Do you ever feel sorry for Donald Trump? As soon as I ask this question I wonder what you are probably wondering: has Jay, like grandma who got run over by a reindeer, had too much eggnog? Maybe. But please hear me out.
Most of the time he has me appalled, outraged and frightened out of my wits for the country. Almost every day in fact. Often multiple times a day. But everyone once in a great while when I watch and listen to him I try to imagine what his inner life must be like. And what I imagine is that there is a gigantic hole there, that there is wounding and pain so deep in his life that its like an enormous black hole from which there is no escape.
I was thinking about this recently when I was reading a meditation from Richard Rohr's book Yes, And, which is a collection of daily meditations. Rohr is a Franciscan Priest and founder of The Center for Action and Contemplation. Last week in the Sunday service I played a video clip of Rohr talking the need for Christians to recover and live out of the contemplative and questioning side of our tradition as opposed to the doctrinal side.
In one of Rohr's meditations entitled The Rent You Pay for Being Here he says: ..."If you do not transform your pain you will always transmit it. Always someone else has to suffer because I don't know how to suffer; that is what it comes down to. Jesus, you could say, came to show us how to suffer, how to carry 'the legitimate pain of being human,' as Jung called it. Beware of running from yourself and your own legitimate suffering, which is the price of being a human being in a limited world."
I think Donald Trump is a profoundly, deeply wounded person. And there is nothing more dangerous than having someone in a position of leadership who is so deeply wounded and so unaware of their own suffering. As Rohr suggests, we are all suffering because Donald doesn't know how to suffer.
We are all wounded, of course. There is no escaping the human predicament of being wounded as children, and being both the receivers and then givers of emotional pain. Sadly, sometimes physical pain and harm as well. And if we don't become self-aware, or hit rock bottom and learn to face the truth about ourselves, or by the grace of God come into contact with some healthier people who can love us and model a way through through pain to healing, we are in for a world of hurt.
Our woundedness does not have get us stuck in the black hole of that world of hurt. In fact, the very best leaders are, as Henry Nouwen said, the wounded healers, who have come to recognize their own pain and suffering and the way it bleeds onto everyone we live and work with, and committed to doing the hard work of therapy or spiritual practice in order to transform the pain of being human into a well of compassion and wisdom and hopeful leadership. We desperately need some of this in our political world.
I also wonder if what many of his followers find attractive in Donald is that beneath the all bluster and lying, they recognize in him something of themselves. A deeply wounded people rallying behind a deeply wounded man. When you read stories like this one about the increasingly desperate plight of much of rural America - these are the people who voted overwhelming for Trump. It amazes me sometimes to think about how the narrative about city and country has changed in my lifetime. Once, we believed, it was the cities where the desperate people lived. It was the cities that were racked by crime and drug use and no work or hope. (Yes, I know about Detroit.) Now this is the story we hear over and over about what is happening in rural America. This is where I grew up, and it makes me sad to see and sometimes experience the pain and anger that festers there.
But there is a place for compassion and there is a place for real-politic. Donald Trump is a dangerous man because he is so wounded and self-absorbed; he should not be President of the United States. For now he is. As the circle of law and justice closes around him in the coming year, it could be a very perilous time for our country. I hope the truth comes out, whatever it is. I hope that justice prevails for him and his enablers. But I also hope that there is some measure of humility and compassion expressed by his political opponents. That would be me and you.
Thanks for hearing me out. Here is the update for this week:
Choir Rehearsal: 8:50; Sunday Service – 10:00am
12/16: Children’s Story – Krsitin Standafer; Nursery – Kristin Standafer; Treats – Sam Lucido
12/23: Children’s Story – Jan Johnson; Nursery – Jan Johnson; Treats – Kristin Standafer
12/30: Children’s Story – Rhonda Gingrich; Nursery – Karen Lucas; Treats – Sandy Gingrich
Support for Rowan and Mabel
Rowan – CaringBridge site
Mabel - MealTrain; FB Page.
On the second Sunday of the month our worship hour becomes a discussion hour. After opening music the children go downstairs for an education time and the adults have a time for discussion around the theme for the day. Shortly before community meal time the children rejoin us and we have a closing song and prayer.
Join us at 5pm for our Christmas Eve candlelighting service.
South Metro Interfaith Community Event
Monday, January 28, 6:45-8:15pm, Galaxie Library large meeting room, Galaxy Library, Apple Valley
Locao Global Dynamics of Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar/Burma
Professor Tun Myint of Carlton College will be presenting.
Child Care Volunteers
At Open Circle, we value our children as important members of our community. As part of our ministry to families with children, we provide nursery care for pre-school-age children and simple coloring and craft activities for older children during worship. We are blessed to have a growing number of children, but this requires more help each Sunday. If you would like to be part of the rotation providing care for our children, please contact Rhonda Pittman Gingrich at email@example.com as soon as possible. The winter/spring schedule will be prepared in the coming weeks. Volunteers usually serve about once every 6-8 weeks.
Each Sunday there are activity tables set up in the corner of the sanctuary. There is paper and crayons, playdough, and sometimes other things used in conjunction with the theme for the day. These are for children and adults who want to quietly be active while staying in the service.
Food Shelf Collection
All items are donated to the 360 Communities Food Shelf in Burnsville or Rosemount. Some items that are especially in need right now are diapers, canned meals (like chili or stew), and laundry detergent (pods are recommended as they can divvy them up easily). Please help if you can.
Caregiving Response Team
From time to time we have a member in the hospital or recuperating at home from surgery or illness, or someone with another need like moving from one home to another. If we know about the need, we would like to notify our community and ask for help. It could be a meal, a card, a visit, or getting a group of people together to perform a task. If you know of someone who has a need, please feel free to contact Katy Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org 612-750-0263 or Jay Steele at email@example.com.
Brethren Bucks - OCC Scrip Program
Participating in our scrip program has never been easier! Visit the Brethren Bucks link on the church website for more information and to sign up for this great program that pays Open Circle to shop. Nicole Giesen is our scrip coordinator and can be reached at 952-200-4672 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer cash-n-carry gift cards for several retailers on most Sundays.
Children at Open Circle
School-aged children are invited to remain in the sanctuary during worship; quiet activities are available for them in the basket near the bulletin rack in the entry. A nursery, staffed by volunteers, is available during worship for infants, toddlers, and pre-school age children as needed. On the second Sunday of every month we offer an education time for children. After the opening songs children go downstairs and have age appropriate activities centered around a bible story or seasonal theme. If you have questions about our ministry with children, please contact Rhonda Pittman Gingrich.
Open Circle Finances
We thank you for your financial contributions; they make possible the mission and ministries of our great congregation. Contributions can now be debited automatically from your checking or savings account. Forms are available at the top of
the stairs. Please talk to Mark Gingrich (email@example.com) or Linda Hoskins (firstname.lastname@example.org), if you have any questions or want to register. Contributions can also be made through the website. Click on the "Donate to Open Circle" link on the website home page (www.opencirclechurch.com).
OCC on the web at www.opencirclechurch.com where you can find the most updated volunteer lists, the weekly update, podcasts of Sunday messages, the church calendar, pictures of life at Open Circle, and more.
OCC on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/OpenCircleChurch
Peace to all,