Dear Enemy,

4 min readMay 10, 2018

I do not hate you, but we are not o.k. with one another. May I explain?

*This post is primarily written to #ChurchianityAmericana

Various kingdoms have distinctive values. Sometimes a kingdom’s values overlap with those of others, and there is peace. But this is not always the case.

Even when someone is part of a Kingdom and genuinely accepts those values, it is possible for them to undermine those values. At times this is done in weakness. More than once the apostle Peter was rebuked harshly for clashing with the values of the Kingdom of God in Christ Jesus. This was true before the resurrection, but also true afterward when Peter failed to resist nostalgia-fueled tribalism for the sake of the gospel (see Acts 15 and the epistle to the Galatians).

Over the past couple of years, many people in the United States have adjusted their values to fit within one of a couple of sets. Neither of those sets would be safe for say, Peter, to promote in an unqualified manner without challenges from say, Paul. But what if Peter took a qualified approach? Surely there can be some degree of peace between the Kingdom of God and the rulers and authorities in this world. Peter and Paul say as much in the New Testament.

So why am I being so intense to call some of you enemies?

Please be assured that is not out of a lack of understanding about the nuanced realities of worldly power. I’ve served a worldly empire and have been subject to a variety of them. None of them were perfect, but that does not make them all equal. There are degrees that matter in evaluating how we align. Daniel in Babylonian captivity is validated while Babylonian complicity in The Revelation is not.

There are many worldly systems that are so antithetical to the values of the Kingdom of God that it would be wrong to actively seek to join them. But even when forced to serve an idolatrous government, like Daniel and his friends experienced, there is no excuse for bowing to what is totally unacceptable.

“Be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.” — Daniel 3:18

There is a range of imperfection within which we accommodate one another, and there is what lies beyond that range. Jesus reconciled with Peter, and a variety of others, as imperfect people with sometimes minor, sometimes major, betrayals. There was no such armistice with the temple leaders or those under their sway. Jesus wept at their betrayals and the consequences they brought.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you, desolate.” — Jesus [Mt. 23:37,38]

One of the rulers of our age to whom I cannot bow is a man who embodies the antithesis of every core value I hold dear. From assertive abusiveness to seductive insincerities, this man is a relentless affront to the foundations of decency. He is now empowered and emboldened. He could not be where he is if not for the aid and comfort of many who rationalize for him in ways that they have never rationalized for anyone else.

This unique effect on so many is part of the reason that I have escalated my public position. I have been known for being a strident dissenter with Trump supporters’ and their defenses of him, but now I am stating that Trump’s forces are in fact, my enemies.

That includes family and friends who believe that the bargains they have made with his platform justify their ongoing attachment to him. I hear their explanations, but no supreme court seat, no promised tax breaks, not even all the kingdoms of the earth, would tempt me to make a deal with such a blatantly devilish leader.

I choose to stand against what is unloving, and rightly or wrongly, I see Trumpism as anything but loving. So where does that leave my relationships? Do I hate Trump supporters?

No. I do not hate Trump, much less those who have made a bargain with him for whatever combination of incentives. Hate is reactionary and is one more manifestation of the type of values I claim to reject for the sake of love.

No. I do not hate Trump

Love is not bound by the actions of another; it acts freely. God is love, humanity is created in God’s image, and love is the mandate of the Kingdom I want to serve well. And so, I will prayerfully heed the words of Jesus as best I can.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the nations do the same Be telos (mature/complete, therefore, as your heavenly Father is telos.”

— Jesus [Mt. 5:43–48]

“Brother” — The Brilliance

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother, I see my brother

Forgiveness is the garment of our courage

The power to make the peace we long to know

Open up our eyes

To see the wounds that bind all of humankind

May our shutter hearts

Greet the dawn of life with charity and love

When I look into the face of my enemy

I see my brother, I see my brother