Iron Mountain ski jump

Iron Mountain ski jump

Monday, May 23, 2016


CHRIST IN WINTER: Reflections on Faith for the Years of Winter

I can no longer criticize Donald Trump, and it’s all because of the beauty of the peonies.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll continue to be honest about Trump. I’ll criticize his hypocrisy and his lies and his racism and his misogyny and his false bravado and his entitlement and his sexism and his hypocrisy and his absence of sympathy for those who were not born into rich families, and his narrow-mindedness, and claiming that his time at a military school is equal to, if not better than, serving in the real military, and his tax evasion, and his willful ignorance and his falsehoods, and his meanness, and his hypocrisy. 

But I’ll not criticize his hair, or his hands, or his divorces, or even his affairs. I have friends who have divorces on their resumes, and some with affairs there, too. I don’t have very good hair or hands myself. Everybody makes mistakes. Those are bad mistakes. They tear at the soul and at the fabric of society. But they are personal, and everybody makes mistakes, and they are forgivable.

Jesus talked about forgiveness more than any other subject. It’s easier to forgive someone if they admit their mistakes, and Trump seems to think anything he does is okay if he does it, just because he’s The Donald, so it’s not easy to forgive him, even his hair, but Jesus did not say, “Forgive people as long as they repent of their sins,” but just, “Forgive.”

I need some forgiveness, too, for having already, so often, criticized Trump personally. The fact that he makes it so easy to do so is no excuse. In fact, now I have to ask forgiveness for having just hinted that it’s not so bad since Trump is responsible for getting personal criticism since he makes it easy. That is something Trump would do, blame the victim. I don’t want to be like Trump. I want to be like the peonies.

President Abraham Lincoln needed to make a cabinet appointment. One of his friends made a suggestion. Lincoln said, “No, I don’t like his looks.” “Well, a man is not responsible for his looks,” the advisor said. “He is after age forty,” Lincoln replied.

Trump is way past forty, and looks it, and I think Lincoln is probably right about us being responsible for our looks when we are older, but I still don’t think that gives me reason to criticize Donald personally. Even his hair, and, oh, I so did love those pictures of cats with Trump comb-overs. Not any more, though.

Peonies are one of my favorite flowers, not just because we had them at our wedding, 57 years ago next week, because we got a whole tub full for $2.00. They are old-fashioned flowers. I grew up with them. There aren’t many old-fashioned flowers around anymore. Irises, yes, but not many hollyhocks, or sun flowers. 

I’ll still criticize Trump, the presidential candidate. But I can’t criticize Donald himself and still enjoy the beauty of the peonies.


This is my pastor’s fault. No, not backing away from criticizing Trump. That’s all on the peonies. But Jimmy Moore told me about the automatic Facebook-posting place to click when I write one of these. He also said that if I clicked on it every day, I was not tooting my own horn but simply making it easier for folks who do want to read CIW to find each new one. So, I apologize if I notify about these too often, but… it’s Jimmy’s fault.

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