Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

Month: March 2016

That Moment

You struggle with it.  I struggle with it.

It’s on the news.   Pictures, stories, arrests, bombs, beheadings, smoke, fear.

It’s on the news.  Grown men insulting each other while insisting they can run the country.

It’s on the news.   Comparisons between political candidates and really really bad men from times gone past.

It’s on the news.  She says she can be President but she can’t keep top secret e-mails top secret.

It’s on the news.  People treating other people like they are “less” because of where they came from and how they look.

It’s not only on the news.   It’s the 33 year old cousin of a friend who died in a farming accident this week.

It’s not only on the news.   It’s the private devastation that ruins people’s lives.

It’s not only on the news.   It’s job losses, it’s medical diagnoses, it’s mental illnesses, it’s financial pain.

It’s not on the news.   Relational struggles.   PTSD.   PTSD from living with PTSD. 

It’s all over and it’s really really hard.

It’s hard to see the good.   You want to see the good but it’s hard to see the good.

And then you show up at church on Good Friday.

And you sit on the floor, not because there aren’t chairs but because it’s a small reminder of the pain that Jesus suffered for us.

And the minister begins to talk.  

And she talks about pain.

And she talks about how this has been a tough year – a tough year for a lot of people and a lot of places.

And at that moment, she reaches in and touches the pain.   She reaches in and shows that God sees our pain.

God gets it.

Jesus gets it.   He understands our pain.   He understands that there is wicked and evil in this world.

But He’s done something about it.   Not just one thing, not just one problem.

He’s taken care of the entire problem.   He’s attacked evil, destroyed it, paid the price.

That’s the moment.   That’s the moment where, with tears running down your face, you know God’s got this. 

And  He’s got that.

And He’s got the thing that feels like it knocked the wind out of your lungs and left you crumpled on the floor.

And He’s got your loved one who is too sick to pray on their own.

And He’s got the lunacy that appears to be afflicting the international and national scene.  

Jesus wept when He went to Lazarus’ tomb.   He knew what He was going to do, He knew that the grief would be short lived.

But He wept. 

He didn’t just try to smooth talk it over and say, “there there, it’s going to be okay.”

Jesus wept at the pain of people in this world.

He weeps about the pain that is happening to you, to me, to those we love.

But He did something and He will make all things new.   Maybe not when we want, maybe not where we want.   But He will.

And that’s the moment where Good Friday really became Good tonight.

TJV

Quiet

So, it’s been over two weeks since I have written anything on here.   What’s up with that?

Let me share a couple of things that are “up” with a period of silence……

Pain – I’ve been dealing with and talking with many people who are hurting right now.   Hurting in many different ways and it has made writing that is public very hard so rather than writing and running the risk ofmaking their pain worse, I’ve chosen to write privately about a lot of it.   If I could ask you, continue to pray for “those who hurt” because there is a lot of hurt that many of us don’t even see.

Adoption Discussions – if you’ve hung around on my blog for any period of time, you know that I’m passionate about adoption.   I’m not passionate that everyone adopts, but I’m passionate that kids are cared for well and that adoptions, when needed, are done well.   I’ve been having a lot of discussions with some good friends and highly experienced professionals about the way to best serve, honor and help those who are impacted by adoption.   So, while those conversations are going on, the public writing is a bit quiet.

The world situation – yes, I’m talking politics.    And yes, I do believe that the political race in the United States is a world situation.   As I’m watching that unfold and reading the things that people are saying and people are doing in response to certain candidates, I’m having a couple of thoughts or reactions:

1. I can’t believe how much pent up anger there is in the United States.    It’s truly astounding and profoundly disturbing.

2. I can’t believe how many people are letting their pent up anger rule over their judgement and reason and beliefs.

3.  This nation was founded on the belief in the principle of separation of church and state.   What they meant (and I do have a degree with a history minor) was that there should not be a state mandated religion.   The President and the government can not declare that the entire country needs to become Mormons (Mitt Romney) or Catholics (JFK) or Muslim (Allah) or …….  It does not mean that the church should have nothing to do with matters of state and should have nothing to do with the government.   On the contrary, the church needs to be very much in this world and very active in promoting Jesus and his world view in the government and in the political stage.   I don’t believe the church has done even a decent job of this.

So, I’ve been quiet, sort of.   But there’s a lot going on and I believe, I firmly believe that we are obligated to do more than standby quietly and say, “I voted, there’s nothing more I can do.” 

That’s not enough.

I’m going to end with a piece that my nephew posted about a teenager he knows from the organization he works for in Chicago.   He posted it originally on Facebook and doesn’t know that Uncle Tom is reposting it here, but I”m sure he won’t mind……

Heartbroken to hear of this all too common tragedy that is hitting a little to close to home at Roseland Christian Ministries, where I have had the honor of attending and working the last few summers . Dre a youth who hung around the Church had a life full of ambition saying football would  “get him out of this city, ” yet sadly he will never get to see these dreams through. Lamenting the reality that under resourced  communities like Roseland  are no accident and the systemic oppression that enhibits a posture of hopelessness within many members of the community. Lamenting a culture that often lacks the ability to resolve conflict outside of violence and the devalue of human life that comes as a result of this. I Pray that Dre’s death would not be looked on as another statistic , but that he would be remembered as a joyful and ambitious young man. Furthermore I pray that Dre’s death would propel us to take action against the systemic opression, attitude of hopelessness and gun violence that plague our city.

TJV