Month: July 2016

Just Listen

Obama laid it all at the funeral for the 5 slain Dallas Police officers. Clear as day. You read the comments and see how so many people are “offended” that the flippin’ PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES said what he said at a funeral. “He had to go and push his progressive liberal agenda…”

I understand why people might feel that way. It’s a great way to avoid actually hearing what he is saying. What better place and bigger audience to say what needs to be said. Most times people say something that is the truth and they don’t want to hear it they act offended or inconvenienced.

You read things like “Thank God for President Bush. He has class.” Yes. Why would President Bush say anything? That’s exactly how things never change. Nobody says anything.

Do people have a responsibility to take care of themselves? YES. Of course. Is anyone saying that government is the only way to help solve our problems? No. Not at all. Nobody is saying that. You would think from watching FoxNews that’s what’s being said but if you put down your blind hatred and anger and listen. Just listen to your heart. Think for a moment and then listen to what he is saying….

We are all to blame for the current state of the nation. If we care about the future of this country we have to speak honestly about why there is such a gap between the wealthy and the poor in one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and the long term effects that has on our resources and our souls…on our people.

I read things from folks I know that act like people on welfare are living some sort of ClubMed lifestyle. That it’s great to get a free check from the government and do nothing all the time. Are you kidding me? Look beyond your limited life experience at poverty in America. There are plenty of places on the internet and in your own city to see the wide ranges of effects poverty has on people. Are there people who milk the system? Of course? Could people work harder? Of course. But here is the thing. You and me aren’t other people. We have our lives and other people have theirs. We have absolutely no idea of most people’s history and what sort of lives they lead. THANK GOD we live in a country that can help them. Because what is the alternative? Do we take their money away? Do they just magically disappear? Do their kids disappear too? Do we punish them too? I’m lucky. I’m white and I have a family that is financially well off enough to help me when I need it. A lot of people aren’t that lucky.

We turn a blind eye to what is put out there for so long and act like in America everyone has a fighting chance! And they do. We also ignore the fact that for every winner someone else has to lose because that is how our system is rigged to work. If you’re #1 you get the job! What happens to #2? Not my problem right?

My head spins when I think about how I used to view the world. What’s best for me is best for everyone. Utterly ignorant and inexperienced. Sheltered.

We have to help ourselves and in doing that we have to help our country. We have to listen to people who talk about helping other people instead of building up our own walls and turning our backs on others because all we are really doing is turning our backs on ourselves. If you disagree with me I’m sure there is a group of people that will back up your views and that’ll make you feel better.  Meanwhile the world continues to spin and another kid’s mother or father dies…be it a man or woman on the street or a man or woman in uniform.

But let’s not talk about one of the most important issues we could talk about in our day right? Let’s be offended. Not at a funeral. That would be inconvenient right? We’ll save that for another day. Just like everything else we never get around to working on.

 

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Join The Human Family

Reposted from Steve Harper. You can follow his blog Oboedire here on WordPress.

“As many of you know, I have deep concerns about the institutions I have served for decades. And as important as things like this may be, I am struck this morning by the sense that now is a time to live more deeply and work more widely than the issues of institutionalism call forth.

We are living in a time when what happens in one denomination or one seminary is “small potatoes” compared to the degradation and destruction of life going on around us. It is possible to become too consumed by secondary matters and overlook the pain of bigger things.

Now is a time to join the human family and to be one with everyone near and far away. Now is a time to focus on love, compassion, unity, non-judgment, non-violence, and the fruit of the Spirit. Let the schismatics create their associations and let the discriminators discriminate. But let us give ourselves to the things that lead to reconciliation and oneness.

The people around us are not “issues.” They are human beings made in the image of God. They are just like us, and we are just like them. “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us all.” We are one humanity on one planet, and we live or die together. Our main task is to personify the two great commandments through the offering of mercy. Do it in the office where you work, in the congregation you pastor, in the school you attend, and in the neighborhood where you live. Be salt, light, and leaven.

Jesus said that peace-makers are blessed (Matthew 5:9), and his turn of phrase means it is not enough to believe in peace, we must work for it. We must pray as St. Francis did, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” and then personify the kinds of actions that his prayer goes on to describe.

The world does not turn on what is happening in one denomination or one school–even though what happens in any one place does matter, and we must not be silent wherever we have concerns. But we must realize that the world turns on whether we incarnate decency and goodness, and manifest it toward everyone we know and meet. I do not know who I will meet next, but I know what I am supposed to do when I meet them–love them. God help us to give ourselves to love.”

~ Steve Harper

All Of US

On a day like this I mourn for the nation. I feel empty. While we don’t have all of the facts yet it seems anger reached a boiling point and 5 officers were murdered in Dallas last night because of their skin and because of their job.

We have got to come together. All of us. You and me. We can’t wait on our leaders anymore. We have to be our own leaders. We have to lead by example. We have to reach out to each other in peace. Reach out to strangers and to family. We have to seek out those in pain and help them heal themselves. We have to have honest conversations about why this happened. How did we get here?

I pray for the families of the officers and innocent bystanders killed in last night’s brutal attack. I pray for the murderers and the families of those who were involved in acting out these murders as well. There is no justice here. There is just us. All of us.