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Dear President Trump:

Today’s Daily Lectionary readings are about trusting – or not trusting.

The psalmist boldly declares his trust in God: Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war rise up against me, yet I will be confident. (Psalm 27:3) In words familiar to many, John writes: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes (trusts) in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

On the other hand, Moses admonishes: “And when the LORD sent you . . . you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God, neither trusting him nor obeying him.” (Deut. 9:23)

God is worthy of trust because God’s love for humanity is steadfast and God keeps promises.

We humans build trust with one another in much the same way – by showing genuine love and concern for others and by being true to our word.


Photo by Howard Zehr

Mr. President, trust is what seems to be genuinely lacking in our country. Across the political, religious and racial divides, we no longer trust that others have our best interest at heart.  And without trust, there can be no community.

As president, your example is crucial for creating the space for building trust. Will you reach out with graciousness to those who have different viewpoints than your own? Will you model in your speech, actions and budget priorities, things that demonstrate your care and concern for all Americans – especially the most vulnerable?

One of the simple trust-building tools we use at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding where I work is circle processes.  Rooted in the practices of indigenous peoples, circles create a space where all voices are heard and valued.

To begin the healing justice work that this nation needs, I urge you to consider sitting in circles with diverse groups across the country as you formulate your agenda.  It could radically transform your presidency and the nation.


J. Daryl Byler