We have movies most Friday nights here at Covenant Village. I don't often go, but did last week when they showed a PBS film called "President Trump."
I found it a fascinating study of the powerful influences that sometimes direct our whole lives. Things our fathers say to us when we are only five. The motives of our parents. The experiences of early schooling.
Donald Trump was a brash boy who was hard to handle. His father finally sent him literally "up the river" to the New York Military Academy near West Point. He enjoyed the disciplined life and became a star athlete and a leader in the school. He later went to Fordham University and the Wharton School of Business.
But a significant influence on the young Donald growing up was the family's regular attendance at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan where The Rev. Norman Vincent Peale held forth with his faith message of "The Power of Positive Thinking." The young Trump said something like, "You never wanted to leave church, it was so gripping." There was born an utter belief in himself and what he could do by being always positive and never accepting defeat.
His father was a phenomenal builder of buildings - in Queens and Brooklyn. But never in Manhattan. The young Trump, running his father's business at age 25, was acutely aware that his father was afraid of the challenge of Manhattan, which young Donald took as a direct personal challenge for himself.
He learned from some shady characters like Roy Cohn that "you always hit back harder, anyone who hits you."
A series of public insults at the White House correspondents' dinner from President Barack Obama, with Trump sitting in the room before him so humiliated Donald Trump that he became secretly determined to become President himself to even the score with Obama.
All deep influences that account for the retaliatory spirit that was to drive Donald Trump's ambition and his will to fight back. "All of life," his father told him, "is a competition." That made his son a life-long fighter.
It all set me to thinking of those influences that effect us all, and how important each one is - including the influence of a church and faith. The church has a message for all people, young and old. "You are precious in the sight of God. He loves you and gave you life. You count for something."
The Church teaches TOLERANCE and HUMILITY. It reaches LAYING DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR JESUS. TAKING UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOWING HIM. NOT GIVING UP ON IN LIFE. ENDURING. PERSEVERING. TAKING THE GREATEST LIFE EVER LIVED and EMULATING and FOLLOWING IT.
The Church is a redemptive fellowship. It offers forgiveness, the possibility of being redeemed, restored, beginning again.
Jesus and His company are the most exciting "band of brothers" ever conceived. No other society, or organization, or gathering offers this. We have, in the church, something wonderful to give and to receive.
Arthur A Rouner, Jr -
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ARTHUR ROUNER MINISTRIES