August 21, 2014

I have nothing to say

Be kind      It does not mean that I do not care. It does not mean that the subject matter is not important. It does not mean that we turn our heads and look the other way. It does not mean that we stand still on injustice. The headlines of the last few weeks have put this pastor almost speechless. Name the issue: war in Iraq, Freedom Indiana, immigration, war in Israel, the Ebola epidemic, Robin William’s suicide, Ferguson, crime in Central Indiana, there is much to talk about, I just have decided to remain quiet. It has been pointed out that I am not actively talking about these things. It may be weird for a pastor to say nothing when the headlines are shouting, Social media ranting, politicians are posturing, and networks are scrambling to be louder and truthier.

As I have sat back and listened to the tirades on social media, including television, it seems that we make the problems about ourselves; we heighten the issue into these emotional wedges of discontent. One of the bloggers I read is Chris Morton, he wrote a great article about how we respond irrationally about tragedies that are occurring across the globe, “It’s Okay to have nothing to say about Ferguson, Iraq or Ebola.” Chris makes the good point that, “It is ok to be speechless about the difficulties others are experiencing.”  I also agree with his idea that many people think that when they are spouting their opinion on social media that they are somehow helping. Simply, this is not a truth. In fact, I believe that most of the time this makes the problem worse.

So, Pastor, what are we to do? How do we respond to these tragedies? The answer is really simple (yes, not easy).  Chris Morton has a good first step idea.

      Whenever we see the brokenness of the world around us, we should ask, “how can I be fully present and experience this moment.” Rather than skipping to broadcasting opinions, which will feel good, we need to feel the pain. Embrace it. Taste it. Take the time to truly identify with those experiencing difficulty. After all it took Jesus thirty years.

For me this involves praying, on our knees, for victims, as well as the perpetrators, for innocent lives, and for the powers who control peacekeeping efforts. It does absolutely no good to spew insults and condemnation on our leaders or on people caught up in the emotions and physicality of tragedy. This activity is only planting dark seeds of fear, insecurity and anger.

Let us do the good that we can do. We cannot fix most of the things we see in the headlines. However, there is a lot of good that we can do. Make a friend with a person who is different from you, serve somewhere, engage in random acts of kindness, forgive, reconcile, encourage, just be kind, agree to disagree with respect, instead of arbitrarily giving opinions, ask questions. What are your ideas? I would love to know you are talking to your family, friends about ways in which we can engage in making our world a place of light and put an end to darkness, one corner at a time.