My response to Bob is in the bold font. Bob’s original is in light print. We conducted this discussion over two weeks ago, but I thought it still to be relevant. It’s long, but gives two Christian perspectives on this race. So I’ll begin:

Bob, I won’t waste your time by responding to points about which I completely agree with you concerning. And there are of course those things. I don’t know any other way to do this that will make sense. I will make what you have already said “is long”, even longer. I will start my response with —. And the response will be in bold print.

You begin:

This response is longer than I would like—and emphasizes the issues in general, rather than specific, terms. That is more my style. I have always loved the humorous distinction between generalists and specialists that I heard years ago: “A specialist is someone who learns more and more about less and less until he knows everything about nothing. A generalist is someone who learns less and less about more and more until he knows nothing about everything.” Because I am curious about so many topics, I considered myself to be the consummate generalist. As a result, I have an opinion about many topics but can’t speak with authority about any of them.

— I like your humor, and had heard the first part of and actually used the specialist definition before myself, the Generalist I had heard, but had not remembered or used it. Thanks for the humor.

Because of that, I tend to rely on what credentialed experts have to say about their area of expertise.

— I certainly can’t argue with this approach, other than to say that experts can be had on both sides of any issue. I learned that lesson long ago when I had responsibility for cases that we took to Court for trial. Each side always had their expert, so the facts became the important issue in those cases. JP

Because of its length, you may decide not to read and/or give thoughtful consideration to what I’ve written. I hope you’ll give it a fair reading. I’ve given considerable time and thought in attempting to make this a reasoned and balanced response to your emails and web postings.

I’ll weigh in on a few of the topics you’ve written about:

I’ll start with Coronavirus and our response to it, especially what I see as the president’s abdication of responsibility on the crisis which has resulted in far more deaths and greater damage to our economy than was necessary. The president did a number of things right at the beginning of the crisis. He restricted travel from China before it was popular. He also restricted travel from Europe soon afterward. Both of those actions bought the US more time. Unfortunately, he squandered that early advantage as more information became available. As I understand it, the early guidance that most people didn’t need to wear masks was made partly because scientists didn’t fully understand that much how the virus was spread and also to assure that front line workers—who were most at risk (had sufficient PPE because of our lack of stockpiles of that equipment). That was the fault of public and private hospital systems, state governments, and the federal government. There is plenty of blame to go around on that.

— I basically concur up to this point. JP

As more was learned about the virus and how it spreads, as well as how contagious it was, scientists recommended more and more specific guidance on the need to socially distance, avoid crowded spaces, wear masks, and develop sufficient testing capability to identify/isolate/contact trace people who contracted the virus. It is at this point forward where I believe the president failed to rely on science and abdicated his leadership, contributing to the largest number of cases and deaths as well as economic damage in the developed world.

— Actually, I agree with you on the economic damage (due to shutdown), but not on the number of actual cases, and with what I feel to be very good reason. The number of deaths actually due to Covid has come under question for good reason. You in your assessment I think must be leaving out these reasons. Hospitals were paid by the government Insurance plans upward of $30,000 more for Covid deaths than for deaths not caused by Covid. So there have been Doc’s who have leaked information that any Covid presence in the patient resulted in a CoVid reported death. The CDC had in one report that actual Covid deaths where Covid was the sole cause of death was estimated at 8% of the total reported CoVid deaths in the country. Over 50% of the total deaths reported were in 4 North eastern states, and 3 of these states had placed sick CoVid patients back in the nursing homes which accounted for most of these deaths. As for what I do agree on about Trump is that he did abdicate his duty on the economic side. He did not use his position and power to get to these facts, to mention them sooner and thus allowed the national shutdown to extend too long as a result. He of course is not a dictator, and so had to allow the states to govern themselves, but he could have gotten to the facts of the impact of this disease on the average healthy American much sooner, and with much less economic stress on the people and the nation. JP

You said in one of your emails that masks are useless. That is a belief of many people, one that has been expressed verbally and by example from the president. It is also wrong.

—I of course must defend myself here, the CoVid virus particles are so small, that they will go through the normal face mask that most people wear. We are not to wear the N95 mask, because hospital workers need them. They are 90 to 95% effective. The others they will not even tell us the level of effectiveness. Like I heard more than one Dr say “like a mosquito through a chain link fence”. The mask will stop much of what was called the wet spatter, but not the particulates that comes out through normal breathing and talking. What I saw 1 CDC representative say was wear the mask it’s a reminder that you need to be careful. The other problems I’m sure you’ve heard. Don’t touch the mask. I find myself doing it all the time. Adjusting it; moving it to scratch. I also wear the mask, but for different reasons. The mask that I currently have, I have hanging in my car, and I have used it for at least two weeks. You can’t enter stores or medical facilities in Manatee Co without it on.

My side conversation with my Urologist just yesterday was about the mask. He agreed with me that they are useless in most cases but right now mandated. He was wearing one with his nose stuck out. The other issue is the eyes. They are just as apt to allow in the virus, but no one tells us to wear goggles. JP

The latest projections from IHME, the organization relied on by the president and the Coronavirus Task Force, predicts that if we continue doing what we’re now doing, the total death toll in the US by January 1st will be 415,090 lives. They also predict that if 95% of people would wear face coverings, 116,501 lives could be saved between now and then.

— I have already explained why other experts would disagree with these predictions. And no one will be proven right or wrong until all the information is gathered and examined, and even then there will be dissenting opinions. JP

That is what scientists with the best credentials are saying. In my humble opinion, disregarding that and refusing to wear a mask is the height of disrespect and lack of regard for the safety and lives of others. It’s at least as bad as condoning abortion.

—(Best credentialed would imply that the Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus were correct). Your last statement is a big stretch, for this reason: abortions are not estimates, they are real, and they are caused by real people with names who personally have the motive to abort or perform an abortion.

I wear the mask as I just explained, and so does everyone else that I see in the stores. But wearing the mask should be a private matter based on what is known scientifically about the effectiveness. Jp

I don’t know about you but I’m going to believe the scientists who are public health experts and have the best credentials on the prevention and treatment of viruses. And I will rely on peer reviewed studies from those experts when it comes to vaccines and treatment of Covid.

— I understand wanting to believe the science, but science is all about those studies and experiments, and this virus is newer than most. So we are collecting data or should be from all around the world, and if this virus had not been so politicized in this country, where half of the country including many Republicans are actual Trump haters, or never Trumpers; but because it was, then the reported science must also be suspect just like the impeachment process was very suspect. Much data from other countries makes some of our own reported science suspect. For example our own death statistics would tell us that our medical professionals do not compare in competence to most of the rest of the world in their dealing with this disease; and we frankly know that not to be the case. Hydrachloroquine worked in some of these other countries and was not even allowed to be dispensed for treatment here in those States with the highest death rates until one is hospitalized; and then it is in most cases proven too late. This according to many local physicians who were using this drug where government had not disallowed its use, and also according to foreign studies. Many of these decisions by states were obviously political because of Trump hatred, and those decisions were made by experts with the input of local politicians. It so happens that states and localities with highest death totals were and are mostly Democratic, or are in Counties and or cities with Democratic control within Republican states. These facts make me and others reporting counter to them suspicious of the politicization of this virus in an election year. JP

If those who say masks are useless are right, I’m not harming anyone if I still choose to wear a mask. If they’re wrong, I don’t want it to be said that I was an accomplice in the death of an additional 116,500 Americans. How about you?

— I’ve answered this one, but my reasons are different than yours. JP

I believe the inadequate national response to the pandemic is the greatest contributor to the economic crisis—the next most important crisis we currently face. I think guidance from the CDC, as it has evolved over time as we all better understand the virus, has been pretty good. It was science based and provided reasonable benchmarks for when and how to shut down various segments of the economy and then safely reopen gradually as states and localities met the recommended benchmarks. Whether that should have resulted in a uniform national policy with leadership by the president and the Coronavirus Task Force or delegated to the individual states (as happened) is up for debate. I don’t know which is better or what the constitutional issues about that are. I think the president erred badly in undermining the CDC guidelines and pressuring states to reopen their economies before the recommended benchmarks for cases and infection rates were achieved. Many people respond to what the president says, regardless of whether it is correct or based on science. In spite of that, a number of states did a very good job in handling the shutdowns and subsequent re-openings. I was particularly impressed with NY governor Andrew Cuomo. He communicated often, and clearly, with excellent data–all of it science based. Most importantly, he told the hard truth about Covid and used that truth to motivate New Yorkers to adhere to the recommendations from health experts. That is something Donald Trump failed to do. He intentionally downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic because, he said, he did not want to create panic. Many governors ignored science and reopened too soon with disastrous results. Florida is one of the states that did it wrong.

— This is probably the only thing that you have stated so far that has actually riled me. Especially since you and I have agreed above that the economic downturn could have been mitigated by Trump. We differ on reasons, but with proper handling of up front scientific data which was available from other countries experiencing this virus before us we could have safely reopened everywhere. But perhaps I misunderstood your point on that. But to use Cuomo as your example on this is laughable. And I have to disagree that Florida was mishandled. Florida has responded well to its data. Localized decision making was involved and again democratically run local jurisdictions have faired the worst. Probably due to the politics. Cuomo is asking for New Yorkers to return to the State because the economic disaster taking place there is unprecedented in almost all big cities around the globe. If you hold Trump as responsible for this Countries Statistics as do I (even though the statistics are political and very biased), but due to the fact that it is the way that he allowed the political bias within the statistics to be manipulated, I hold him as president most accountable. But that being the case, I must also hold Cuomo accountable for the economic crisis taking place within his state.

Realistically, there was no way that Trump could have taken total charge of a shutdown nationally without declaring a national emergency, which had he done there would have been another impeachment uproar and trial. In fact no one even noticed this “pandemic” coming because of the first impeachment trial. And for that I hold the Democrats responsible. JP

With regard to fiscal responsibility, I’ve written before about the legislation that has provided temporary relief to people and businesses that have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Those bills will add significantly to the national debt but are essential to avoid catastrophic impacts to the economy.  I’ve also talked about the actions the president and Congress could take to pass legislation similar to FDR’s New Deal that would both provide needed jobs and make long overdue improvements to our national infrastructure. I don’t see anyone in Washington taking the lead on that. I won’t elaborate on that since I covered it in previous emails.

— I agree with you on this. But we are dreaming if we think Pelosi and company would go along with any legislation that would help Trump alleviate our problems, without extracting trillions more to accomplish her own agenda for the cities that Democrats have allowed to be destroyed over the last several decades, and to which there is yet no end in sight. These things need to be addressed but not as long as there are riots, and not just with dollars. The poor of our country have never been properly incentivized and rewarded toward change. JP

Next I’ll address racism and the false choice being presented, especially by the president, over racial equality and law and order. First of all, I fail to see how anyone who is even a casual student of history can deny the fact that slavery is the “original sin” of our country and that its impacts have been widespread and long lasting. The repercussions of slavery, even after the 13th Amendment and other civil rights laws passed by Congress over the years, are undeniable. If you want to learn more about all of that, I would recommend the following books:

—Obviously I have not read the books that you’ve read, and I’m not saying that I will not do so, but I do know that your description of the nation at its founding is not true to all the facts. Books are important to our thinking. I was once told that the only difference between us today and ten years from today will be as a result of the books we read and the people we meet. And what I know from my study of history is that Jefferson attempted to do away with slavery but two colonies refused to join the rest. I think they were Virginia, and South Carolina. Don’t hold me to the exact colonies, but documents surrounding our founding prove this fact. I have written about this in the past, and possibly to you? I write often, and don’t remember if you read this article or not. I don’t doubt that you believe what you’ve said here, I find that few of us change our minds about things we become passionate about, so I don’t expect you to come over to my thinking, but I don’t believe that most of our country was racist, none of my ancestors owned slaves, and I will not accept that guilt trip, I’ve given you some of my thinking on this before, and even though you can’t believe how one including myself can not understand this point, I cannot. It’s not that I had no sin or my family did not, because we did and do, but I ask Gods forgiveness when He convicts me.

Obviously it will take time to research these authors and books. JP

·      Caste and The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

·      Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the Problem of Race in America by Michael Emerson

·      Stamped From the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

·      The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein

·      White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

·      So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

If you’re more inclined to watch movies than read books, I would recommend the following:

— I have watched a Jackie Robinson movie. I do understand racism and I abhor it. It’s very similar to antisemitism and to the persecution of Christians in Iran and other countries today and the Wigers in China. And I’ve watched in the past some excellent movies on the struggles of blacks in the south back in the 60’s during the civil rights struggle.

I side wholeheartedly with these persecuted folks no matter their color. But are we still living in that time of racism? Not in my thinking. More Blacks will vote for Donald Trump than they have ever done for any Republican candidate. They have seen him in action producing for them. JP

·      42—the story of Jackie Robinson

·      12 Years a Slave

·      Just Mercy

·      13th—a Netflix documentary

To equate the Black Lives Matter initiative and other organizations fighting for racial equality and justice with the violence being seen in many cities is unfair.

— it possibly could be, if it were not for the characters involved in leadership positions within its founding. Their history is there to be investigated and each of its founding mothers and fathers are involved with anti American organizations and countries.

The BLM organization I’m sure draws in a lot of good well meaning folks. If you are like me however, you have to ask yourself what is it with the aversion to their even hearing that “all lives matter”, unless they just don’t believe that they do? JP

I haven’t heard a single responsible voice from those groups that condones or promotes violence.

— respectfully, you obviously haven’t heard any of Hawk Newsome’s interviews. He is the NY chapter President. The article (linked below) that I sent you Tuesday night will help you understand more their background. JP

In fact, they denounce the looting and destruction of property and declare that the violence occurring diminishes and distracts people from the message of racial equality.

— I have heard some say this as well. JP

I don’t hear any responsible leaders support having police defunded or “disbanded” (the word you used).

— that rhetoric may come more from ANTIFA, but you and I can’t know that because both are present at the demonstrations which spawn the riots continuing into the night hours. It is this that will lend cover night after night to the Rioters and there is evidence that some of the protesters do join in the riots. Why would they not end their protest before evening so that there is no question and no cover provided by them for rioting? These are questions they should be asked by the media. They are not. And the curfews if imposed are not enforced, why? Trump and election is the logical answer. JP

I have heard responsible people discuss the need to look at the responsibilities thrust on police departments to handle problems that are better dealt with by mental health professionals and assuring adequate funding to deal with those issues. That might involve diverting some resources (manpower and/or money) to those efforts. For example, police officers aren’t adequately trained to deal with the huge numbers of mentally ill homeless people.

— I too have heard this discussed, and it may be one possible answer. JP

Many domestic violence situations might also be dealt with better by trained mental health professionals.

— I wouldn’t want my granddaughter going into some of these situations without police backing. She is a social worker in the Richmond Va Area. The case recently where the young black man was unaffected from being tazzered twice and then was shot was a case of drug involvement. One of my friends Jack () who’s son is a Md State Trooper says that some drugs make the person so strong that it takes three officers to take them down. Jp

In a number of postings you denounced the use of government funds for affordable housing, medical care, welfare, food support and even education.

— I hope you misunderstood my emphasis because that was not my intent. We already provide funding for these things, and just pouring more money into these programs is not the proper answer. What I think I did say was that Jesus would expect us as believers to help the poor around us, not the government. But since the government has taken this on it needs to be managed with incentives encouraging the want to move on to bigger and better things. In other words it must involve sacrifice of at least some diminished quality of life and income over actually earning ones own living. Slavery actually provided housing, clothing and food, but the conditions of slavery also provided an incentive to want to run away. We need runaways from the slavery imposed on the poor today, but we will never see it happen until their quality of life demands it. There is very little incentive in our system for the slavery involved in our country today to want to leave it. Jp

You don’t want the nation to “take (your) tax dollars and do something that they cannot possibly do, because they cannot see the needs from inside the beltway.”

— I think I stated that to make something similar to the prior point. Jp

I agree that many government programs are inefficient and ineffective. Many of those efforts are better accomplished by block grants where the money goes to local governments who better understand the needs in their community. I, for one, am grateful for programs like Social Security and Medicare. Medicare certainly has plenty of fraud, much of it uncovered and highly publicized. But the economies of scale and ability of the federal government to use their size to negotiate much lower prices for medical care far outweigh the costs associated with that fraud. There have been similar benefits resulting from Medicaid, HUD housing assistance and DOA food stamp programs.

— I agree these are necessary programs. (paid for by us for us) Jp

The latter two have been severely cut in recent years. For a glimpse into the issues related to affordable housing and the impact to poor families from housing instability, I highly recommend the book Evicted by Matthew Desmond. It really opened my eyes to the issues involved and the need to find solutions to widespread housing insecurity.

There have been many failures in public education. Our children deserve to have top notch schools and teachers, regardless of their zip code. The issues are complicated and I discount anyone who has a simplistic answer to the problem—such as the “school choice” option touted by many people which ignores the unintended consequences of that option, especially its impact on people in poverty.

— Good education is definitely a problem for whites as well as blacks. Can’t disagree, but money is poured into education with declining results. ( education is largely why our young people think socialism is better than the best country in the world.). Jp

To denounce the use of taxpayer money to fund programs we all need is to be irresponsible. I certainly want a national, taxpayer funded, transportation program (Including interstate highways), defense program, retirement insurance, and other critical programs run. Many programs are best administered at the state and local level. As I said before, many programs can be federally funded and locally administered using block grant programs. The problems governors and hospitals had procuring PPE during the pandemic demonstrate how the size of the federal government gives it leverage in negotiations to obtain and then equitably distribute critical medical (and other) resources.

— I don’t disagreeJP

In one of your recent posts, you mentioned that you and Ellen listened to a message from January by Andy Stanley on Faith and Politics. First of all, thanks for raising our awareness of that. It was actually a three-part series and you motivated Betty and me to watch all three of them. So, it is with his remarks as a backdrop that I broach the subject of politics. I agree with Andy that faithful Christians can have very different political views and support different party platforms and candidates. I respect those differences and don’t want to condemn anyone for their political choices. I certainly believe Miles Law: “Where you stand depends on where you sit.” We all have very different life experiences and have valid reasons for our belief system.

— can’t fault that concept.

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that any particular candidate or party platform will conform to our individual beliefs or value system completely.

— can’t disagreeJP

We must all choose between the “lesser of the evils.” I am a registered Republican but I must admit that I’ve been put off recently by the direction the party has been moving. For me, the choice of which candidate to support comes down to my perception of their character. What matters most to me is not their position on the issues. The spectrum of ideologies of our elected officials and the balancing of interests that is reflected in the separation of powers will also tend to result in somewhat balanced laws and public policy. 

— in my opinion, and this is just my opinion, we the people have allowed people to come to power with agendas. We call them politicians, because they say that they will do one thing, while they do another, and we over our lifetime have watched the morality of the country decline. It has gotten to the point that we don’t even cringe when a jurisdiction such as California passes a bill such as was just passed to allow adults to engage in sexual relationships with minors. We have come to expect such things, and we go on as though there is nothing that we can do about it. People call Trump a liar, but they can’t find where he has not actually accomplished what he told us that he would do for the country. Has he lied? I’m sure he has, but has he been mistreated? Has there been a double standard allowed by our media? Why Trump? To me it’s because once a nation in our modern history of nations has seen one political ideology gain the full support of the media; then all freedom for the people is lost, because what they are told is never the truth, but only what will lead the masses to conform to WHATEVER the agenda. JP

I want the people who represent me, especially the President, to be empathetic, to promote the best interests of the entire country, to work toward unity and not division, and to be honest with the public.

— sometimes unity is not in your best interest especially in government, it has resulted in Abortion being used as birth control; in the decline of the family unit in the Black Metropolitan community; in the decline of the education system, where we see our grandchildren weaponized against the best country on the planet, and yes there are other sins that our government has committed, wars that we should not have fought, conglomerates that should not be allowed to exist, and we could go on. Slavery itself was the result of compromise for unity at the time of our founding. We must think about what we really want. Unity should not come at the expense of the future of our progeny. JP

Neither candidate in this year’s election is perfect. Both men are flawed and have plenty of skeletons in their closet. But on balance, I sense that Joe Biden has more empathy and compassion for people, especially for the disadvantaged and powerless.

— what has his empathy accomplished for them in the 50+ years of his service to this country. JP

I sense that Biden is more likely to emphasize what we have in common and to not incite divisiveness but promote unity. Is he completely honest in everything he says and does? No, but much of the evidence I’ve seen demonstrates that Donald Trump lies about almost everything.

— like you once told me “you’ve drunk the koolaid”. and I say that respecting your right as an American to believe what you will. Jp

His lies about the pandemic have resulted in tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

— I’ll use a Biden phrase “come on man”, CoVid is no pandemic, but had he not treated it as one, he would have been impeached, and out of office. It won’t kill as many (mostly older persons) like us this year, as the number of babies we abort. If you take a look at the other countries who have “done so much better than Trump” in managing this virus, you will find that they have used Hydrachloroquine in their treatment of same. JP

I would refer you to quotes from Bob Woodward’s most recent book, Rage. John Dowd, one of Trump’s attorneys during the Mueller investigation, advised Trump not to be interviewed by the Mueller team, otherwise he would end up in an orange jumpsuit.

— come on Bob, you know that when everybody is out to get you, you are never advised by your attorney to testify against yourself. Trump actually wanted to testify. This quote was also stated in Woodward’s former book “Fear” in 2018. It was then denied by Trump’s counsel Jay Sekulow who stated that Trump was never prepared for a Muller hearing. This was all put to bed in A TIME article in Sept 2018. Don’t know if you know of Sekulow, but he is another of my hero’s. A Christian Atty, who fights for religious freedom in school and governmental settings.

The last line in Woodward’s book is a quote from Dowd about Trump: “He’s a f#*^ing liar.”

— Didn’t happen, but they never were able to prove even one lie on him were they? I’m sure he may have lied, but what he may have lied about obviously was not impeachable, if it were he would be gone. I’m interested in knowing what you think about the rapid processing of the Vaccine, it probably won’t be out before the election, and if it’s not I’m sure they will call Trump a lier again. But with his involvement I know it will be out long long before normal, and we have no one to thank for that other than Trump. Jp

Mindful of the Fundamental Attribution Error that Andy Stanley talked about, I’m reluctant to judge the motives of the candidates. I fight my tendency to “attribute the behaviors of others to their character rather than social or environmental factors.” I make the best judgment I can with the recognition that other people I love and admire can make very different judgments based on their unique perspective because of where they live, what they’ve seen, and what they’ve experienced. So, I will not condemn anyone who makes different choices than I do. What I do think is very important, and will always try to do, is to better understand what others believe and why. I really do attempt to use the model that Andy Stanley promoted in his sermon series:

— I have no argument with that, but I will say that we as a people will reap the rewards or the judgments from God for our decisions. We are a product of our decisions as individuals and as a country and eventually as a world. As I stated before what we read and who we meet, which today means even who we meet on the internet. One of my heroes is Charlie Kirk. He gets to the bottom of issues that are important to me. Jp

·      Listen to people who don’t experience the world the way I do.

·      Learn by being a student rather than a critic recognizing that I have a flawed world view and must seek first to understand rather than to be understood.

·      Love others unconditionally.

— A lofty goal, and one hard to not accept, Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. But you knew there would be a but didn’t you. He also told us of a day of judgment. I wrote a blog early on in my blogging titled is God’s unconditional love conditional?

I don’t know if you’ve read it in the past or not, and you may not want to, but the concept in the article has determined my direction in establishing my own theology. Here is its link should you decide to read it. jp

That is why I’m so interested in learning other people’s stories (and why I keep asking to hear more about your life history). That’s why I read a lot of books on a wide variety of subjects (including biographies) across the entire spectrum of opinions. That’s why I watch both CNN and Fox News. It’s also why I’ve always been focused on service to others, from my work with the Kairos prison ministry, to starting a ministry to help make home repairs for people who can’t afford it, to being involved in food distribution, to mentoring disadvantaged high school students, and other activities to promote justice, fairness, and dignity for all people, especially those who have long been subjected to discrimination.

— this is certainly commendable and I should think that it certainly helps you meet the objective that you’ve set. Jp

In closing, I can’t ignore your most recent post that I read this morning: The difference between a Liberal and Conservative Jesus Follower and the Sin Question. I must say that I was offended by your judgmental language and the way you paint “Liberals” with a broad brush, condemning them as soft on sin. As the saying goes, “my liberty ends where yours begins.” We have laws to protect us from the harm others inflict on us and our property. There are consequences to sin and justice must be administered when crimes are committed. But you seem to be sowing seeds of fear, divisiveness, and hatred for anyone whose beliefs or worldview doesn’t match yours.

— sorry that you were one of the offended, perhaps I used too much literary license, but one of my purposes was to connect the talk of God and the Bible that is being thrown about by certain Democrats probably in response to Republican rhetoric, with the actions that are occurring in their democratically controlled cities, where they have released criminals rather than use the science of masks and social distancing to keep them and society safe. I see these actions as hypocritical and antithetical to what you are relying on from government as you state it here.

Further I would be interested in the reason for your being offended, because it was not my purpose to make every Christian with some socially liberal views to be included with liberal Christianity in my ranting. So my question is: were you offended by being included with liberal Christians, because I think that all Christians have some liberal views and those views are not what my statement was about. But if one is liberal in their Christianity, it has been my experience that they are normally very liberal in their political views. And it is they who scoff at the born again experience which Jesus said is a must in order to enter His or God’s kingdom. So I’m not sure what offended you personally. But you cannot present the Jesus of the Bible and His gospel without offending. After all look at what happened to His disciples. Jp

Maybe I’m misinterpreting your views and I won’t ascribe motive (I still remember what Andy Stanley said about the Fundamental Attribution Error), but I would encourage you to lean in and Listen to, Learn from, and Love unconditionally those who disagree with you.

—I hope that is what I am trying to do in this case, with you. Jp

You close your emails with the saying that “Words are powerful, use them well. Not mine, not yours, but only God’s truth matters.” I agree that God’s truth matters. That’s why I continue to work on becoming a better Christian and discovering where my worldview disagrees with God’s. I am a Christ follower but I continue to sin and to discover new sins that I didn’t know I had. I admit that I am a broken person desperately in need of grace. I am grateful beyond words for what Christ did for me on the cross. I will do the best I can to follow the commandments that Jesus said all the law and prophets flow from: to love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength—and to love my neighbor as myself. In addition, I will share the gospel in whatever way I can to everyone I can for as long as I live.

—, Great goals, but as you’ve pointed out unachievable without His grace, and I will add without His Holy Spirit in our lives (without the born again experience). I think you know this, but it too is an important element in the Biblical worldview. JP

I have different views than you. We both have valid reasons for believing what we do based on where we’ve come from and how our faith journey has taken different twists and turns. I respect your right to believe the things you do. I will do my best to follow Andy Stanley’s advice to disagree politically, love unconditionally, and pray for unity. I would also supplement your closing with an additional reminder to all of us: “Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you.” (Matthew 7:1-3)

— I totally agree with this, sin is never to be ours to judge; teachings or doctrine is another matter, because as Paul said to Timothy:

1 Timothy 4:16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you. (NASB)

The Apostle John, I believe, made clear that being born again is only the first step in becoming a son of God.

John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, [even] to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (NASB)

So in closing this ends my response, I know that neither of us can change anyone, but God can use us to change one another. Love you brother. I appreciate your testimony, and your faith. May we both make progress in this walk, and in so doing take on the mind of Christ. God bless. Jp

As a side note: Bob has since this writing told me that I need not continue to write him in attempt to influence his vote, as he has already voted for Biden.