I did not intend to write about her passing. I was struck by the senselessness of a 37 year old mother and wife to be taken from this world because of an infection. I shook my head, said a prayer of compassion for her family, and protection for mine, and moved on.
At least I thought I would move on until a friend messaged me and asked about the John Stonestreet article on the passing of Rachel Held Evans(RHE) in Christianity Today(CT). I had not seen it so I had to research. I found that the editor of CT, Mark Galli, removed the article because after approving it, he felt it was too critical of her and removed it. He penned a short explanation that can be found HERE.
So I went searching for this article and found google links to it on a number of sites. It just isn’t to be found. My friend said it was a good article, so I had to dig deeper. I started reading about RHE and the way she connected with women and millennials. I respect that, sometimes, the things I try to say don’t resonate with them, but instead ring hollow. I want to write and speak better, so let’s read some of this and see how it works.
When I got to her blog (Found HERE), the first thing I read was her husband’s posts about her health and the induced coma, seizures, and the final days of her life. Then I read her next passage and how it ends with an admonition about how we are made from dust and will return to dust. Death is something that will come to all of us. Maybe she was just a little too prophetic there.
Then I start getting into the other posts, and what I find is something that I have to heartily disagree with. First let me explain where I come from. I grew up in a conservative home, have not voted for any Democratic Presidential candidate, and have marched for and given money to republicans. But when I did that I was still in my atheistic era. I held no devotion to Christ. As Christ found me and brought me to him, I slowly felt my political passion wavering and my attitudes changing. So I don’t consider myself first and foremost a republican, although I’m registered as one. I consider myself first a Child of the King and will honor Him before I honor any man, or issue, or political party. I voted for Trump, and for the most part support his policies, but dislike the man himself.
Then I read THIS post. I don’t need to go any further. I have seen other reputed Christian personalities that wish to take on Trump, conservatism, and some of the scriptural truths we hold to be self evident. RHE goes on to claim the bible is the text of the resistance, and describes how white America has failed in it’s charge, and how the people who have been downtrodden over history need justice. My definition of Justice is “You get what you deserve.” Nothing more, nothing less. We cannot pay reparations for slavery or for the trail of tears, but we can make sure nothing like that happens again. It is incumbent up on us to not forget, nor to gloss over the ugly periods in our history to make sure we don’t let evil loose in the public square again. But the methods, the guilt and the desire for social justice and fairness is not biblical.
If it is not biblical, it is not true. It is our feelings getting in the way of what is really true and scriptural. Now don’t jump up and call me a bigot right here, let me illustrate.
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
- John 5:1-9
If we read closely we can see that the fountain at Bethesda is most likely crowded at all times with injured and infirm waiting for the waters to get stirred up. The first one in the water after the stirring gets healed. So there is most likely a race to get into the water first. Jesus came to this pool and approaches this one infirm man. He heals him and disappears into the crowd. If Jesus was into fairness and social justice why didn’t he heal them all?
Social Justice and fairness are just words for entitlement. It is not kneeling to the ultimate power in the universe, humbling yourself and following what He says. It is standing up, shaking our fist, and saying “That’s not fair!” Then expecting a do-over. God doesn’t grant do-overs. He will redeem you, he will restore you, but for the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom(s) of man.
RHE held a solid faith, and wrote about it prolifically. She was not afraid to debate and to talk to others about it, I respect that. But we cannot take her death as an affirmation of the twisted Christianity she followed. We all as Christians can do better to uplift others, to help the poor and the sick. We can call out injustices and work to correct them. We can stand up against racism and hatred. We can do a better job of reaching out to our LGBT friends and relatives. We can do better. But it is wrong to declare and own sins that really aren’t ours. To bow in repentance for something that God doesn’t hold us accountable to, is to worship an idol, and I’m convinced that social justice, climate change, marriage equality, abortion, transgenderism and many other things are idols that our culture bows down to.
I will not bow. But I will hold my hand out, not to strike, but to help, to know, to acknowledge, and to live together in Christian brotherhood.
RHE should be grieved, but her passing and her memory should start conversations about what is true, what is good, and is real, and what is biblical. I may come off strong here, because my convictions are deep. But that will never stop me from having a civil discussion with anyone about these issues. We may not agree, but we can discuss as friends.
I’m not better than RHE, I’m a saved sinner, just like her. I worship and honor God, just like she did. Her agenda was different than mine, that is all. I don’t condemn her, because it is not my place to do so. I have to realize that when I think of her, I think of a person with sin no greater than my own.
My wife turned me on to a blog post about “10 Signs the Christian Authors You’re Following are (Subtly) Teaching Unbiblical Ideas.” It was really good, and I thought to follow that up with my own list. This time I will use the “Stop, Start, Continue,” method that we use at work. Basically, it’s a list of things to stop doing, start doing and to continue. Here we go…
13. Stop using faith to push your particular brand of politics
Politics is downstream from culture and is downstream from the faith we practice in our homes. If we as Christians who write start use our platform to push politics, we are following an idol instead of doing God’s work. Don’t get me wrong, God does work in politics, but if we spend our time idolizing or bashing a President rather than working to make things better for people or building the Kingdom of God here on earth one brick at a time, we are edifying ourselves and political aspirations, not being Christ-like.
12. Stop using your platform to shine the light on the sin of others
It never works to focus on the sin of someone else. It doesn’t work as a new Christian, it doesn’t work as a life-long Christian. It certainly doesn’t work for a Christian writer. When we focus on the sins of others, we are putting ourselves above them, and didn’t Jesus say in Matthew 20:16, ” So the last will be first, and the first last.” Concentrating on the sin of others is a sin of pride, something any writer has to struggle with and to work to avoid. One phrase I use to keep myself centered is to remember, for any sin, for any person, there goes a person with sin no greater than my own.
11. Stop worrying about your image or your brand
We write and teach at the pleasure of our boss. No that’s not our spouse or our accountant. That is Jesus Christ himself. We will be called to account for the words we spin, not for our benefit, but for his. Let us stop feathering our nest with self-serving efforts, but use every effort, yes, even every breath to share and show our love for Christ.
10. Stop using the bully pulpit as a hammer
I’ve been guilty of this, and have been called on it. It’s something that I’ve got to watch out for constantly. Just because you have a platform and readers, doesn’t mean we get to climb up on a perch and tell people how they should live. In doing so, we only alienate our readers and make it more difficult to get across the messages that are really important. Instead of hammering away, take a step off that platform and write a metaphorical hug around your reader.
9. Stop compromising the Gospel for expediency
This one bugs me. The Christian community has let this go too far. If the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then why do we write pieces that glorify some parts of the Gospel, but compromise on the others. The Word is THE WORD. Yes, it was written by men, more than 40 of them. Yes, it was written in different times (about three thousand years). It has 66 books, but it tells one story. We have to be able to furnish the full story, and especially talk about and write about the uncomfortable pieces. Jesus is disruptive and sometimes we need to push that same disruption to our readers, our churches and even our families.
8. Show your human side and discuss your own struggles
Nothing makes for better reading than a story of triumph. God works through men to give them triumph over the enemy time and time again. We have all had crises and victories in life, let’s write about them and allow the reader to see the side of us that was once, hurt, weak and vulnerable. Let them see the victory that was won through Christ. Let them see Grace work in our own lives. These are the stories that will win people to the kingdom, not the hammer that was mentioned in number 10 above.
7. Understand that not everyone is on the same spiritual path
My wife reminded me of this, and it’s something that I’m still struggling with. Not everyone approaches the throne through the same life lessons and path. Some people need the intellectual arguments, some need the emotional, some need the spiritual. All of us are born with holes in our hearts that just happen to be Jesus-sized. We need him, and the approach you took may not work for everyone (anyone) else. Let’s understand that and be open to other approaches, and other needs.
6. Show love and grace in word and deed
As a writer I know what it’s like to write about something from the sideline. However, if you get in the middle of the issue, you can write with more passion and heart. Feed a homeless person, hug somebody who is hurting, tap knuckles with a child. These are things that edify and encourage those people, but nourish our own soul.
5. Seek justice for all
Jesus will be coming back to judge us. Every one of us. He won’t pull the writers aside and ask their opinion on what he should do. We get in line like everyone else. If we have a platform and talent we should be using that for the good of Christ and the good of the kingdom. But what is it we need to do for justice. Simple, call out injustice. Politics comes in last place when somebody has been the victim of injustice, and as a Christian, we need to bring this to light, and to work to fix the problem. We are not here to make it worse.
4. Encourage a deeper faith, rooted in scripture, and surrounded by community
Our faith should always be growing, and deepening. We should be using our platform to help others grown and learn as well. If we write, we are also teachers, and as Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:2, “ Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” One more point, as a children’s ministry volunteer, one of the things that works every time is to tell somebody, “I believe in you.” The light comes back to their eyes and they are ready to lean in and learn.
3. Continue to show the many ways God works in this world
Again, stories are powerful, and if we can tell a story showing God working, it helps build the faith of those who may compromise or fall away. How many people do you have to affect for your writing to be worthwhile? The real answer to this is it only takes one. If we can keep one person on God’s path, or to help somebody choose Christ over sin, then we are doing our job.
2. Continue to use the ministry God has given you to encourage, edify and enlighten
Who have you encouraged today? That quote is at my desk in my line of sight. It helps me to realize that I’m not a travelling professor, but an itinerant encourager. There is nobody too humble for me to encourage. There is nobody to meek to edify. There is no truth too obvious, nor too obscure to be used to enlighten. Let me retell a story, told to me by a speaker long ago. In Maryland, it’s common to go to the beach to hunt crabs. To do this, you really only need a bucket to carry the crabs back to the boiling pot. But the curious part of hunting crabs is you need a cover for your bucket, only when you have one crab. When you catch a second and put that crab in the bucket, you can ignore the lid. As one crab tries to climb out, the other will pull him back in, even though both are destined for the cookpot. The moral to the story is to not be the second crab.
If you want to see a site that does a great job of this, look at Breakpoint
1. Continue to discuss truth seasoned with love
Look at the media these days, there is no love, and precious little truth. It is incredibly important for us, as writers, to provide a platform of truth, seasoned with love, in order to reach those sickened, hurt or destroyed by this world.
We are in a fallen world. Those of us who have Christ can see the hope before us that is beyond this world. With our words, painted with love, and trimmed compassion, let us show others that same hope, that same love that once captured us and brought us into Christ’s loving arms.
The night is coming.
It may be a dark and dreary night, or it may be moonlit with stars galore, but night is coming.
The evening of our society and culture is at hand. We can see ourselves in the evil that walks the earth and commits the atrocities that we abhor and yet blame on those not politically aligned with us.
It is not the summer of our discontent, but the autumn of our souls. New York has ads that call people who wear a Trump-style Make America Great Again hat, the trash. They show them with redneck tattoos and carrying a bible. They say they don't want them in NYC. The bombs that were sent in the mail this past week turned into a political hot potato with people blaming Trump, and/or the media for the bombs. Yet it was the evil of one man who (allegedly) sent the crude devices to several political figures.
Hatred comes in many colors. Those who blame the white males, those who blame the democrats, those who blame Trump, or gun owners, or Christians... They blame anybody but themselves. But if we sit back and take a look, isn't what they are peddling just a different kind of hatred?
The night is coming when our hatred will come back to haunt us.
Whenever we buy into the divisions that are set before us, we are continuing that brand of hatred. We haven't declared it hate speech... yet. But it will happen. The divisions and the anger fuel more divisions and anger that become so accepted and normal, that we start to get bored with shootings, bombings, identity politics and other strife. Yet we are blind to it. We cannot see our own hatred for what it is. Instead we sell a new kind of truth and call it our own. We bring the failed policies of the past and turn them into progressivism, conservatism, and other ism's.
The night is coming, but we won't even recognize it. We will either see it as the vindication of our views, or the suppression of them. We will cheer the long knives as they flash and the one brand of truth finally wins. Is that what we want? Is that what you are cheering for on social media?
The sad fact is most of us are the problem. We don't condemn hatred for what it is, instead we continue it, argue it, rationalize it, and deify it.
There is night coming and we won't see the morning unless we change. Unless we see our sins for what they are and seek to make peace with God.
It is my belief that we need another Great Awakening in our country. We need men like the Wesley's, or George Whitefield, or William Wilberforce. But in the social climate of today they would be drowned out by the bombast and backlash that we have turned our society into. Behold! The pagan games of Rome are now played out on Facebook! Buy your ticket! Grab your cloak! Bring your lantern and your pitchfork. It will be a great party, but it will be the end of us.
I was recently challenged by a person going through the 2018 - 2019 Colson Fellows Program to put together the list of books that I read in addition to the heavy load the fellowship put on me when I went through it last year. So I put that list together and published it here.
What I found out is that the hunger for knowledge and thoughtful exploration of the Christian faith is amazing. I was amazed at the number and the quality of the books that I supplemented. I am also amazed at the number of books I bought and set on a shelf. It's time to get reading again.
It is amazing how many people seem to communicate only with pictures that include a short pithy statement. The explosion of the internet, Facebook, iPad and smartphones has made us more dependent on these things, and less dependent on dictionaries, encyclopedias, essays and other sources of researched information and deep thinking. Some of the best literature from the prior century is left behind because people don’t take the time to pick up a good book.
What does that say about our society? We don’t have the time to read a book, but we have the time to get to level 427 of Candy Crush or Farmville? How did we get to where our priorities are so messed up? Those of us with an eye toward history would point to the 1960’s and the free love sexual revolution that took place. Yes, that era did change things and did set in motion the love of self, and the repudiation of our nation’s Christian heritage. But the change started much earlier than that, the flappers and the speakeasies of the 1920’s were a response to the teetotalling overreach of some well-meaning Christians, but the license that took place was due to something called the “Enlightenment.” This was where science started to take over the dominance of ecclesiastical thought.
The Enlightenment led to the Modernism which led to Post-Modernism, which we are feeling the effects of now. When we can determine our own truth and reality, it is not a stretch that we (as society) are confused as to what bathrooms to use, we are confused as to what gender we are. Today we are spiritual, but not religious, we are alone together. The outcome of this is a spike in suicide, a spike of violence against police officers, a spike in hatred of each other. Probably the most egregious effect of Post-Modernism is the radical tribalism that is taking place. Politics is rapidly turning into an idol with many people. The biggest problem with that is salvation doesn’t come from the ballot box. We can’t elect ourselves into a utopian society. We can’t fix our ills by finding the best people to put in office.
We have to fix ourselves. There, I’ve said it. We have to fix ourselves. To do that we have to use the only worldview that stands up to the hard questions, that is the biblically based worldview. Yes, that means we have to submit ourselves to an omnipotent, omniscient diety, and to give him sovereignty over our lives. We have to live by the precepts that the bible teaches, such as living in peace, reducing hatred, and loving one another. Then there comes the list of things we can’t do, and that’s the list that sets people’s head a-whirl. Abortion is wrong, same-sex marriage is wrong, transgenerism is wrong, but at the same time, judging and castigating one sinner over another is wrong.
Jesus said it best in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” So with that said, that brings up one question, how are we to talk about the things that are wrong? The simple answer is to do it with love. The best example I can think of is Jack Phillips, the baker in Colorado who has been through much castigation and distress over the last six years. Yet, what he did, was along the guidelines of a Biblical worldview. He drew a line on what was allowed, and what wasn’t. He didn’t seek to injure, demean, or flout the two men who wanted a wedding cake. He offered to sell them anything else in the shop, but would not make a “Masterpiece,” wedding cake. As Christians, we are called to be that loving, that gentle, yet to stand strong.
So that brings me to my final point, God loves Donald Trump. He is made in God’s image, just like you and me. He deserves the dignity that comes with that. We may have differences, and debate would serve that much better than hatred and animosity. Because in the end, we have to realize that we are made in God’s image, and God loves us too.
This subject has taken a beating in the last few years. Since the Obergefell decision that made same-sex marriage the law of the land in 2015, the tide turned against religious freedom and Christianity in general.
First a little background. Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cake Shop in Colorado, was known throughout the community as an artist, a Christian, and in general, a soft-spoken kind-hearted man. He employed several people and the wedding cake business provided more than 40% of his income. When a same-sex couple came in and wanted to order a cake for their wedding, Jack politely refused. He offered them anything in his cooler, but would not design and create their “masterpiece.” They left the store. Thus began 5 years of court appearances, derision, ridicule, death threats, and being in the public eye. Due to the rulings of the Colorado Civil Rights Board, he quit making wedding cakes for everybody. But in doing so, he had to lay off employees. At the start of this year, he was only employing family, and they were struggling. Jack can be seen smiling and laughing, being the calm, humble, shop-owner and baker that he is. But inside, he was hurting.
On December 5, 2017, the case was argued in the Supreme Court, and any bystanders could tell this was no ordinary case. There were two groups outside the court protesting for their side. The attorneys inside the court were pressed for answers by very inquisitive and not very happy justices. The questions and comments led to much speculation, but nobody could guess the results. The court came back today, June 4, 2018 with a 7-2 decision for Jack. It was not a broad decision such as Obergefell, but gives some space for those wanting to express themselves in their faith.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no reason for hatred or injustice. Jack would bake and sell a cake for anybody. But he would not create masterpiece cakes for occasions that went against his beliefs. He not only turned away the same-sex wedding cake, but also a cake that was celebrating a divorce. The case comes down to a principle: People who hold one belief, regardless of what is is, should not be penalized for holding that belief. Justice Kennedy, during the oral arguments said, “[T]olerance is essential in a free society. And tolerance is most meaningful when it's mutual.” So we have a short period of time, before the liberal ideologues in the mass media get ahold of this, to talk with people, and bring up the past true definition of tolerance, and what it means to a free society.
Today was a great win, but it was only a battle in the wider war for our culture and our children’s minds. Let us continue to pray, to live the life we intend according to our faith. Let us deal with our friends and neighbors in truth and in love. Yes, that even includes those who would spew hatred at us in losing this decision. We need to pray for them even more. Help them to find the true spirit of tolerance.
For more information, see www.adflegal.org.
If you want to engage further with culture, get the tools necessary with a Colson Fellowship.
Christianity and LGBT issues. Are you ready to spend a month getting in the middle of this messy topic and understand the different viewpoints?
Do you want to dive into the different worldviews to the same depth? How about understanding Islam and the true differences between that and Christianity?
Do you want to start to use your faith and make a difference?
If you answered, “Yes” to any of the above, you may need to consider the 10 month Christian Worldview education and discipleship program from the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. This was founded by Chuck Colson who turned into a major activist for prison ministry. He saw the prison populations exploding and wanted to find out why. The Colson Fellow (or Centurions as they were originally called) are meant to be the men and women who take a stand and make a difference.
“For evil to flourish, it only requires for good men to do nothing.” This quote from Simon Wiesenthal, a holocaust survivor is valid today. It may be incredibly valid today. If you are a good man or woman, maybe it’s time to do something.
Ask me about this education. It made a difference in my faith and my life. That’s why I’m working so hard as a volunteer to bring this education to Middle Tennessee.
I’m a gun rights supporter. I’ve grown up with guns, I own guns, I’ve hunted and I have my carry permit. But I was ready to trade it all today for some reasonable expectation that children would be safe.
Then it became obvious that guns aren’t the problem. They are a distraction. They are a powerful distraction. I’m going to lose some people at this point, who are going to rant and rave that guns are the problem and that we need new laws to keep this from happening. What law would keep this from happening? What restrictions are necessary to keep our kids safe? The deeper you look, you realize that kids get stabbed, they overdose, they get in car wrecks, they fall off bridges, they beat each other to death. Removing guns will not keep out kids safe. It will only make us as a society feel better for a few short months until the next craze takes off.
If you want to ask a real question, one that REALLY needs to be answered, how about asking this: Is human life sacred or not? Because if not, then we can keep going the way we have been, and not feel guilty about the shootings, the stabbings, Jonestown, David Koresh, or the Holocaust. It would make it much easier to just go along to get along, if human beings were no longer sacred, important, or special.
If life is sacred, we would have to ask ourselves about the violent video games we turn loose on our kids. We would have to ask ourselves about the easy access to drugs and alcohol. We would have to look at what we as a society teach them. We would have to start treating each other, as if there was a special dignity, just with being born. Then we jump to the unborn, the “batch of cells,” that will someday become a unique, special human being, but needs parents, and love and care to get there. Will we as a society provide that love and care? Today we don’t. Today it’s more important for a woman to be able to have convenient options than to guarantee the rights of that small, special, vulnerable life.
If life is sacred, we need to look at our elderly. Are we ready to write them off and hope for them to die? Or will we spend more time with them, recording the stories, and anguishing as they suffer through cancer, alzheimers, ALS or a host of other ugly diseases. Or will we give them a way to “die with dignity?” The problem is that right to die soon becomes and a duty to die. Compassion does not end in death. Compassion does not end at all if it truly is compassion.
If life is sacred, should the shooter in Florida face the needle? Or should he be given life in prison and an opportunity to repent of his crimes and come to know his Lord and Savior. Do you know your Lord and Savior? If you do, you might consider making life sacred, from the unborn, to those waiting to catch the train to eternity. From those who are unseen or unwanted to the beauty queens and the royalty. From the Down ’s syndrome baby to Angelina Jolie’s latest adoption.
Is life sacred, or is it not?
It was 8th grade and graduation was coming fast. I was the valedictorian (don’t laugh, it made sense in 8th grade) and had to give a speech. But I had no suit to wear. My parents decided to take the trip into Phoenix to buy a sport coat that I could wear. I was excited, and anxious to go on a shopping trip just for me. It was Saturday and about 9 in the morning and I had been ready for more than an hour. My parents were taking their time. They had been out and had breakfast and coffee, but I didn’t understand what was keeping them. I found out when I barged into their bedroom.
Needless to say, that image is burned into my head. I had barged into their bedroom without knocking and without any level of respect. They were out and dressed and ready to go in 5 minutes. It was a quiet and tense drive to Phoenix, and not much passed between us while getting the sport coat and the trip back. I piece of my innocence was gone, never to return. I had also angered my parents and I had to deal with that for a few weeks.
We as a society have had a few wakeup moments in 2017. The sexual scandal after sexual scandal almost made us tired of the term “sexual harassment.” The political polarization of our nation ratcheted to new lows. A baker went to the Supreme Court to get relief from tyrannical laws that force him to celebrate events that his faith tells him are sinful.
Our society does not have the luxury of being innocent any more. It is time to grow up and let go of our petty squabbles and solve problems together. But how do we do that? What I am not going to do is to list all the things our society needs to do. It won’t work. If I say, do this or do that, nothing, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING will happen. So, I’m not going to tell you what to do. Instead, I will encourage those who are doing good. I will take notice of those who may not get much in the way of kind words, but I will work tirelessly to BUILD PEOPLE UP.
Remember the story of Nehemiah. He was so upset at the walls of Jerusalem being down, and all gates broken and burned that he asked to be released from his important job to go build the wall. His employer was so impressed, he sent help. But it wasn’t the government who rebuilt the wall, it was the families. Each family had a small portion of the wall to rebuild and in just a few weeks the walls around the city were complete. The story of Nehemiah is one of faith, hard work, perseverance, building people up and taking a stand. This is what our nation and our society is called to this day.
If you are called to stand the wall, I ask you to look at www.colsonfellows.org. This is the education that I have been going through and it’s been a lot of work. But it has been incredibly rewarding. One of the things I have to do in this program is to put together a 3 year ministry plan. Item number one is to bring this education to Middle Tennessee. Watch for more on that topic to come. I will also continue my encouraging people, and building them up. I will take a stand for truth and will use this podium to call truth to the darkness, in order to banish that darkness to the light. I will have relationships and conversations, some rewarding, some uncomfortable. I will work to make Jesus known throughout my sphere of influence. Not for my sake, but for his… and for yours.
Ring around the Rosie,
Pocket full of posies,
We all fall down…
We all know the script. After a tragedy such as what happened in Las Vegas, the news media will repeat everything 50 times, try to get new supposed experts to give opinions, and by the end of the day, the call for gun control pops up, and two milliseconds later, the gun advocates come up. Meanwhile, we are immersed in the worlds of those lost in the senseless slaughter; we hear stories of heroism and sacrifice. We learn of the reaction of the community, those who line up to give blood, those who send sandwiches to the local fire station, those who just sit with the victims, not doing anything more than providing human comfort when there are no words. Eventually the politicians get involved and great speeches with great promises, but in the end, nothing comes of it.
I was reminded last night that maybe there is nothing to be done, but instead we need to be. Yes, it sounds odd, but we need to be …
My pastor tells us that we cannot out-think evil. We cannot out-work the wicked. We can however, out love them. He also tells us not to worry, for worry does not get us anything. He is a wise man.
There is a tough message that we need to realize, however. We cannot go back to business as usual. We cannot revel in the misery of this situation, then go back to our normal lives and expect anything to be different. By the time the politicians are involved, there will be a number of new laws that are proposed. From new security measures, to gun bans, and surveillance of the citizenry. The problem is salvation won’t come on Air Force One, and righteousness doesn’t come with a new law. The problem is not in our government or our laws, the problem is in the heart of each and every one of us. It would be morbidly selfish to expect a law to come into effect and solve the problems and we can go back to our normal lives. In order to make changes in our society, we must change. Sadly, here are a few ways we need to change in ourselves…
If you love to point out the faults in others, you are part of the problem.
If you love to post edgy or sarcastic photo memes online, you are part of the problem.
If you harbor any sort of hate in your heart, you are part of the problem.
If you seek to push an agenda that is rooted in anything that is not kindness and loving, then you are part of the problem.
If you want to NOT be part of the problem, then we need to turn down the heat of the vitriol in our society. We need provide a safe space for us to have debate. Don’t get me wrong that safe space is not agreeing with another point of view, but being tolerant (truly tolerant) of others, and listening without mocking. We must hear other points of view in order to find a middle ground, or most likely a compromise, to fix the problem. There was a time when the politicians in our government would regularly seek to gather support for issues that affected the entire nation from all parties. That support may not have been given, but at the end of the day, they could share a civil meal.
If you truly want to help our society, make a serious effort to provide positive messages, in person, on the phone, and online. Keep away from the snarkiness and sarcasm. For those feed hate like gasoline feeds a fire. And hate is a cheap wine, we as a society have drunk too much of, for too long. Instead of giving in to the hate, try love. Try compassion. Try tenderness. Go to church this Sunday and look around, everybody there is a sinner just like you. We need to find the moral compass of our country once again. I think it might be found in a church pew, or in the pages of the bible. Sit in a pew with a friend, share a verse, ask each other questions. If you miss a ball game, or an hour of network news, it will still be there. We are called to do more for this world, and each other than to be a finger pointing at a problem, with no intention of lifting that same finger to help.