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Bishop of Vermont prays for peace and reconciliation

Bishop of Vermont prays for peace and reconciliation

In a statement released Friday,  Rt. Rev. Thomas C. Ely addressed the upcoming inauguration of President-elect Trump. He acknowledged the deep concerns many hold regarding Trump’s election, and expressed hope that the National Cathedral’s participation in the inauguration would bring “healing to our divided brothers and sisters across our nation.” The full text of the statement is below.

The Episcopal Church in Vermont remains unwavering in its commitment to share in the loving, liberating, and life-giving work of Jesus Christ, especially in these times of wrenching social and political change. It is our custom to pray for the leadership of our state and nation – for their vision, their compassion and their courage in difficult times. We are also called to work at all levels of our communities and nation to expand and defend love, dignity and justice for all, especially the marginalized and oppressed. Regarding the next four years, I share the grave concerns of so many in our diocese who strive every day for social, economic, and environmental justice. I am also aware that there is not complete consensus in our diocese on how to achieve these goals. I am mindful that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, whom we honor on Monday, delivered his final Sunday sermon from the pulpit of the Washington National Cathedral, which has a long history of taking bold and sometimes controversial steps to evoke peace and reconciliation. It is my hope that the National Cathedral’s participation in the presidential inauguration, in the spirit of prayer and reflection, will be part of the vital process of bringing healing to our divided brothers and sisters across our nation.

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Norman Hutchinson
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Norman Hutchinson

What wisdom can we gain by looking at the Christian church in Germany during the 1930s and 1940s? Further, what wisdom can we gain by looking at the example of Dietrich Bonhoffer and the Confessing Church during the same time period?

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William (Bill) Paul
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William (Bill) Paul

Answer (or part of one): DB, in one of his most moving passages in Cost of Discipleship, says we are commanded to pray for our enemies and those who persecute by standing beside them and praying the prayer that they (the enemy and persecutor) cannot pray b/c of their sin/blindness to the gospel. This is my paraphrase. I count it one of the most powerful passages in 20th century--well, any century--christian thought. It cleanses me and reshapes me every time I read it. I don't hesitate to pray for Trump--who offends, embarasses, infuriates me. So I am not with most of those on this blog advocating non participation. But I can confess there are others who, only with something as powerful as Bonhoeffer in front of my eyes, can I really lay aside grievances and pray for them. Have a look at it. Chapter 13

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

Amen, Norman. We would do well to remember Santayana's prophecy: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

I don't want to see TEC land on the wrong side of history.

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Shirley O'Shea
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Shirley O'Shea

Let's not demean the mentally ill by calling Donald Trump mentally ill. He's just a man of bad character.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

I would never use the term "mentally ill" to demean anyone. Quite the contrary, I made clear the distinction between mental illness and poor character; i.e., the former does not create the latter or vice versa.

Rather, Donald Trump is an oligarch and bigot who happens to have serious emotional problems that will impede his effectiveness as president. Not all oligarchs and bigots are mentally ill.

I know we shouldn't say such things in polite company about the leader of the Free World, but I didn't create these facts and, I gather, neither did you.

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William (Bill) Paul III
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William (Bill) Paul III

"Not all of us will meet the fate ...." Seriously? It's doubtful even one of us will. I mean, I have nothing positive to say about Trump, but this is so OTT.

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Pete Haynsworth
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Pete Haynsworth

For those who are seething over the upcoming inaugural prayer service - and will be until at least Saturday afternoon - here are some distractions, more-or-less:

* the 2005 Geo W Bush 2nd inaugural prayer service ...
leaflet - http://faculty.samford.edu/~drbains/inaugural2005.pdf
and
video - https://www.c-span.org/video/?185044-1/inaugural-prayer-service

* the 2013 Barack Obama 2nd inaugural prayer service ...
leaflet - http://www.episcopalchurch.org/files/2013_pips.pdf
and
video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITbHYlDfIHk

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Rosemary Gooden
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Rosemary Gooden

On Sunday I posted a comment on the thread about Trump's not wanting a sermon at the prayer service. My comment included an excerpt from the sermon delivered at President Obama's first inaugural prayer service. The preacher was the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, a minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Her sermon was powerful and the type of sermon that needs to be preached now. It gave me hope. I'm not link savvy. You can find a copy of the sermon at cathedral.org, and hear Rev. Watkins preach on youtube.

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Anjel Scarborough
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Anjel Scarborough

Quite easy for a straight, white, educated, well paid, able-bodied man to say. Check your privilege Bishop. While you're at it read about Jesus cleansing the temple, MLK's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, and the writings of Wil Gafney, Desmond Tutu, Oscar Romero, Gustavo Gutierrez, and others who don't share your social privilege about the preference of God towards those on the margins! Do not normalize the rantings of a mentally ill man with power.

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Shirley O'Shea
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Shirley O'Shea

I don't think Trump is mentally ill. I think he has a bad character.

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

Contra Seitz, Trump's low approval ratings (44% approve) at this point demonstrate some who voted for him (49%) are already suffering buyer's remorse.

Despite the president-elect's assertions popularity rating are not rigged. We're living with a man, soon to be our president, for whom corruption of language and truth is a way of life. Unpresidented.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

"Americans are waking up and realizing they were snookered."

Really? It was a long ordeal, all warts were exposed, on all sides, and people voted. Where is the evidence that those who voted for him realize they were snookered? This seems a perfect example of fake news.

I think the main issue is that people who voted for Trump are also targets of insults by association. Even if by some contrivance one imagines otherwise.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

Professor Seitz: You have extrapolated and generalized my statements about Donald Trump's fitness to all of those who voted for him. That is incorrect. I am speaking about Donald Trump, exclusively.

RE: Folks who voted for him: There seems to be a chorus of Trump voters emerging who are already feeling buyer's remorse. Americans are waking up and realizing they were snookered.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

"Ordinarily, I would say we’re frequently placed in the position of voting for imperfect candidates, and voting for them does not mean we endorse all their flaws."

Thank you for a considered, measured response.

I agree. Many people also voted for Sec Clinton who did not endorse her many flaws.

What we see here is a reaction that no one would track analogously. Would 64 Republicans House members boycott an inauguration of Clinton? I wager not one would have done.

Many of us view Trump as flawed. But we are observing a level of "he's illegitimate" and "we are so shocked we lost we won't attend" that make many long for a Al Gore moment of maturity.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

The 30 states that voted in Trump's favor -- are the individuals in these states certifiable and of poor character?

Your indictment must be an indictment of the vast numbers of voters in the general populace, black, white, hispanic, LGBT etc.

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John Chilton
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John Chilton

Counting the states where Trump received a majority is a red herring. But even if it wasn't there's no logic, Prof Seitz, in saying that anyone has lumped all voters in these states together whether they voted for Trump or not.

Let's turn to the real issue you're pointing at. Some people voted for Trump. Does an indictment of Trump also indict those voters? Ordinarily, I would say we're frequently placed in the position of voting for imperfect candidates, and voting for them does not mean we endorse all their flaws. Trump is an exceptional case. I expect I will be able to remain civil terms with folks who voted for Trump, but they also need to know it is incumbent on me to call them out much like it is incumbent upon me to call out someone who in my presence says something racist or misogynist.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

Believe me, Ms. O'Shea. Donald Trump is a person who is certifiable and of poor character. The two are not mutually exclusive.

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Prof Christopher Seitz
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Prof Christopher Seitz

These are going to be interesting years for a TEC now pretty much full-on liberal. When the bishop of Vermont is the target of this kind of angry dismissal, TEC is entering choppy waters.

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William (Bill) Paul
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William (Bill) Paul

Sounds like anger, comes across as a denunciation, is, in part, ad hominem. "Check your privilege...". "Quite easy for a...to say". One doesn't have to have any confidence in Trump, in fact, to appreciate what the Bishop of Vermont is saying. And, I would add, go read King's letter again, look at his life, and you will find there a tenor bearing a family resemblance to those advocating prayer for Trump.

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Philip B. Spivey
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Philip B. Spivey

Not angry, professor. Clear-eyed and unafraid.

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