You said to love
All I see is hate
Emotions swirling ‘round
On this sacred date
What must You think
When I choose to hate
When I turn from You
To pursue my fate
When I choose to hurt
Instead of heal
When I choose the fake
Instead of the real
When I choose to look
At myself instead
When I starve my Lord
To make sure I’m fed
I look beyond
To the crimson cross
And Your eyes still shine
With love spread across
On that cross so hard
In Your eyes the love
Yet I prefer the eagle
And pervert the dove
You said to love
All I see is hate
Lord give me your heart
On this sacred date
Copyright 2010 by Boyd Allen
Forty-seven years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most famous speeches in American history. I am ashamed to admit that--until tonight--I had never watched the speech in its entirety.
If you're like me and you've never seen it, or if you've watched it many times...take a few minutes and allow the words of an American prophet to move you.
Word, Dr. King. Word.
So...since no one else will be blogging about this subject, I thought I'd step up and fill the gap.*
As I reflect on the passage of the historic healthcare reform bill, I wonder how America's Christians are reacting. Some thoughts...
To my brothers and sisters on the Left who are rejoicing at the passage of the healthcare reform bill, a gentle reminder: This bill does nothing to eliminate Christ's mandate for us to personally care for the poor. If history is any judge, the government will struggle to oversee the massive task they've just voted to put on their own plate. Bureaucracy, inefficiency, and corruption may well swallow up their good intentions. We Christians must stand in the gap that's left.
To my brothers and sisters on the Right who are lamenting the passage of this bill, may I gently suggest the possibility that we (I) have failed to live out Christ's directive to care for those less fortunate than us? Perhaps if we as the Church cared for the poor, marginalized, needy folks in the world as our founder did...then maybe, just maybe...Congress wouldn't have had to step up and do what we were capable of, but refused to do.
I recently read Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution (which I highly recommend) and I thought this excerpt was striking (and applicable to those on both ends of the political spectrum).
It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don't feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes. We can volunteer in a social program or distribute excess food and clothing through organizations and never have to open up our homes, our beds, our dinner tables. When we get to heaven, we will be separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 based on how we cared for the least among us. I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me," or, "When I was naked, you donated clothes to the Salvation Army and they clothed me." Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity. He seeks concrete acts of love: "you fed me...you visited me in prison...you welcomed me into your home...you clothed me."
My life has seldom lived up to Christ's words. May God have mercy on me and grant me strength to do better.
*That was sarcasm, just in case you didn't catch it.
I just read this article from NPR. Apparently, the U.S. Postal service is all but canceling the "Operation Santa" program that allows volunteers to reply to children's letters to Santa. Evidently there was a sex offender volunteering for the program. A few thoughts regarding this turn of events:
1. Growing up, my parents did not teach me about Santa. I do not feel any lasting ill effects from this (apparently) gross omission from my childhood, and I have no intention of teaching my own 10-month-old son about Santa. The way I see it, there's plenty of awesomeness surrounding the holidays (family, traditions, etc.) without introducing a fictional character to spice things up. (Before you all post angry comments: yes, I am aware that Saint Nicolas is a historical figure; he bears little resemblance to the pot-bellied apparition that we've created.)
2. The previous point notwithstanding, I have no problem whatsoever with those who choose to do the Santa thing. I don't think it's sacrilegious, silly, irresponsible, or any other negative adjective. You like Santa; good for you. I'm all for whatever makes the holidays happy for you and yours. Merry Christmas.
3. The real reason though that I'm writing about this whole turn of events, is this: I think we Americans overprotect their children. Are we really going to nix an entire program that has (presumably) given joy to thousands, maybe millions, of children...because of one lousy sex offender? Now, I'm not suggesting that a known predator should be allowed to continue interacting with children. But maybe we could just deal with the lone perverted perpetrator and let the program be? My point here is that it seems like a slight overeaction, don't you think? To borrow from the article, it seems like an "explosion of the elephant gun in a panicky attempt to dispatch a random ant".
You may disagree with me; that's cool. We're all entitled to our own take on the matter. However, there are some academics (who I happen to agree with) who believe that within the next 15 years (maybe less) there will be a backlash to the current trend of over-protection. Our kids will feel so smothered, so stifled, so cut off from experiencing life...that they will eventually rebel (as individuals, and thus collectively as a generation).
Now, I don't think most parents want their kids participating in the next generation's version of the "stick-it-too-the-man" 1960's (complete with anarchy, sex, drugs, and rock & roll). I know that's not the future that I've envsioned for my son.
So, maybe a little perspective is in order. Let's keep the elephant gun holstered, huh? What'd ya say?
P.S. If you're the geeky type (like me) who enjoys learning about sociology, patterns, and why things happen they way they happen, then check out this book, it's changed the way I look at society and history.
The random thoughts of a passionate moderate who is incurably addicted to music, practical philosophy, and learning new things.