THIS IS A TWO-PART article. Part religion. Part politics.
Part one: politics
As I got ready for church on Sunday morning I watched the CNN interview between broadcast journalist Jake Tapper and Stephen Miller, who works for the president. It was a lively, nasty, pretty much repulsive conversation. I think it fairly well represents the past year we’ve experienced. A lot of nasty talking, bullying, and lying.
I went on to church, sat in on a Bible study, enjoyed a worship service, and came home to emails intended for the Stephen Miller who works in Washington DC.
There were just three.
One in favor of Mr. Miller. Two opposed.
I wondered why any of the gents sent me an email. They wrote the emails from my website. You would think that if I worked for the President I would mention that on my website. Although, actually, I wouldn’t do either.
Mr. Miller. You have every right to express your ultra-conservative views. But when you lend your talent to a president who is in the process of abusing his power by attacking our institution, especially our judiciary [ends in an incomplete sentence]. Please reflect on what you are doing. You have power, please use it wisely.
I was impressed by how politely this man wanted to rebuke Mr. Miller, and I told him so.
Great response to [Jake] Tapper. You took the fight to him. CNN and Tapper exposed as Fake Reporting. Such a good feeling to see in here our side fight back and win.
I told him he had the wrong Stephen Miller and I wished him Dasvidania (“Goodbye,” in Russian).
Just wanted to say you physically look like and in your actions remind me of Joseph Goebbels. Never thought I would see a past Nazi come back to life. Truth is stranger than fiction.
Actually, in this case, fiction is stranger than truth because this guy has the wrong Stephen Miller. I do not look like Joseph Goebbels. I look like Mr. Rogers.
I long for the good old days when people confused me with the leader of the Steve Miller Band.
Part two: religion
I’m still working my way through the 16 chapters in Romans, paraphrasing it for the Casual English Bible. I was working yesterday on chapter 12. A lot of what Paul says in Romans is pretty tough to untangle, but some of what he says in chapter 12 is fun to read. And some of it is pertinent do what’s going on in the news these days.
It actually indicts me a bit, sad to say.
Here’s a rough draft of part of the chapter. It’s not proofed or edited in any way. If you see any mistakes, let me know.
Romans 12. Don’t try to fit in with this world
Keep it real—no faking love
12:9. Don’t fake your love; keep it real. Hate evil with all the guts you have in you. Love what is good and hug it tight.
12:10. Love each other like brothers and sisters who actually get along. Honor one another like there’s no tomorrow. Take it to the limit.
12:11. Don’t wimp out. Keep your spirits up. Do whatever the Lord wants you to do.
12:12. Celebrate the hope you have. When suffering comes, treat it with patience. Spend time talking to God in prayer.
12:13. When you see other believers who need some help, give them a hand. Always try to be welcoming and hospitable.
12:14. Ask God to show kindness to people who make you feel miserable. Don’t ask God to give them what for.
12:15. When you see someone happily celebrating, join right in. If they’re crying, you can cry, too.
12:16. Get along with each other. Don’t be aloof. Stay down to earth, and live your life in constant touch with people who don’t have much to call their own. Don’t spend much time thinking about how smart you are. It wouldn’t be smart.
Payback is none of your business
12:17. When someone does you wrong, don’t return the favor. People are watching. Let them see you do something good.
12:18. Try to get along peaceably with everyone, when it’s possible.
12:19. Never try to get even with someone, my dear friends. That’s God’s business. Let him take care of it. Our Bible says he’ll do it: “I’m the Avenger. I take care of the payback, says the Lord.”
12:20. Your job is to do the opposite of getting even. “If your enemy is hungry, give him some food. If he’s thirsty, give him a drink. Doing this is going to make those folks feel pretty doggone bad.”
12:21. Don’t let the bad guys win. Beat them with goodness.
 12:9. Deuteronomy 32:35.
 12:20. Proverbs 25:21-22. A more literal translation of the last phrase would be “pour burning coals on their head.” Bible experts aren’t sure what Paul meant by that. One option is that it would make the people feel so ashamed that they would repent. One piece of history that might seem to support that is that there was an Egyptian ritual that involved a person carrying coals of fire on the head as evidence that they were genuinely sorry for something they’ve done. Another option is that by doing something good in return, you make the person even more guilty and more deserving of punishment. So in a sense, you are entrusting the abusive person to God, but you are trying to make the person look even more guilty. That might not sound particularly Christian. But given some of our relatives, it could sound like a fun idea.