Sunday, August 31, 2014

Porn Stars, Pastor's Wives and Gay Football Players

Currently there is a video floating around the internet of Victoria Osteen, the wife of mega-church pastor Joel Osteen, making some comments at a church service that is drawing a lot of controversy.

This got me wondering a bit about the role of social media in relation to Christianity.  One of the negative aspects of media is it has created an environment in which we are dealing with "stories" rather than people.  So when we come out and attack the video of Victoria Osteen we forget that somewhere out there is a woman named Victoria Osteen who has the ability to see the terrible things people who don't even know her are saying about her.  When we lash out about a gay football player going to hell we might not think about the fact that somewhere out there is a football player who can see and hear all the negative at best and downright hateful at worst, things people are saying about him.  When a group like the XXXChurch posts a video of a porn actress talking about her kind and positive interaction with XXXChurch, people who feel compelled to be critical might say things and forget that somewhere out there is a young lady who can see the terrible things being said about her.

You see social media has allowed us the luxury of sitting behind our computer screens and lob verbal grenades while not having to be there to look into the eyes of the receiver.  Prior to social media when someone took issue with another person, it was much harder to reach them. In order to "call out" what you felt was wrong it required a lot more of a relationship with that person.  But not anymore, no now we have the ability to reach out and hammer people we have never met, and probably will never meet, therefore leveling attacks at people of whom we have the least possible amount of information.

Now many Christians might say it is part of our "calling" to "rebuke" sin when we see it, and therefore justify these remarks.  Except I'm pretty sure Christians are supposed to "lovingly rebuke."  How can I possibly "lovingly rebuke" someone where there is not a loving relationship established?  How can they possibly know that I love them when I don't even know them?  Do we really feel love in our hearts when we post such things?   It's one thing to call out a friend with whom you've spent time building a friendship, someone who knows you actually care about them, but to call out a complete stranger?  That's a little different.  Why can't we place enough trust in God that He has placed people in the lives of those we disagree with to address an issue on a personal level?  Maybe the most loving thing we can sometimes do is stop forwarding the controversy, and simply shut our mouths.  

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Worst Thing I've Ever Seen...

Yesterday I was having a pretty good day.....and then I saw a news story that it was the 70th Anniversary of Ann Frank's final diary entry.  A couple weeks later she would be dead, the victim of the worst attributes of humanity.  As a father I began thinking about how awful it would have been trying to keep your family safe as prisoners confined to an attic simply because other people wanted to kill you and your kids.  That's it...no other reason....just want to kill your family.

Then....it happened.....I saw the worst image of my life.....one that will be forever imprinted in my mind.  It was of a young girl, probably about 9 or 10 years old.  She was beautiful, dressed in a little lacy blue dress and white leggings.  The kind of little dress you can imagine this adorable little child probably standing in front of a mirror and admiring as she giggled.  All that was missing was one thing......her head.  That's right you read that correctly....her head was missing.  This little girl lived in Northern Iraq and was beheaded by ISIS terrorists.  One picture contained a man, who I can only assume was her father, holding the headless body of his little girl.  Why?  Just because.  These bastards are taking children and making their final moments on this Earth as terrifying as possible and cutting their heads off before sticking them on stakes around the town parks.  I am literally trembling with hatred as I'm writing this.  If there was ever anything to go to war for, its not oil, its not land, it would be to stop the torturing of children by a bunch of cowards.

I want to find the guy who did this and torture him....I really do....but then I got to wondering, how is it possible that anybody could become such a monster?  What circumstances take place in someone's life that allow them to go from being a child, not much different than this little girl, to becoming so depraved as to commit these kinds of atrocities?  That's when it got uncomfortable.....

Is it possible that had I been born into the same family as this terrorist scum that perhaps I might have been the one to mutilate this little angel?  Is it possible that the monster that harmed this little girl also lives in me and it was a simple roll of the dice as to where I was born and where he was born that kept that beast dormant in my life but awakened it in his?

My heart breaks that this isn't an isolated incident but that crap like this happens all over the world on a regular basis and has done so for thousands of years.  Countless children, innocent children like my young son, who likes to sleep with a night light because he is scared of the make believe monster in his closet, have the very real terror that there are men, evil men, out there that wants to come and kill them.  Men, who might be just like me had they been raised the same way and who I might be just like them should I had been raised in their situation.

And so my first step is to remember that same beast lies within me....and I must never let it even get a glimpse of daylight!  I will suffocate that hateful monster by trying to be the most loving person I can possibly be.  I'm going to be better at being kind to those around me, to strangers and friends alike.  I'm going to stop to help people more, I'm going to give that little wave when I switch lanes on the freeway.  When someone makes me angry I'm going to ask myself how bad the transgression really was?  How does it compare to what was done to that poor father holding his dead baby, and maybe with that clarity it will be easier to forgive the minor things that happen to me.  And should I ever come face to face with this kind of person, I will fight them, I will fight with every ounce of my body to protect what they want to destroy.


I must prepare to fight two battles.  I must prepare myself to go to war against the evil in the world and be willing to take action when I see it, to the point of death, while at the same time going to war against the evil in me and daily slay the monster within.  I must learn to love more and harder and stronger than these guys hate.......which will be quite the challenge......because they hate a lot.

In the mean time, God bless you sweet child, God bless you and every one like you....may we daily live our lives to rid the world of the evil that took you.