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Love these honest and heartfelt prayers, and appreciate the reminder not to take each day, or any gift from the Lord, for granted. Teach us gratitude and dependence on you, Lord.

Thanks for this article, it is time that we acknowledge the church's complicity in the toxic atmosphere in which we are living. I think you were right to point out the threatened need for control as fueling some of the rage we are seeing. It relates to a misuse of power for selfish gain rather than for the flourishing of others. If we are following Christ, the way we use power should follow his way. The suggestions above are good ones to begin personal reflection, understanding and Christ-like transformation. We also have to understand that sin is not only individual, it has infiltrated and poisoned our institutions and organizations. As Christians, and as the Church, we need to consider how we can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

I live in W. Michigan and am "represented" by a Republican in the US House of Representatives. I believe that in this moment, we must let our voices be heard and help speak truth to those in power. Here is what I wrote to my representative yesterday:

Today my granddaughter (one of six) turns 5 years old. A Facetime call with her and family living in SD was delightful. Then I started reading the news, which made me wonder what kind of world she would grow up in. I am alarmed by what I’m reading, not only about the violent extremists in our country, but about the Republicans who support them. Now is the perfect time for the Republican party to find a moral compass (and a backbone) and distance itself from the worst part of Trumpism, the violence and the deception of white supremacy among other deceptions. Instead, after a bit of hope, as Republicans began to denounce the violent insurrection on January 6, and as donors pulled back donations from those who promoted the lie about an unfair election; it seems that now Republicans have crawled back to embrace Trump and his brand of extremism. I believe this is not only unwise – the majority of Americans condemn it, and long to see government working again for the people – it’s also very, very dangerous. We saw on January 6 how dangerous it can be! Please don’t forget that we came very close to a bloodbath in our nation’s capital! We must not embolden extremists seeking to overturn a free and fair election who are willing to use violence as a means to their ends! I hope that we can agree about that. Now is the time to find your conscience and uphold the constitutional oath that you swore to the nation and to the people who elected you to serve. Now is the time to distance yourself from the ugliness of white supremacy and violent extremism and begin governing our nation. I am watching, and the whole world is watching. I’m begging you to do the right thing, our future depends on it.

We all want to hate sex offenders; we can't imagine their crime, especially when it involves children. They are so smooth, so arrogant, so sure that there will be no consequences for them (and unfortunately they are so often right about that). Yet our Lord loved each one so much that he died on a cross for them. He calls us to love one another, not judge one another. We are no better; we are all just as dependent on the grace of our Lord. There are some very good questions raised in this article; questions that need to be addressed and carefully considered.if we are to follow our Lord and love the unlovely - while at the same time protecting each precious child of God in our midst. Lord, help us to consider these questions in our church communities as we seek to reflect your love to all people.

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