Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.Matthew 5:9

First up, I am sick of all the political vitriol being spewed by both sides. Let’s all be honest – precisely no one is surprised by what Trump has done. The liberal histrionics are built upon a feigned indignation – Trump has been substantially milder than his rhetoric (taken literally) would lead one to believe. The flag-worshiping, boot-licking contortions of conservatives to excuse every action of our new god-king are every inch as sad. I’m legitimately frightened by how violently the partisan divide in our nation is taking shape, and I do not use violence figuratively here. I’m unapologetically conservative, but “our” people are not making this situation better. When we spend our days smashing salt in already raw wounds, we shouldn’t be surprised when conversations are not productive.

Commentaries – Those of you who preach or teach frequently would be well advised to check out this site. Especially for historical commentaries, this is a staggering volume of good, orthodox works which you absolutely should consult. It is somewhat lacking in more recent, scholarly volumes, but considering how public domain works, that’s not terribly surprising. While this will not serve all your commentary needs, it is an extremely useful place to start.

Immigration Policy – This is a fairly cold (read: actually useful) clarification of Trump’s changes on immigration policy. I strongly recommend reading this before seriously considering the hyper-partisan representations of the policy being touted by the mainstream media and popular pundits.

Men Should Sing

Joy inevitably breaks into song. Speech alone cannot carry its hilarity. The physical equipment we use to laugh is the physical equipment we use to sing. From laughter to song is but a small step. . . . The same can be said for sorrow, the opposite of joy. Sorrow also inevitably breaks into song. Speech alone cannot carry its moan. The physical equipment we use to cry is also the physical equipment we use to sing. From mourning to song is but a small step.Paul Westermeyer

Yes, absolutely yes to everything this article has to say. I see so many men who view it as antithetical to their “dignity” to raise their voices in sincere, joyous song to the Lord. It is not “unmanly” to be stirred ferociously by the Spirit in singing forth his praise. Please read this article, and please take it to heart.

No Smartphones

Then, there’s a deeper aspect to all this. We recreate ourselves online because we worry that if we were truly known, we would not be loved.Trevin Wax

This is a very mature discussion of all this social media stuff I’m so prone to harping on lately. This really puts in the truest, most positive sense – I need to disengage, largely, from social media not because it is bad, but because I want a greater good. I want to be able to be “off” toward Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and all those other fora so that I can be more “on” to the things which really matter – my wife, my children, a good book, a serious consideration of scripture. Even in trivial matters, I want to be present while I’m playing a board game with friends, rather than having my attention pulled in a thousand different ways by my diffuse digital presence. I want to let those awkward silences in conversations sit and resolve, rather than driving our eyes down to our phones and out of the situation. I find frequently that we’ve forgotten how to do these things.

More people should read Dante….

David Brooks draws his personal line in a different place than many of us do, but he’s right about this: Trump is going to push right up to everybody’s line, because he is unmoored by conviction and unrestrained by prudence. Congressional Republicans — and conservatives in general — have a moral responsibility to act as a brake on him. But they (we) can’t do that unless we have in our minds clear principles on which we cannot allow ourselves to compromise, or rather, to be compromised. We have to be prepared to lose with honor than win with dishonor, because we fear a judge greater than the voters.Rod Dreher

I have hidden my politically inflammatory material down here at the end of the article, in hopes that most of you will have stopped reading by now. I find the phrase “Faustian bargain,” to be very descriptive of the relationship of Donald Trump with the evangelical world. I personally find the difficulty of plotting a third path excruciating at the moment, so I empathize with the frustration the article expresses.

Jason Waeber

Jason Waeber is an elder at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, OH, where he worships with his wife and three children. He is also a seminary student, under care with the Great Lakes Presbytery. As GBPC is looking forward to planting a church with him in the next few years, he felt called to develop the online presence of the denomination, both for outreach and the doctrinal maturity of the denomination. The Manna and the Stone is his attempt to pursue this. Currently, Jason is serving as the general editor for the site.

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