Monthly Archives: February 2015

Getting Tired Of This

Is anyone else getting tired of hearing about ISIS? I just read a report talking about another attack on several Christian villages that took place yesterday. ISIS is scary because they are making progress. They are accomplishing their goals. They are successfully conducting attacks on innocent people, destroying entire villages and getting away with it. It absolutely baffles me that the U.S., or anyone for that matter isn’t doing more to stop them.

I know that we’re all tired of war. I personally believe that war is fundamentally wrong. However, there comes a point where we have a moral obligation to defend our brothers and sisters. When I say that they are our brothers and sisters, I don’t mean to sound churchy. I mean that they; that we are all members of the human family. We are all connected, and even though we are far away, we have a responsibility to and for them. Furthermore, it is not simply the innocents who are our family. The members of ISIS are also our family, whether we like it or not.

I do not advocate violence; I do not advocate revenge or active retaliation. I advocate defense, and I advocate prayer. Ultimately, if we cannot physically be there to defend our family, we must pray for them. We must spread the word and let the world know what is happening. We must pray for our enemies, as well as our friends. We must educate and defend the vulnerable in our own country. We must spread love in any way we can so that in the future this does not happen.

We must not hate them because they are violent. We must not hate them because we do not understand them. Though it is difficult, we must pity them and pray for them because they do not know love.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

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Be Brave

In my heart I know that this is what I want:

I know in my heart that when I see violence, I do not want violence in return. I know in my heart that when I see people kill, I do not want them killed. I know in my heart that when I see these things, I don’t want them destroyed, I want them to change. I want them to know I want them to change. I know these words might never reach their ears; might not reach their eyes, but my prayers are with them. My prayers are with them like a black cloud: a promise. My prayers are with them as a stone on their backs. My prayers are with them as a weapon: a threat.

I want them to change because I know what’s coming. I want them to change because my God–their God–loves justice. I want them to change because they are my enemies. I want them to change because I have no enemies. I want them to change because they hurt my family. I want them to change because they are my family. I want them to change. I want them to change.

I want them to know that our God is Love. I want them to know that our God loves them. I want them to know that I love them, and because of them I know sorrow. I want them to know the names to the faces. I want them to know the lives they have taken. I want them to know. I want them to be sorry. I want them to change and to know that I’m angry.

I want them to stand where many have fallen. I want them to stand and break their own rules. I want them to stand and see their reflection. I want them to stand and know they’re forgiven. I want them to know that it’s hard to forgive.

My prayers are with them.

Be brave.

Be different.

Be changed.

Be defiant.

I ask that all of you would pray in your own way for the victims of any kind of violence, but also for the perpetrators, and for a more peaceful world.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!

Be

Because It Really Does Work

I was in a class that I hate last night, and there was a guest speaker. She was a retired preschool teacher and the wife of the minister at her church. She came to tell my class a story. She brought props. She came to tell us a story about how she and her family got through her husband’s cancer, her cancer, and her recent knee surgery. It got real really fast.

I remember reading a book called “90 Minutes In Heaven.” It was about a preacher who got into a really bad car accident and had a near death experience. Actually, he technically did die. His heart stopped and he saw amazing things before he was resuscitated. He spent a long time in the hospital and had to go through a really arduous and painful recovery.

What these two stories had in common is this: the characters in them were not alone. The lady in class last night said that she and her family would not have got through two cancer diagnoses and recoveries if they hadn’t had people praying for them. They knew that they had people and God on their side, and it was tremendously helpful to them psychologically, but also, they–and I– believe spiritually, in that the prayer itself made a real, significant difference.

The preacher in the story I read had given up on life. Towards the beginning of his recovery, there was one night when he was lying there in the hospital and decided to stop living. This decision had a real, physiological effect. He started dying. His friend, who was also a preacher came and told him that he may have given up, but his friends were going to hold an all night prayer vigil and were not going to let him die. They did that, and miraculously, the preacher started getting better and completely recovered relatively quickly.

I know from experience that it sometimes feels like praying is futile. Sometimes prayers are answered, and sometimes they’re not, and we have no idea why. Sometimes our prayers are answered in ways we don’t understand; in ways that don’t really seem like answers at all. Sometimes we have to wait. Sometimes, even if our prayers are answered and we’re sure of it, we despair because of all the prayers (our own or not) that don’t get answered. Sometimes we despair because the world and its problems are very big and we are small.

I read a quote–by whom I forget–that said something along the lines of: hope and despair are not polar opposites. They are out of the same mold. The only difference is that hope holds on to something. Hope believes in some kind of future. Hope allows for love, while despair is weirdly narcissistic.

As individuals we are small, but together we are huge. Metaphysics suggest that all beings are interconnected in a mesh that is meant to work as one individual, or mechanism. Sociology suggests that humans are social animals that are happier and more productive when working and playing in groups. Religion suggests that we are meant to worship God together and work together to better the world.

So many times it seems that when people pray in groups, those prayers are answered. When people pray together, miracles happen. When people pray together, mountains get moved…. That’s not to say that individual prayers aren’t as powerful. God loves each individual person equally, and pays just as much attention to the lonely hiker lost in the mountains as he does to the mega churches on Sundays.

That being said, there seems to be some kind of power in numbers. I know that, for some reason, I find it easier to pray when I’m with other people. I also feel more genuine when I’m praying with other people. Sometimes when I’m praying by myself, I get distracted, or I don’t say what I really want or need to say. Sometimes I try to pray for something I know I should care about, but actually really sort of don’t.

A couple nights ago I had a dream. A knight was charged with the defense of the castle while the king was away. He was strong, and a good fighter, and fully capable of doing his job. However, he was not quite capable of dealing with a supernatural threat. At one point, a demon showed up in the castle and attacked the knight, nearly killing him. The knight said, “Please, have mercy on me.” The demon obliged, but said that the knight must leave the castle and that he would be forever shamed. The knight left and went to hide away in a dark place. Then he said, “Lord, let there be courage where there is fear; let there be strength where there is weakness; let there be love where love is lost; let there be faith where there is none.” I had not been a character in the dream up until that point, but then I came into the dream as kind of a spirit-thing, and gave him a hug. That was it.

I think his prayer was wicked good, and I’ve been using it when I can. I’m really not sure what my part meant. I guess I’ll leave you with that. That is my prayer for tonight; that there would be courage where there is fear; that there would be strength where there is weakness; that there would be love where love is lost; that there would be faith where there is none in this crazy world.

Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!