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Dear President Trump:

In your book, Trump: Art of the Deal, you write: “I like to test people.” You go on to tell a story about challenging a lawyer who you eventually hired after being satisfied that he understood your point of view.

Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are about testing. Moses tells the people: “Remember the long way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, in order to humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commandments.” (Deut. 8:2) He goes on to say that testing is “to do you good.” (v.16) The writer of the New Testament reading reflects, “Because (Jesus) himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:18)

Our country is in a time of weighty testing about our national identity. Do we still aspire to our stated vision “out of many, one” (E Pluribus Unum)? Or are we content to settle for a more exclusive vision that primarily privileges Christians and those of European descent?


We are seeing an alarming increase of hate crimes against minority ethnic and religious groups.  Is this the America that we want to model for the world?

Poet Laureate Maya Angelou has written beautifully, “We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color.”

As President, the words you speak, the tone you set, and the diversity of advisors you hire are all crucial to how this time of testing plays out.  I pray that this time of testing will do us good and make us a better and more united people.


J. Daryl Byler