Getting Smart

In the previous post, we talked about how it is important to push back against confusion and misunderstanding. We talked about how it’s important to push back against those because if we can clear up confusion and misunderstanding, it’s easier to push back against evil.

Why? Because evil likes to create confusion.

Evil likes to use misunderstanding to hide from the light of day.

Now I want to make it more personal. I don’t want to talk about government policies that are confusing. I don’t want to talk about how the motives behind what so and so does are being misunderstood.

I want to talk about you. I want to talk about me.

I can’t speak for you, maybe you do. I don’t.

Don’t what? I don’t know everything.

Not even close. Actually, so far from close that it’s funny to even think about.

But I know that if I get smarter, I can make more of a difference. If I ask questions, I can learn more. If I read about things, I can learn what is going on.

Most people are more afraid of what they don’t know about than what they do. If they don’t understand what is happening or why, that can create fear. It can create contempt.

I don’t understand your music – so it must be bad music.

I don’t understand your language – so you must be talking nasty about something or someone.

I don’t understand your religion so I don’t like you.

I don’t…….

The list can go on and on and on.

But if I do understand, then I can see you for you, not for what I didn’t understand.

If I do understand, then I can see the reason behind behaviors and not be afraid of the behaviors as evil or hostile.

If I understand your history, then I can appreciate your cultural festivals and respect them and you better.

If I understand the reason behind events in history, then I can see them for the impact they have on you and on me.

Most people are afraid of things that they don’t understand.

Many people will, when they understand things or people or traditions or habits or whatever, respond in a way that furthers communication and relationships.

And that makes the world a better place.

Tom

Tom

Who Gets The Last Word? Not Mark Zuckerberg

“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce…. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever……..
He gets the last word; yes, he does.”
1 Peter 5:8-11 MSG
http://bible.com/97/1pe.5.8-11.msg

You’re not the only ones.

You

Are

NOT

The Only Ones

That is so hard to remember. And so hard to live out. We’ve got our problems and we feel bad for ourselves and we think we’re the only ones.

And social media plays a big part of that. A big part of the blame for us feeling like we are the only ones is because of Mark Zuckerberg. Oh he didn’t invent it. People were trying to keep up with their neighbor’s perfect lives long before Mom and Dad Zuckerberg even thought about having Mark and way before Mark created this thing called Facebook.

He made it worse.

And so do we. What?

Yeah, that’s right. When we only post the pictures and stories of when our kids performed in a concert or when we went on a cruise or when something goes well, we perpetuate the myth.

Actually two myths. The myth that my life is grand and my kids are grand and everything is going very well.

And the myth that if your life is not going very well, then you must be all alone – because everyone else is doing well.

Actually, there’s a third one that Peter references in the Bible verse above – and that’s the myth that if you believe in Jesus, if you are a Christian, then everything will go easy and life will be grand.

I’m here to tell you, that’s not true.

Just like Peter said, you are not the only one plunged into hard times. I personally believe that the church would be a whole lot healthier if more of us admitted that all is not well, that there are struggles and that life isn’t easy.

As you read more and travel this journey with me, you’ll see that’s not the way I operate. I’m not going to tell you that:
• All of my kids are valedictorians (though one was)
• That I’m hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year (Hah!)
• That……..

Nope, not going to tell you that things are wonderfully marvelous when they aren’t. Instead, I’m going to tell you:
• That quite often kids who have to go through the trauma of adoption are left with scars.
• That I had a medical procedure done in January as part of ongoing treatment of a blood vessel issue I have (Google AVM if you want to know more) and as part of that procedure, 1) My left inner ear was damaged causing all kinds of hearing and balance issues and 2) My left vocal cord is now paralyzed – causing, well, you guessed it, vocal issues.

I’m sure I’ll tell you more as time goes on – but for now I want to end with one additional thought – and it’s pretty much the foundation of what Peter said above and the life of Christ.

“The suffering won’t last forever. And He gets the last word.”

Think about that. The last word doesn’t show up on Facebook or by the number of likes something gets.

The last word comes from God.

He’s got this.

He’s got us.

And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

TJV


Let me make sure I understand this correctly……

The U.S. Government has decided that they want to use children as a “supposed” deterrent to people who are seeking asylum or looking to enter the U.S. without the proper documentation. They want to use children as a pawn in a chess match?
Yes, that’s what Attorney General Jeff Sessions flat out said – if you come to the United States without proper paperwork, we will take your children from you.

So the US government has fallen so low as to take children hostage?

Have we learned nothing from past history? Apparently not.

Does our government know anything about trauma and its long term effects on this children? 

I shudder at the thought of being 10 to 17 years old and spending 21 hours a day locked in a remodeled Walmart with thousands of other kids my age. The psychological devastation – not only from that but from not knowing where my parents were and what was going to happen to me or to them?

It is truly criminal. 

The United Nations has it right – this policy brings us down to the realm of the human rights abusing countries.

We’ve gone to war to protect human rights before. Now we’re the ones violating them.

Why? You tell me – why does this administration want to stop the flow of immigrants from the south and why are they using such desperate tactics?
I’ll give you two hints:
• You don’t see this happening on our northern border. Does anyone know what percentage of the people who are currently in Canada are white or Caucasian? I don’t know the exact number, but it’s pretty high.
• Does anyone know the percentage of the people who are currently in Mexico who are white or Caucasian? Okay, now take the ones at the resorts out and you end up with a really small number.

What color are almost all if not all of the children who are in these “immigration centers?” That’s right, they aren’t white like me.
Our immigration system is horribly broken. 

But just because it’s broken does not give the current administration the right to enact draconian or Hitlerian (is that even a word) policies that cause lifelong damage to these children.

I thought we were better than that.
We should be better than that.

Don’t sit back quietly and say, “isn’t that a shame…..”

Do something – write your congressman, write your senators, call the local newspaper.
Imagine if it were your children locked in that Walmart building.

What would you want someone who reads about this to do?
TJV

The children, a mix of those who crossed into the U.S. unaccompanied and those who were separated from their parents under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new zero-tolerance policy, spend 22 hours per day during the week (21 hours on weekends) locked inside a converted former Walmart, packing five into rooms built for four.


Dr. Juan Sanchez, the president of the nonprofit that operates the facility, South West Key, warned that the temporary locations might not have to be licensed or staffed by trained child welfare professionals if they are established on federal land, which the Trump administration has been considering.

Casa Padre is the same facility Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., was turned away from this month after arriving unannounced and seeking entry to inspect conditions. In the reception area, a note to staffers tells them to “Immediately notify PD,” or the police department, if media representatives approach.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/surge-children-separated-border-floods-facility-undocumented-immigrants-n883001

Everyone Has A Story | Brené Brown

Everyone has a story or a struggle that will break your heart. And, if we’re really paying attention, most people have a story that will bring us to our knees.

You would think the universal nature of struggle would make it easier for all of us to ask for help, but in a culture of scarcity and perfectionism, there can still be so much shame around reaching out, especially if we’re not raised to understand the irreducible nature of human need.

Source: Everyone Has A Story | Brené Brown

If you have never read anything that Brene Brown has written, you should.   She speaks eloquently to the human condition and helps so many people understand what is going on in their lives and in the world.

We are all better off because of what she writes and what she speaks about.

She wrote the article that I linked to up above in light of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain’s suicides this past week.   Two people who appeared to have it all together but were struggling deeply.

Everybody has a story and everybody has a struggle.

Read what she wrote.

Starting tomorrow, I’m going to be telling my story, how God has brought me to this place and talking about things that matter to me.   I hope you’ll join me for that story.

Thanks,

 

Tom