When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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A letter to the President

January 23, 2017
Dr. Hal Brady

Dear President Trump,

Congratulations on becoming the 45th President of the United States. Though, in all honesty, I was not always pleased with some of your pre-election rhetoric, you won the election and I, along with countless Americans, are hoping for your best and the best for our nation as well.

Party labels to me are not critically important, but political parties working together really are. For me, we have had enough squabbling among politicians and their parties and the time for statesman and stateswomen to arise and make a difference in the governing of this nation has come.

I don't really possess any great credentials for writing you, just a retired Methodist preacher who seeks to love God, my fellow human beings and who cares deeply for the United States of America. Please don't take this letter to be critical. It is not intended that way as I just wanted to share a few feelings with you.

Mr. President, like millions of other Americans, I was glued to the television set and listened intently to every word of your Inaugural Address. My father used to say, “If you can't say it in 20 minutes you can't say it.” It was obvious you could say it because in 16 minutes you were done. That was impressive.

Mr. President, some of the things you said, at least in my opinion, were quite commendable – your concern for an improved America, your desire to return the government to the people, your words about forgotten people no longer being forgotten, your allegiance to all Americans, your thoughts about better schools, safe neighborhoods and good jobs, and your practical no-nonsense approach to getting the job done. To be sure, there were other notable thoughts and expressions as well. As you said, “When America is united, America is unstoppable.”

But having said that, Mr. President, you really didn't address the anxiety and fears of numbers of Americans who are feeling disfranchised or hurt. The interests of these Americans concerning civil liberties, human rights and perceived gains over the years cannot be minimized. Even allowing for a few habitual complainers and disrupters, these crucial issues are significant. If the recent marches around the nation, and even the world, say anything, they give testimony to the point I’m trying to make. At any rate, some word of grace and reconciliation might have helped with the nation’s divide.

However, with your remarkable determination and energy, I was so appreciative of your going and working out your differences with the “Intelligence Community.” Making that trip to the CIA with your reconciling tone, on your very first full time day as president, was good for that community and better for the security of the nation. Thank you.

Since I am writing you, Mr. President, may I share a couple of other concerns? Like you, I believe that America has a responsibility to the world community. To me, America will become greater again not only as we get better at home, but as we engage constructively with our allies and other nations of the world. And, of course, it has something to do with the biblical idea of our nation being a shining “city upon a hill,” existing for others and serving as a noble example of the meaning of freedom. As Eric Maxtas expressed it in his book, “If You Can Keep It,” “This idea of being a ‘city upon a hill’ that can be seen from afar – and that will be seen from afar – has been with us from the beginning.” Metaxas goes on to state that “because of this we have been given the tremendous burden of stewarding and sharing what we have with the rest of the world.”

And if permitted, Mr. President, I’d like to share one further concern. While I am a Christian and strongly believe in Jesus Christ, I have a deep concern for the people of other faiths and their inclusion. Your attendance and greeting of people of different faiths at the National Prayer Breakfast was noted and appreciated.

I’ve been reading Douglas Abrams “The Book of Joy,” and in one place he says, “The Dalai Lama and the Archbishop (Desmond Tutu) are two of the great spiritual masters of our time, but they are also moral leaders who transcend their own traditions and speak always from a concern for humanity as a whole.”

Since God created all of us and all of us are made in his image, it seems that our hospitality to one another is God's intention and will be in the best interest of our nation and world.

Mr. President, I can’t thank you enough for receiving and reading this letter. Even as a preacher, I didn’t mean to preach here, but just share a few heart-felt concerns for the nation we both love.

Please be assured that you are in my daily prayer and in the prayers of millions of Americans and others around the globe. We are counting on you and you can count on us. I, too, look forward to the day when marching feet will become seated conversations around tables of fellowship where dreams and actions are shared and accomplished.

Thank you, Mr. President. God bless you, your family, and God bless America. Our prayers are with you.

Hal Brady

Dr. Hal Brady is a retired pastor who continues to present the Good News of Jesus Christ and offer encouragement in a fresh and vital way though Hal Brady Ministries.

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