about to face. I knew it was going to be awful for them, and I wondered if their marriage would be able to survive such an ordeal. One day, when I analyzed one of these cases, I left at lunch, went to McDonalds, ordered carryout, sat in my car, and cried and prayed. Here is basically what I said to God:

God, I don’t know why this happens. I’m just a human, and you are the all-knowing God. I don’t understand it, but I know there is a reason. God, these parents are about to go through hell. You have said, “Do not judge lest ye be judged.” Therefore, I will not judge these parents if they decide to terminate. This decision is between you, them, and their doctor. I can’t judge something like this. I certainly don’t want to be judged with the same stringency as the Right to Life group uses in situations like this. So, all I will do is pray for them. I pray that they will somehow come out of this stronger, and I ask you to comfort them in this horrible time.

Not long after this, I quit the Right to Life group. I am against abortion overall – as a form of birth control, partial birth abortion, or in cases where there is an abnormality but the child can survive and live a productive life (Down syndrome, spina bifida, etc). However, I know from my experience in the lab that there are horrible cases where there is pretty much no chance of survival or limited survival where the child suffers terribly. For me, I choose to stay out of those situations. This also goes for cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Instead, I just pray for them – for comfort, for healing, and for the love of God to surround them.

This is just one example of when gray areas began to interject into my beliefs. But things really got tough – a deep introspection – since Trump took office.

I have always been Republican. I have voted Republican in every presidential race until this last one. I have voted Republican probably 98% of the time in all other elections. The abortion issue was a major reason. But what I have seen over the last few months has really bothered me, and after much thought, I have now become an Independent.

As you all know, there has been a lot of mean and vicious banter regarding this past presidential election from both Republicans and Democrats. However, a large portion of the Republican base are the evangelical Christians. Although I do agree with a lot of the Republican views on major issues, I became disheartened by the enormous number of mean memes and Facebook posts from some Republicans who have portrayed themselves to be good Christians. The posts were not at all Christian, and I honestly viewed them as highly hypocritical. This really bothered me. I also noticed that churches were promoting Trump based solely on his anti-abortion stance even though disturbing news came out about his behavior, especially the remarks about women while on the bus. I expected these evangelical Christians to stand up and denounce his behavior, and some did. But a lot didn’t as apparently they focused solely on the anti-abortion issue. This disturbed me even more, and hypocrisy was becoming increasingly clear to me. I hated this and struggled with it since that time. I believed in a lot of the Republican views but I didn’t want to seem like a hypocrite. I did not like Trump either and didn’t approve of his behavior.

During all of this, I prayed…a lot…and asked God for direction. I felt an uneasiness in my soul. I was confused.

Each time I prayed, I kept going back to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. Several times, I opened the Bible to this exact passage. At first, this made me think about the abortion issue. If we stand outside of an abortion clinic and tell someone who they are going to hell if they abort the baby, how do we know the details of that pregnancy? We don’t know if that baby has anencephaly. Maybe those parents are having to make an incredibly difficult decision and really wanted the baby. We are judging a person without knowing the details. Do we want for God to judge us with the same stringency? I sure wouldn’t. I think God is telling us to “Love your neighbor as yourself”. We need to love those people, not judge them. They need comfort, not judgement. It is not up to us to judge others, and Jesus himself told us that. If we judge someone else, we are playing God. This thinking can also be applied to everyone who says that someone is going to hell if they don’t belong to a certain religion as my example above shows.

On Easter Sunday, I went to mass with my mom. We arrived quite early (because we knew the church would be packed). As we waited, I continued to pray and think about the behavior I had seen this year when I looked up at the front of the church, and once again, I saw “Love One Another as I Have Loved You” on the stained glass window. I thought about how all life is sacred. I thought about how disturbed I was that funding to the NIH was going to be cut which would affect all those who were sick – cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes – the list goes on and on. If funding is cut, those people would suffer. How is it that those that are pro-life only consider the life of a fetus but seem to forget about all the other people in the world that would be hurt by cutting funding to the NIH? and the EPA? Millions of people would be hurt, but that isn’t a consideration for those who are strongly pro-life? Why? Why can’t they see this? Again, I looked at the stained glass window.

Love One Another as I Have Loved You.

I believe God expects us to love everyone, not just the unborn. All life is sacred. All life.

A few days later, I went to a physical therapy session. Several of us watched the television as we saw that the “mother of all bombs” was dropped in Syria. While we were talking, a woman turned to me and said “All life is sacred.” She was right, and it confirmed for me that we have to look at how things affect everyone. Focusing purely on the unborn may ultimately harm those who are already here. Don’t get me wrong – the abortion issue is important…extremely important…but by focusing on that and only that, is not a good thing to do. We have to remember that all life is sacred.

Hypocrisy – I have seen so much of it in the last several months and am getting so sick of it. So-called “good Christians” that don’t practice what they preach. I am stunned that after all the things Trump has done, he still has die-hard followers. I have even seen recently how some people still consider him a good Christian even after all the lies (numerous), bad behavior (bus, making fun of disabled reporter), not keeping his word (numerous), pointing his finger at other while doing exactly the same thing (golfing!!), etc. Why, after all that, do people still call him a good Christian? Can’t they see the hypocrisy? Again, maybe they are focusing just on the anti-abortion issue only. I don’t know. I don’t get it. It bothers me so much to see all the hypocrisy yet people still say he’s a good Christian. Jesus speaks of hypocrisy all throughout the gospels. Are these people just turning a blind eye to that?

“The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others…They have the place of honor at banquets…” Matthew 23:4-6

I urge you to read all of Matthew 23 as he directly deals with hypocrisy…“Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites…

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I thought some more about these issues. And it suddenly came to me…in the dead silence in the middle of the night. Something quite disturbing. I have talked to many people over my lifetime who have left the church because they have witnessed hypocritical behavior. Some of these people have gone on to become atheists. Hypocritical behavior in Christians is extremely damaging to the church. We have to remember that Satan is very devious and sly. Could he be using the hypocritical behavior of these so-called Christians to his advantage? I believe so. Then I remembered what Jesus said:

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes.” Matthew 18:6

Is hypocrisy a stumbling block? Is this hypocritical behavior by some so-called good Christians a stumbling block to those who are wanting to know Jesus? That’s a terrifying thought, isn’t it? This morning, in preparation to write this blog, I read a devotional in my Bible. The following excerpt came from St. Catherine of Sienna, a mystic who conversed with God. Again, she talks about her conversation with God regarding loving your neighbor as yourself. This is what God said to her as recorded in her book, The Dialogue:

“It is your duty to love your neighbor as yourself…In love you ought to help them spiritually with prayer and counsel…If you do not love me, you do  not love your neighbors, nor will you help those you do not love. But it is yourself you harm the most, because you deprive yourself of grace. And you harm your neighbors by depriving them of the prayer and loving desires you should be offering to me on their behalf. Every help you give them ought to come from the affection you bear them for love of me…This lack of charity for me and for your neighbors is the source of all evils, for if you are not doing good you are necessarily doing evil…You harm your neighbors by not giving them the pleasure of the love and charity you owe them, the love with which you ought to be helping them by offering me your prayer and holy desire on their behalf.”

In conclusion, I have seen a lack of compassion and a need to judge others from the evangelical Christians during this presidential election and during his first days in office. In addition, I have seen incredible hypocrisy. I would like to suggest that we move away from judgement and condemnation and move more toward a spirit of compassion and empathy for our neighbor. Pray for those around you without judging. After all, we are not the judge. We do not know the details of their situation.

Love One Another as I Have Loved You.

 

 

 

 

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