Bob Schwartz

What If Trump Is God’s Answer to Somebody’s Prayers?

It is National Prayer Day. It is not worth repeating the hollow and hypocritical nonsense that Trump said today on the occasion.

A theological thought did cross my mind.

If God answers prayers, as many Trump supporters (and many non-supporters) believe, we can assume that a number of those supporters prayed for Trump’s election and for his continuing leadership of America. Those who do faithfully pray for outcomes know that sometimes those prayers appear to be answered and sometimes not. Almost all of those people will admit that how this works, whose prayers are answered and which prayers are answered, is a mystery.

What if Trump’s election and his continuing leadership of America are answers to somebody’s prayers?

Just a thought on this National Prayer Day. As many people, believers and non-believers, pray for this sad madness to end.

A Nation of Grand Canyons

It is a cliché to talk about the gaps and divides separating Americans today across many dimensions. There’s money, of course. Education. Knowledge. Political ideology. Race. Religion. Value placed on truth, honesty, compassion, integrity, competence, equality, fairness, lawfulness, civility, decency. But there they all are, arrayed like a bunch of Grand Canyons, breathtaking in ways very different than the awesome inspiration of the actual Grand Canyon.

One great truth of our traditions is that it is a daily struggle to transcend whatever state of personal meanness, baseness and selfishness we are stuck in. Those traditions also tell us that we are capable of prevailing in that struggle precisely because we are, for the most part, naturally better than meanness, baseness and selfishness—if we can discover that. Those traditions also tell us that those gaps and divides—those Grand Canyons—can be bridged because those canyons don’t exist. Not that the differences aren’t there or that everyone is the same or situated the same. But that the differences that matter aren’t there and in ways that matter, everyone is the same and situated the same. Or haven’t you had someone be born in your family or die in your family? Or haven’t you been born and aren’t you going to die yourself?