Waiting on the World to Change

Waiting on the World to Change

Yesterday at work, I was listening to some old music and stumbled upon perhaps my least favorite song in the entire world. No offense to John Mayer, because this is honestly the only song of his I’ve ever heard and detested. His song, Waiting On the World to Change, bothers me for so many reasons, not the least of which is the chord progression. Every time I hear it, I sing, “I’m waiting (waiting!) waiting on the chords to change!” In all seriousness, though, the song is a wake-up call. Maybe that’s John’s point—who knows. He speaks of the lack of action in his generation, not for complacency, but for the feeling that the system is rigged, and there’s no action that can generate change. I get that. I know you get it, too. We’ve all felt that in our personal lives, haven’t we? Maybe you’ve had a medical diagnosis that feels like a death knell. Maybe you’ve lost a job and felt paralyzed by the struggle to find a new means of income. Maybe you desperately long to finish college but cannot afford it and yet somehow you make too much money to be eligible for financial aid. Maybe you have clinical anxiety and each day you fight what feels like a losing battle. There are a million possible maybes, and they are specifically tailored to each of us in our lives. Related: 10-earthlike-planets-found Many times we feel stuck in our circumstances, and the truth is, we just don’t know how to keep going. It hurts; we feel both helpless and alienated. But, it’s not true. Don’t believe it. The...
The Fatherless Church

The Fatherless Church

It’s Father’s Day. For many, this day settles like an elephant—an immovable weight that steals the air from our lungs. The sorrow of having lost a father, whether by his absence or by his death, is the greatest sorrow I’ve known in my own life. And yet, I keep thinking about Christian children in other parts of the world who have lost their fathers to the sword of Islam. Do they share my sorrow? Time and again, I read stories of Christians whose communities and lives have been targeted and attacked by radical Islamic groups. While I think it is normal to be shocked or to grieve in the wake of such circumstances, what we learn is that the Christians left behind mourn, but are not paralyzed by grief. In February 2015, twenty-one Coptic Christian men were beheaded by ISIS-affiliated extremists in Libya. I’m sure you remember the image of those men. Clad in orange jumpsuits, they had been marched along the beach near Tripoli by men in black, forced to their knees, and beheaded. It’s appropriate, I think, for Americans—and Christians, in particular—to think about the families of these men today. They left behind wives, parents, siblings, children, and friends. Their deaths were no small detriment to their communities. Related: the-two-headed-snake-of-islam Last week, I read an excellent piece from Christian Post about where those families are today and how they are faring. I was surprised and encouraged to read the report—that the children of those twenty-one men are proud today of their fathers for choosing their faith in Jesus over their very lives, and the families reportedly, “…have...
Sixteen Years Too Late

Sixteen Years Too Late

Another vigil. How many is that now? I don’t even know. The news out of Manchester last week was devastating. I am always late to write about tragic events like this one because I struggle with processing. I struggle with the intentions and hatred that must exist for acts like this to occur. I struggle to believe that any man or woman is truly so far gone as to desire the mass death of those who oppose them ideologically. I struggle to believe it because I don’t want to believe it. I suppose we have to believe it. It is right before us, and it is not going away, in spite of all our tolerance. Many have remarked that the targeting of young people—of children—seems deliberately cruel. While I agree, I also find that I’m not entirely shocked. And that, friends, scares me. It really scares me. A friend recently asked whether I thought we weren’t being lulled into a sort of complacency. He’s right about it, but sadly—I think it goes farther than this. We aren’t the only ones who are “getting used to” terrorism. On America Now last Tuesday, Buck Sexton spoke with Rob O’Neill, the man who killed Osama bin Laden. Not much of the dialogue surprised me, but I admit I was sickened to hear this: Related: north-korea-threats-mattis-warns-of-clear-and-present-danger If you can imagine, there are five and six year old boys in Raqqa, Syria—in or around—cutting off heads of infidels and apostates, if you will, on video. A six year old boy who does that over and over in twelve years is not going to be a normal...
Change the World

Change the World

It’s no secret my heart has been heavy with the tragic suicides that have plagued my community as of late. They seem, somehow, to be an acute symptom of an incurable disease in our society.  And in my struggle to find the right response, the right words, the right attitude, I’ve realized: It’s not enough to bemoan the world we live in as uncaring. All that really means is that we’ve become people who no longer behave as if we care. This past weekend, as I was thinking of the many lessons I’ve learned from my amazing mother, it occurred to me how different the world would be if we minded those lessons we were taught as children. Wait your turn. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t call names. Don’t talk back. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Don’t blame others for your behavior. Don’t use language you’d be embarrassed for your momma to hear. Don’t wear clothes you’d be embarrassed for your momma to see. Put others before yourself. Be considerate and kind and gentle. Be forgiving – even when forgiveness is not asked of you. Be forgiving – especially when forgiveness is not asked of you. Be confident, not arrogant. Be humble, not a pushover. Be inquisitive, not dismissive. When you don’t know, say “I don’t know.” Don’t assume the worst in someone. Make your bed. Brush your teeth. Put your toys away. Give generously, with a willing heart. Read more books than you watch television. Play outside more than you play video games. Love your brothers— they’re the only ones you have. If you want a friend,...
ON THE DEATH OF MI STATE REP JOHN KIVELA

ON THE DEATH OF MI STATE REP JOHN KIVELA

Yesterday morning I heard the news from our local radio station: State Representative John Kivela had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol— again. After his DUI in 2015, Kivela sought treatment, making the news even more heartbreaking. Later in the evening, the local news reported that a State Representative had been found dead in his Lansing home and though we all knew, it was confirmed shorty thereafter: Kivela had taken his own life. RELATED: SCHOOL-DAZE–TEACHER-CAUGHT-NAPPING–WHILE-STUDENTS-BRAWL Ours is a growing but close community. Kivela was not a politician we knew simply by name or by television snippets; he was a man many of us knew personally. He was a man most of us respected and admired for his commitment to serving—even if we disagreed on a political matter. This is not merely a loss we shake our heads at and say, “Wow, that’s too bad.” This is personal. RELATED: 5-REASONS-ID-LIKE-TO-BE-MY-DOG-FOR-A-DAY I shared with you recently my frustrations with our Shaming Culture and how it robs anyone of the safety of ever making a mistake. I thought of it again last night as I prayed for John’s family. His daughter shared a beautiful piecehonoring her father and acknowledging the real battle he faced with alcohol. “My dads [SIC] drunk driving arrest wasn’t because he couldn’t afford a taxi or Uber, it was because he was trying so hard to be a husband, father & state representative and juggle his disease somewhere he could hide from the people–unfortunately in a very unsafe place, his commute.” But that’s just it, isn’t it? He hid. Why is it that when we struggle, we...
Favorite Prey: The Coptic Church

Favorite Prey: The Coptic Church

Reuters reported this morning that the leader of ISIS in Egypt has warned Muslims “to stay away from Christian gatherings.” The hot news in the States this morning, however, is not about the persecution of the Coptic Church, but about healthcare.  Americans seem to have not yet figured out that when we allow the government to mandate and impose obligations upon us regarding our health care, it’s not going to work. It’s going to screw some folks over. So the biggest news, of course, is the voice of those distressed over the current health care debacle. I speak only for myself: My social media walls are overrun with the matter. Nobody’s talking about the Coptic Christians. During Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt, he urged the Copts (and presumably all of us) to practice the fanaticism of charity: “True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane…it makes us see the other not as an enemy to be overcome but a brother or sister to be loved, served and helped.” But the Copts are already there, aren’t they? Some would have us believe otherwise.  In a recent piece by Robert Fisk, we learn that foreign media, the West and the arms trade, the Sisi Regime (assumed somehow to be in league with the Copts, even though the Copts don’t appear to be reaping any benefit from such a connection if there is one), and even the Copts themselves seem to own part of the blame for Islamic terrorists targeting the Coptic Church. Interestingly enough, there’s one group Fisk never names in terms of culpability for attacks...