Righting the ship…

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I think it’s time for me to reestablish why I blog in the first place.

I first started blogging when I was in seminary. Blogging was new and exciting and I loved it! I never really blogged for anyone in particular; I was really just trying to flesh out the things I was learning in my classes, and blogging seemed the perfect outlet for that. At the time, the blogosphere was not as congested as it is today; there wasn’t this competition of sorts for clicks and followers. It was just a simple way to connect my thoughts with my words, and have a record of it for all later times.

Blogging is now an industry in and of itself. Competition is fierce, even in the Christian sphere, and it’s so frustrating to me. I’m not expecting to offer anything new and amazing; I just seek to witness to the things the Lord has taught me, to help myself remember His goodness, and hopefully, help you remember as well.

But why do I write? Much of what I’ve written lately has been about what’s going on with American politics and culture. I am a new junkie; I’m also highly opinionated. Those two things are not always a good combination. Social media has trained us that we have the right to voice our opinion on anything at anytime to anyone in any way we see fit. What you say in public is fair game, right? I suppose. But we seem to have lost our ability to be civil in the process.

Which brings me to the point of this post. It’s time to right the ship here. When I reworked my blog, my original intent was not to become a political commentary page. As much as I love a good debate, that is not my desire. My desire is to uplift and encourage.

And, to state the obvious (I hope), I am a Christian. I happen to believe Christianity is true and that there are good reasons to believe. Unfortunately, we Christians have not been living that out well lately, and history is littered with examples of ways in which we’ve slapped a Christian sticker on things that aren’t even remotely so. But that doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t wish to add to the pile of grievances that could be used to obscure that truth. I want to be a witness to it, not the focus of attention.

So this post is a manifesto of sorts, a recallibration, and a reminder of why I started to write in the first place.

I am a woman who loves Jesus, loves to sing about Him, and tell others about His Word. I have opinions. Lots of them. Ask anyone who knows me well. But my task is not to share them with everyone. There are other more qualified people whose opinions and recommendations are far superior and more valuable than mine. So I wish to defer to that gifting in them and get out of the way.

But my gifting is much simpler. Love, pray, sing, teach.

Love Jesus – Because He loves me first and best. The desire is to shift my heart and focus on His love for me and making that the fuel the drives my passion and work. Prayer and Bible study; solitude and silence; praise and worship. And this love is not complete until it works its way through me to others in my life. It cannot end with me. It’s not about just more information per se, but more connection. Connecting what I know to what I do.

Pray – This is the backbone of relationship with God. It is not talking to the air; it is a living, breathing relationship with a real God and the true God. That He has so condescended to give us such privilege is amazing. How often we take it for granted and don’t talk to Him regularly. How can we expect that relationship to grow? It can’t, simply put. We cut ourselves off from the supply of love, comfort, support, and strength that He wants to provide for us when we neglect to pray.

Sing – This is my heart. There is no other way to explain it or define it. Singing is my heart language with Jesus. I speak to Him most intimately there – He speaks to me most tenderly in those moments. Healing happens. Peace is restored. It is when I feel the most alive.

Teach – For me, the learning circle is not complete until I share what I’ve learned. That’s how God wired me. This is not exclusive to spiritual things. But teaching about spiritual things is my favorite subject. I seemed to have forgotten that along the way…It’s time to return.

More later…grace and peace…

 

LA92: A must-see documentary…

I don’t know if it was the wisest thing to watch given my mood on Friday, but last night I watched National Geographic’s documentary on the LA riots of 1992. It’s hard to believe that it has been 25 years, most painfully because we are in a place where I believe it would not take much for us to return to see this happen yet again.

The most striking part of the documentary was the juxtaposition of the riots of 1992 to the Watts Riots of 1965. Both were sparked by clashes between LAPD and the Black community, issues with police brutality, and the city’s tone-deaf response to these issues. What made the Rodney King incident different was that his March 1991 beating at the hands of four white police officers was recorded. The four officers were actually charged for the incident, but were later acquitted of all charges. Their acquittal on April 29, 1992 was the spark that lit the match of unrest and anger.

Another thing the documentary brought out was the compounding of frustrations that made the verdicts even more painful. In the same month that King was beaten by the officers, a Korean convenience store owner shot and killed a 15-year-old girl named Latasha Harlins as she walked out of the store after a dispute over orange juice. This also was videotaped. Harlins can be seen walking to the counter with orange juice and money in hand. An argument ensued, with the store owner, Soon Ja Du grabbing for Harlins’ backpack. Du believed Harlins was trying to steal the orange juice, despite the presence of money in the girl’s hands. The two argued, and Harlins turned around to leave the store, money in hand and without orange juice. Du threw a stool at her and then grabbed her gun and shot Harlins in the back of the head.

Du was found guilty of manslaughter, but received a sentence of 5 years probation and 400 hours of community service for the crime. In her ruling, judge Joyce Karlin cited her belief that Du was unlikely to be a repeat offender as part of her reasoning for the sentence, saying that it was not at time for “revenge but for healing”. This was not sufficient for the Harlins family or the community and was seen as an appalling act of injustice and devaluing of the life of a Black teenager.

In essence, this verdict reinforced their belief that Black life meant nothing to the criminal justice system, therefore was deemed not worth defending. While revenge was not on the minds of most, justice most certainly was; and probation for the senseless death of a teenager did not feel like justice. As one person who was interviewed stated: “It is not racism that a Korean woman shot Latasha; it is racism that the justice system let her get away with it.” Tensions were high in the community as a result, and this is the atmosphere into which the King verdict was released. Like open flame to natural gas, it exploded on that fateful day.

Watching the documentary was hard. There was no commentary; it consisted completely of original footage from that time. In piecing together the story from the perspective of the police, the courts, city officials, state and federal government, and the news media, the producers excelled in portraying the build up of tension that led to the violent outbreak. The actions of news outlets seeking to bring the reality into the homes of Americans made what some would call crazy decisions as they covered the story, risking their lives to record the drama unfolding. One of the most dramatic scenes for me was a shootout in Koreatown, as Korean business owners armed themselves to protect their businesses from looters. With shots being fired all around them, you can hear the newscaster shout “Someone has been shot in that car? I think we need to get out of here.”  The footage is raw and graphic, the anger and frustration and pain palpable. The senselessness of it all clear and poignant.

Rioting is a phenomenon I will never fully understand. I cannot condone it, but I can see and feel the pain and frustration that brings it to life. The feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. When you have nothing to lose, you can come to a point where you cease to care. When you have turned to the one place where you think you can find relief, and it lets you down, you feel as if you have nothing left to do. The anger and fury demand an outlet, and violence becomes the only option that seems available. It will get the attention of those who have refused to listen, those who have shown indifference to your pain, those who have even derided and demeaned you for those things that are out of your control.

But the rioting only causes those who were innocent to suffer, to lose. It brings attention, but not necessarily the kind that will bring lasting, tangible, real results that will make things better. And in the end, all lose, as the community where people must now live is left in disarray and devastation. Even more devastating than the loss of property and livelihood is the loss of life, and the reality that law enforcement now has tangible justification for heavy-handed tactics to tamp down crime, . And the vicious cycle continues on…

In the aftermath of the riots, over 1,000 structures were damaged or destroyed by looting and/or fire. Whole city blocks were reduced to smoldering rubble. South LA and Koreatown were the hardest hit, but fires were also set in areas like Hollywood. More than 60 people died during the riots, most of them Black and Latino. More than 2,000 people were injured. The cost of the damage has been estimated at over $1 billion.

The LA Riots of 1992 lasted for five days.

In many ways, I don’t believe we have gotten over the LA Riots. As I watched the documentary, I felt a tremble in my soul, as if to say, this can and will happen again. Comparing the Watts Riots of ’65 with the LA Riots of ’92, the same spark started the flame, the same frustrations mounted and were ignited with a single “final straw incident”, and the outcome was the same. People died and property was destroyed. Community leaders came together in the aftermath to clean up and call for peace and unity. City officials made promises to do better and address legitimate issues. But as time wore on and the memory faded, status quo returned, frustrations began to mount anew, as one incident piled on top of another with no resolution in sight until critical mass was reached. And we sit in this place now, walking ever closer to the edge of a large precipice that will plunge us into chaos yet again.

In his address to the nation, then President George H.W. Bush appealed to the rule of law, stating that we must allow the system to do its “slow work of justice”, even when we disagree with it. He denounced the rioting without acknowledging the underlying injustices that lead to such frustration and rage. We have waited for the “slow work of justice” – but in this case, it was the justice system that failed the people. It was the justice system that failed Latasha Harlins’ family. It was the justice system that the people did not trust. And it is the justice system that we still cannot trust. How then, shall we wait for it to “work”?

Tears streamed down my face as I watched last night. As if to add insult to injury, I watched a second time, and wept even louder. I am not a prophet, but I cannot shake the feeling that this will happen again. And who knows how it will turn out this time given who we have in the White House and at the helm of our Justice Department.

So much more to be said, but no time right now. More to come…

Grace and peace…

What am I forgetting…

During my second year in seminary, I participated in a trip called a “Sankofa journey”. The word “Sankofa” is a word from the Kwi language of Ghana and translates to “go back and get it”. There is a proverb that uses this word that says, “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten” (Wikipedia).

In the spirit of this proverb, a Sankofa journey is a walk through history, a discovery or rediscovery of a forgotten past. For us, that meant traveling to important places in the story of the Civil Rights Movement. We started at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, site of the Civil Rights Museum, and the place where Martin Luther King was murdered. We then traveled to Birmingham and worshiped at the 16th Street Baptist Church, where four little girls were murdered in a bombing; we walked through the park where attack dogs and fire hoses were unleashed on young people marching for the right to cross the street into the all-White business district. We spoke to one of the women who marched that day, and learned why Birmingham’s nickname was “Bombingham”. From there we traveled to Selma and then to Georgia before journeying back home.

For me, the most profound moment of our trip was when we walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. The bridge is a huge arch, and as we made it to the top of the arch and looked down, I could imagine in my mind’s eye the imposing line of police officers mounted on their horses, billy clubs in hand, defying the marchers to continue their trek to Montgomery. They were marching for the right to vote, and the officers were tasked with stopping them. In one breathless moment, they stood, protesters and law enforcement, face to face. No words were spoken in that moment. And then it happened. John Lewis was one of the marchers in the front of the crowd, and as they took their first steps over the county line, the officers charged forward, pursuing the marchers back over the bridge, beating and tear gassing them.

None of these marchers were armed. They were not violent. They did not fight back or resist. They simply wanted the rights of full citizens of this country. And they were beaten for it. I cried that day as I walked. I cry now as I write this post.

Many people would say that we need to forget the past. That the reason we can’t move on is because we refuse to forget. I would disagree; I would say it is because we refuse to remember.

The history of my family is the history of slavery; of Reconstruction; of Jim Crow; of lynching; of Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma; and the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. It is not for pity that I remember, but for strength. It is a reminder that what I am today, who I am today is due in large part to the very real suffering, strength, vision, and courage of those who came before me. It would be a dishonor to their sacrifice to forget.

I do not remember to make people feel guilty.

I remember because it encourages me to go forward. It teaches me lessons to take down the road with me. I cannot compartmentalize my life to edit these things out. I’m a “what you see is what you get” kind of girl. I am not ashamed of my heritage; and I am not fearful of my future. This is the life story I have been given by my Father in Heaven. I want to use it for His glory. And to do that, I must be real about it.

On this day, I choose to remember. I choose to go back for what I have forgotten, so I can press on with greater wisdom toward what is ahead.

Because freedom is never free.

Forgetting is not an option…

This weekend I read a very interesting quote from Elie Weisel: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” He made this statement during a Nobel Lecture on December 11, 1986. Weisel, a Holocaust survivor, knew that of which he spoke. How much more poignantly can you define helplessness in face of injustice than the Holocaust? The atrocities of the Third Reich defy comprehension, and all those who were led to their deaths had no power to change their fate.

Weisel did not survive his experience in a Nazi concentration camp to become a bitter man filled with hatred. He went on to receive the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986 for his efforts to advance the cause of human rights around the world. This was his life’s work. And I wonder if, as a young boy, he would have imagined a world in which he would be called to such a duty. The circumstances of his life and his people made it so, and we are enriched by his presence and the message of his life. If we choose to heed the wisdom of his counsel and his experience.

When I read the speech from this this quote originates, I am struck by another interesting statement:

Remembering is a noble and necessary act. The call of memory, the call to memory, reaches us from the very dawn of history. No commandment figures so frequently, so insistently, in the Bible. It is incumbent upon us to remember the good we have received, and the evil we have suffered. New Year’s Day, Rosh Hashana, is also called Yom Hazikaron, the day of memory. On that day, the day of universal judgment, man appeals to God to remember: our salvation depends on it. If God wishes to remember our suffering, all will be well; if He refuses, all will be lost. Thus, the rejection of memory becomes a divine curse, one that would doom us to repeat past disasters, past wars.

We are called to remember. Remembering is hard; it is painful. But it is necessary.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Lenten season. Not all branches of the Christian church observe Lent; I grew up in a tradition that did not. But over the years, as I’ve learned more and more about the liturgical calendar, the more I have been drawn to this season of reflection and repentance. Of remembering. It is a way of focusing the heart on the significance of the cross.

Remember that you are dust; and to dust you shall return.

These are the words uttered as the ashes are placed on your forehead in the shape of a cross. It is a reminder of need. The need for salvation, for restoration, for healing. It is a confirmation that the Christian faith is about remembering; just as the Israelites who were called to remember their deliverance from bondage to Egypt, we are called to remember our deliverance from bondage to sin. And in our remembrance, we live a life of faithfulness to God our Deliverer.

We cannot do that if we don’t remember. Not to wallow in our sin and misery, but to build courage and resolve to live our future differently than our past through the power of the Holy Spirit. To live toward the promise we’ve been given through the deliverance we’ve received.

We also must remember that sin still lives in the hearts of men and women. And that our world is fallen. Fallen humanity build institutions and structures that then perpetuate that fallenness. This can produce horrible consequences, some so far reaching that they live on for generations. If we do not take the time to remember, and to face those realities with the courage and willingness to change them, we are doomed to repeat them; the cycle will not end.

We are living in a time when much of what has been a part of our history as a country is repeating itself. I firmly believe it is because we choose not to remember. We don’t want to remember because it is not pleasant; it doesn’t fit into our identity of an “exceptional nation”. It is jarring to our sense of self as Americans. I get it. But in refusing to see our past as it is, good, bad, ugly, we risk destroying what we wish to protect. Choosing to forget means we risk repeating the ugly realities of our past. And in fact, we already are. And lest we think this is something that is only happening “out there”, we as the Church in America must face the uncomfortable truth that we look much like the rest of our culture, and have since our beginnings.

Every year, it is customary to consider something you wish to “give up” for Lent. This year, I choose to give up fear. I choose to give up forgetting. I must remember. And even when I am powerless to change things, I still must speak. I must protest. I don’t know why this is so strong in me; it is burning in my belly. Perhaps it is a outworking of my faith in the God of this universe, who is making all things new. But I cannot separate my individual faith from my place in community. Where one is wounded, we all are wounded, whether we realize it or not.

I realize this is not the popular path. But it is the only path for me.

Because for me, forgetting is most certainly not an option.

Grace and peace…

An impassioned, sincere plea…

I said I was done talking about politics…so…I lied. Not purposefully; I really wanted to be done with this topic. But I have more to say, apparently. So…

This is an appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters. I have a major concern with the way in which the church is so wrapped in the American flag that we have become indistinguishable from the rest of American society, especially when it comes to how we talk about politics and views we oppose.

I am still fighting within myself to decide if my place in all of this is to be active within the political sphere. So much of it drains my spiritual vitality, and I wonder if that is reason enough to retreat. But one thing I do know is this: the enemy has so blinded the hearts and minds of many people that no amount of truth telling will help unless or until the Lord moves miraculously to remove those blinders. And it has to start from within. It has to start with the church.

My appeal here is directly to the church versus to the American culture at large. Our witness is being damaged greatly by our allegiances to political parties. The polarized atmosphere of our country right now is tense and intense. Both sides are deeply entrenched in their version of how things are, convinced wholeheartedly that their way is correct and the other side is too blind or stupid to see it. The way conservatives talk about liberals and liberals talk about conservatives is just plain awful and dehumanizing. And what distresses me more than anything is that I see and hear these dehumanizing words being written and spoken by Christians about people who are not Christian, or their Christians brothers and sisters who are on the opposite political side. This should not be.

We are currently in a sermon series about words at my church. Of course, one of the major passages about the tongue, James 3, was the subject of one our sermons. In James 3, the tongue is described as “fire” able to “[set] on fire the entire course of life” (ESV). Hyperbole? I don’t think so. How many ways can we get ourselves in a world of trouble with one word or sentence? A careless comment or ill-advised statement can destroy a relationship in a split second.

So I am going to get a little personal here for a second. I am a Christian. I believe in the Lord Jesus, I depend on Him and Him alone for my salvation. He is my refuge and strength. I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe that He was raised from the dead. God is my Father and Creator, and to Him I owe my whole life.

I’m also a Democrat.

My political affiliation in NO WAY negates my relationship with my Lord. In deciding to be a Democrat, I cannot say that I agree with their entire agenda – I certainly part ways with the official Democratic platform on certain social issues. But I am not alone. In fact, there is a group called “Democrats for Life”, who for the most part agree with the Democratic platform with one glaring exception – guess which one. I resonate with this group. This is my brand of Democrat.

Why do I feel the need to defend myself here? Because when I was a Republican, I looked down on those amoral, evil Democrats. Liberals were idiots and worse, destined for the deepest pits of hell (and no, I’m not being hyperbolic here; I’ve heard these things said, and I’ve, sadly, said them myself). I spewed all sorts of hateful things out of my mouth about Democrats – about people, made in the image of God. And then I went to church and praised the Lord every Sunday.

Can you feel the dissonance with me?

Now I’m on the “other side”, and I see the hurt those words cause. The doors they slam shut. The hope for dialogue and points of possible agreement they quash. And I have to temper myself, because it would be so easy for me to swing to the opposite extreme.

So, for the purposes of this post, I want to appeal to my Christian brothers and sisters. I pray you will hear what I’m trying to say:

I peruse my FB feed and read some of the things that are posted. Conservatives trashing liberals and liberals trashing conservatives. And it all makes me so very sad. When I read them on pages of people I know are Christians, it just plain hurts. It’s like a punch in the gut. It is a blanket dismissal of a person, and their ability to think critically and form informed opinions. Yes, some people blindly follow whatever lead they’ve received from family or social cues; but it is unfair to make that assumption about someone simply because they have an opposing view.

It is not an excuse for either side to say “Well, the other side does it”. That is not how Christians should think or act. And please hear me when I say this: I am not sitting in a place of judgment, because I am guilty. I stand before you to confess my own sin, to fall on the mercy of God and say that I am need of a heart change. I see this out there because it lives in my heart too.

And so I say this: For any posts I have ever posted that have been derisive, personal attacks on conservatives writ large, I apologize, with no qualification.

The most important words in the phrase “Christian brothers  and sisters” are *brothers*, and *sisters*. I am your sister. You are my brother or sister. We are children of God, and as such, siblings in the family of God through Jesus Christ. We don’t have to agree with each other everything; but we are forever linked to each other by our shared profession of faith. We are the light of the world. The church is the light of the world, not a particular country or political party. We are the salt of the earth. Are we shining light? Have we lost our saltiness?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night. Not whether or not America will crumble. It is a certainty that if the Lord tarries, the empire that is America will fall – it is a manmade kingdom and will go the way of all other manmade kingdoms. But the Kingdom of God stands forever. No matter what…

More later…grace and peace…

What am I trying to win?

Today I read the following on Beth Moore’s Facebook page:

bmoore-quote

This hit me for a number of reasons:

I am a news junkie, probably because my first career choice was to be a journalist. And…because I’m nosy. Mostly because I’m nosy; but perhaps that’s why I wanted to be a journalist, so I could get paid to be nosy!

Anyway, I still have that natural impulse, and pay close attention to news media. It is also my natural impulse to share what I’m learning, not just because I am a journalist at heart, but because I am also a teacher at heart. The process of learning is not fully realized for me until I’m able to share what I’ve learned with others. When these two impulses are married with the speed of social media, I find myself inserting my foot in mouth, or “oversharing”, which is my term for sharing the information with my unsolicited opinion blended into the mix. It’s easy to do, and hard to control when you are tweeting or sharing at the speed of light. I find this especially hard to maintain and control on Twitter.

I have moments when I do realize what I’m doing and scale back – and then some new outrage occurs and I’m back to my old habits. “Old habits die hard” is a cliché because it is so annoyingly true!

So these are my current thoughts about this:

I can’t say I will never post another political post again. That is a set-up for failure for sure. But I do want to heed Beth’s warning here and consider the speed and volume of my posts. And by volume I mean, the outrage meter, if you will. There are some pretty yucky things going on right now, but the level of drama and the sheer volume of cyber-ink that is spilled over some of this stuff is a distraction from what’s truly important. If we are outraged by everything, is there a point at which nothing is truly outrageous anymore? Would that make it difficult to spot the real stuff, the truly outrageous stuff that is worthy of our attention and action, if we’re occupied with the busy work of the trivial?

It’s time to scale it all back, slow down and actually take something in long enough to fully understand it so I can discern what the real stuff is…

And, church, the real stuff is that we love our neighbor regardless of what the government does. We look to the government to do the things we ought to be doing. We apply worldly philosophies to the task of caring for the poor and least of these. We take on the identity of our political preferences over against the identity of Christ; and then we baptize our views in Christian language to make them sound “Christian”.

This is not an exclusively liberal or conservative tendency; both side are equally guilty of doing it. Please hear me: I don’t want to get all self-righteous here, because I have no room to be so. I am talking to myself just as much as anyone. I am part of the problem! I value my comfort more than the life and well-being of others who may need my help. From a distance, it is easy to dehumanize the other, to blame the other for their lot in life, without truly knowing how or why they got there. And even if they are to blame for their circumstance, mercy will see them not as a lost cause, but a grand possibility.

Mercy is what has kept me; mercy is why I am still here. Mercy is the reason any of us have what we have. And mercy, by its very definition is something that is not deserved. I am called to be merciful, even as my Heavenly Father is merciful…how am I doing in this area? I shudder to think of the answer to that question…

But I’m digressing again…I always digress…ugh! Back to what I was saying…

Scaling back for me is taking a break. Taking a sabbatical of sorts from all this news media chaos that happens on social media. I do not wish to “win the internet”. I want to follow Christ. Period. How I best do that will not be discovered in my FB or Twitter newsfeeds, but in the Word of God. And my ability to act in a Christlike way will not be determined by how fast I can post something, or how well I can articulate my opinion that no one really asked for. It will happen slowly, quietly, as I meditate on God’s Word and seek to obey it in every area of my life.

To be quite frank with you, I am just worn out at this point. It’s only been a month people – we have three years and 11 months more to go! I can only speak for myself, but I think now is a good time for me to be slow to speak and quick to listen. So, this will be my last post about politics, at least for a while. I need to get back to the source of our wholeness, namely Jesus Christ. I must reorient my heart, my life, and my focus on Him. All the other stuff will be clearer when I do that…

More later…grace and peace…

Silence is golden…and sometimes necessary

So, after that long, drawn out diatribe about politics, I have gone silent again. It’s a necessity right now.

This past Sunday, we started a new sermon series called “Words”. To say that it was convicting is an understatement. The opening statement was “Your talk is never cheap; your words have weight”. Well, OUCH! And then there was this zinger:

Speaking redemptively is all about choosing wise words. And that means not merely choosing what to say but what not to say. Sometimes it’s better knowing when NOT to talk than knowing what to say.

Ugh…

So this is where my thoughts are right now. There is a time to speak. And then there is a time to be silent. And I also believe that the medium matters based on the message you’re attempting to send. Not every medium fits every message. There is a genuine struggle that goes on when I stare down a story on WaPo or WSJ and try to decide whether it is wise to share or to keep to myself. I search my motives to see if they are “pure” in the sense of seeking to shed light or simply seeking to create heat (read: drama). Many times the shedding of light has the unintended consequence of creating the heat – but is that reason enough not to share it? I think an argument could be made either way, but how much is too much, and when is it not enough? The area is grey, nebulous, and slightly unnerving.

The beauty and tragedy of social media is that it provides up to the minute information on important things happening in the world. A natural disaster hits, or a horrible event occurs and you are immediately connected to the scene. If you have loved ones there, they have a way to tell you they are safe. All fabulous things, and wonderful blessings. But the immediacy of this information also is fraught with pitfalls and snares, most importantly that information is sometimes not properly analyzed to determine its truthfulness. It takes mere seconds for something crazy false to spread like wildfire; but often, the correction is either never distributed or ignored because we’re on to the next thing.

So what do you do, especially when you’re a news junkie (confession is good for the soul)?

Slow. Down.

Oh yeah – and be quiet…

I’m talking to myself right now. I am quick to hit the “Share” or “Retweet” button after reading something that is utterly appalling to me (I’ve been utterly appalled a lot lately) without thinking through the consequences of posting, or even the accuracy of what I’ve read. I try to keep my sources within a strict window of established news organizations with varying political leanings. But everyone has a bias, and we all lean toward that which validates our own view of things. I lament that we cannot hear the other side without immediately going into all-out war mode at the slightest whiff of disagreement.

So, here I sit…wading through story after story that upsets, concerns, or enrages me. I see injustice swirling all around. I want to stand on a mountaintop and shout. But what should fill the words that are coming out of my mouth (or in my case, my keyboard clicks). Total silence is not the answer, I know. But wise silence is sometimes warranted. Only in that silence can I weigh my words carefully to be more sure that what I’m writing or saying is truthful, and how, when and where I say it is honoring to God and respectful to those created in His image.

More later…grace and peace…