What are you talking about, Elijah? No one’s chasing me.
You just said you were being chased. So, who’s chasing you?
No, I didn’t say I was chased. I said I was chastened.
What’s that? Isn’t that like a pluperfect of chased?
No, it’s different, but it does make me want to run away. I don’t like being chastened. You won’t either when you’re old enough to be chastened, although, come to think of it, I’ve already chastened you for keeping Mom up all night.
I remember that. You made me feel bad. That wasn’t right, Grandpa! I just needed to eat! You don’t care about my needs! Mom’s going to chasten you!
You’re right, Elijah. You just chastened me and I feel rightly chastened.
Good. So you won’t do that again, right?
I wish I could promise you that I won’t, but it wouldn’t be right to promise. I’m sure you’ll be chastened many times over your lifetime. Sometimes you’ll be chastened even by your Mom. And, if I think you’re doing something hurtful, I will chasten you for your own good.
Okay, Grandpa. I’ll do the same.
That’s a deal.
So who made you feel chastened this week? Was it Grandma?
No, it was two professional colleagues. Bill chastened me on Facebook for something I’d written on Views from the Edge. Here’s what Bill said on Facebook. It hurt my feelings.
“Borowitz does satire better, and this piece is just wishful thinking, which isn’t really satire. We need people to focus on actually changing our national discourse.”
That’s over my head, Grandpa? Who’s Borowitz? What’s wishful thinking? What’s satire? What’s national discourse?
We’ll get to those questions later, Elijah. We don’t have time now. Here’s the second chastening.
Kara Root — she’s another minister here in Minneapolis — wrote something to her congregation that made me feel chastened. She invited the members of Lake Nakomis Presbyterian Church to join her in prayer for our country every Friday morning.
Here’s what Kara said:
“I’m going to pray for the nation this morning. Every Friday morning this is happening in our sanctuary. It helps me remember what I know to be true. It helps me let go of the noise, and the vitriol, and the division we feed, and feed on, so eagerly.
“This practice feels brave. And healing. And important. Sometimes I find gratitude, and even tenderness, for the people that make up this country, every single one of them.”
Yeah! Every single one of them! That’s good, Grandpa. Not like President You-Know-Who!
Ahhhh, but here’s the thing, Elijah. It does include President Trump. “Every single one of us” includes Donald. That’s what makes me feel chastened. All my life I’ve felt chased by Adolf Hitler. I always wondered whether I would have had the courage to stand up against him. Standing up to Hitler has been like a lifelong preoccupation. Anytime I see things that remind me of Adolf, I go a little crazy.
So someone IS chasing you, but you’ve stopped running! That’s good.
No, it’s not. Like Bill’s criticism of me on Facebook said, we need to change our national discourse.
I’m not praying for President You-Know-Who! I’m standing my ground!
You can’t stand your ground yet, Elijah. You can’t even stand without help. None of us can. Jesus talked about loving our enemies. He said we should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
Okay, I’ll pray for Bill and Kara ’cause they chastened you, but I won’t pray for You-Know-Who!
You have to, Elijah. We all have to.
No we don’t. I’m not do it! I don’t like You-Know-Who!
Praying for President Trump doesn’t mean you like him or accept his behavior. It means hoping for a change in his character. It means hoping that Donald will have a change of heart and mind, that he’ll stop running from whoever’s chasing him. That he’ll settle down. Be calm.
Maybe Donald also being chased by Hitler. I don’t know.
If we refuse to pray for ALL people, instead of just the people we like, we’re running away from our best selves. That doesn’t do any good, Elijah. It allows evil to chase us. It contributes to evil, and we should be chastised. If we don’t pray like Kara and the good people of Lake Nakomis Presbyterian Church, all our talk about faith, love, and hope is meaningless.
Okay, Grandpa. If I have to, I’ll try to be more like Kara. I want to be good, but this faith, love, and hope stuff is really, really hard!
— Gordon C. Stewart (Granda), Chaska, MN, January 14, 2018.