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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Surprising? Risky? Praying . . .

I just did something unprecedented today: I wrote a letter to POTUS.

In my previous post, you can see my letter to Congress, which began with the answer to my own prayer that President Obama would seek Congressional support for his proposal to send air strikes to Syria.  The response of the media, so surprised by his change of course, prompted me to post a question on Facebook: “Have any of the rest of you been struck by the two most common words the media has been using to describe Obama’s decision to seek Congressional support: ‘surprising’ and ‘risky’?”

My first comment in the comments section read as follows: “From the standpoint of an average American citizen, these two words are 'surprising.' Didn’t he make the common-sense choice? Didn’t he take the right, Constitutional action in a democracy? Then why are all of the reporters in all of the mainstream media outlets beginning their reports with headliners like, 'Obama is taking a big risk . . .' or 'Obama made the surprising move . . .'? Do they know something the average American citizen does not? 
"The President's decision to seek Congressional support for the strikes on Syria may be his most independent decision of his Presidency.  And, it may put him in danger.  If Congress says 'no,' then he either goes against the will of the people and faces many angry vigilantes, or, perhaps more precarious, he stands with the people and faces even more sinister forces."  In the next comment, I solicited prayer for the president to follow his own convictions.

A good deal of banter followed, particularly with one friend who said our president doesn’t have convictions and, instead, “bows to his masters.”  I added to my first comment as follows: “According to reports, [his decision] has 'stunned many,' including his 'closest advisors,' who had 'strongly urged' against it. This is why the reporters are so 'surprised.' It appears he followed his own convictions.

He remained cynical, while I remained optimistic:  So why do I have optimism? Because I prayed for Obama to change his mind and ask for Congressional support, and he did. And now ‘many are stunned’ and it's being reported as a miracle. So I'm praying for more miracles: for the miracle that Congress says ‘no,’ and then the miracle that Obama stands by the people, and then the miracle that his life is spared, and then the miracle that the Syrian people forge a new life in safety and freedom. I'm praying for more miracles!

To that he replied, “. . . and they all lived happily ever after . . .”  I chuckled, said “smiling with ya’,” added that “realistically, change is a very slow and painful process,” and noted “momentum is building.”  He wasn’t sure, linked to an article with good facts but a sarcastic tone, and I closed with a line from my letter to Congress: “"How tragic it is that in place of debating how much asylum and humanitarian support we can provide, we are instead debating how much violence we should inflict.”  He “liked” it and our discussion was done. 
But my prayers were not.  Today, Syria has expressed a willingness to negotiate, so miracles are possible.  Also today, I was led to send the following letter to our President:

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September 10, 2013

President Barack Obama
White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear Pres. Obama,

Thank you for asking for Congressional support for air strikes to Syria.  Trusting in your heart of democracy, I had been praying you would make this decision and rejoiced when you did.

To one who had been praying, the media headliners, at first, were puzzling: “The President has made the surprising decision . . .” or “The president took a risky move . . . .”  They noted that “many were stunned” and that many of your advisors had “urged you not to.”  I realized I had prayed for a miracle, and the miracle had been granted.

Realizing this, I wrote my own letter to Congress and began praying ever more fervently not only for the development with Syria, but also for you personally.  In my prayers, it became clear that your decision was not only “risky,” but also dangerous, including to your own life.  If Congress says “no,” then whether you stand with the people or against the people, your next decision is fraught with danger, for your life personally, for our country, and for our world.  I came to see that, perhaps, you have lived your first 50 years for this moment and this decision.

I am praying for you and am calling my friends to pray for you.  Your heart, your mind, and your soul knows the “nothing” or “weapons” debate is an either/or fallacy and that methods of diplomacy, humanitarianism, and asylum are all at your disposal.   But I’ve come to see the peril for you in following your own convictions of peaceful means over violent means and democratic means over dictatorial ones.  May you have the courage to live by your soul and may the Lord protect you as you do.

Thank you and praying,


"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  (Mark 8:36)


Monday, September 2, 2013

Relief not violence

Although the following post tangents from my typical ones, it certainly reflects my thinking as applied to real world issues, and it is my deep prayer that enough of us will unite together to speak for peaceful means in a violent world.  So today, I sent the following to my own members of Congress and then posted a link for it on my Facebook page.  One of my friends has re-posted it with her own introduction to a larger website.  May it represent one of many voices, and may our voices be heard.  Amen.


September 2, 2013

Dear Senators and Representative,

Thank goodness my first prayer has been answered.  The President has decided not to strike a country without seeking the support of the American people, through our representatives.  Now I’d like to participate in my second prayer, that the American people, through our representatives, say “no.”

The Syrian government has no motive to attack its own people and, given President Obama’s threats, a clear motive not to.  The insurgents, on the other hand, who we have supported, do have motives.  A remark that they have neither the means nor the ability to do so is starkly na├»ve and in great contrast to what has been said and observed of other independent militia groups around the world.  Is our government saying the same about a truly remarkable technical mastermind twelve years ago?
Even if the Syrian government did commit the atrocity we claim it did, does that warrant us to commit our own atrocity?  If we are to “lead by example,” then we must truly lead by example – to relieve suffering without furthering it.  How tragic it is that in place of debating how much asylum and humanitarian support we can provide, we are instead debating how much violence we should inflict.

Do we not see this never-ending cycle?  One group uses violence; we use violence in response to them; and yet another group (Russia? Iran?) uses violence in response to us, and so on and so on.

My great prayer is that our country would finally wake up to the insanity of violence and the deep-seated truth that the means to a peaceful end must also be peaceful.  As we celebrate our 50th Anniversary of the Dream Speech of our great leader, Martin Luther King, let us remember that the battle he forged was fought non-violently.

Please vote “no” on strikes on Syria.
Thank you very much,
** signed **