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Dear President Trump:

Today’s Daily Lectionary readings speak about leadership – both bad and good. Hundreds of books have been written about what makes a great leader.  The readings today highlight just three things:

Kurdistan, Iraq

The principal and teacher at a 2-room village school in Iraqi Kurdistan endure many difficulties to provide a good education for the children

  1. The source of their vision. Is their vision self-informed or God-informed? In the Old Testament reading, false prophets delude the people with “visions of their own minds” rather than “from the mouth of the Lord.” They tell a wayward and stubborn people, “It shall be well with you” and “No calamity shall come upon you.” But God says that the “deceit of their own hearts” and their “lying dreams…do not profit this people at all.” (Jeremiah 23:16-32)
  2. The focus of their vision. Is their vision self-centered or other-centered? In the Epistle reading, Paul becomes servant of all and places himself in other’s shoes to be winsome in sharing good news with all who will listen. (I Corinthians 9:19-27)
  3. The sacrifice for their vision. At what cost are they willing to pursue their vision? In the Gospel reading, Jesus predicts his death and resurrection. He then tells his disciples that if they wish to follow him they must “deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.” (Mark 8:34-35)

Mr. President, I am again reminded of Rev. Paula White-Cain’s prayer at your inauguration: “Gracious God, reveal unto our president the ability to know … your will, the confidence to lead us in justice and righteousness, and the compassion to yield to our better angels.”

And of this quote by the late American poet Maya Angelou: “Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it.”


J. Daryl Byler