Tag Archives: media

Stop, In the Name of Love

A post is circulating on social media with the caption “Why isn’t this going viral?” It’s about a Chick-fil-a restaurant in Orlando which, despite being closed on Sunday cooked up and brought sandwiches and food to people waiting in line to donate blood following the Pulse shooting. The story is awesome, but the post is abhorrent.

It originates with a website that lands on the conspiracy end of the far-right spectrum. They think the media is out to get conservatives – Christians for sure – by always profiling the ugliest warts of the church but the most lovely Instagrammed images everyone on the political left. There is some research about media bias, but the problem really isn’t as bad as most people like to think. Being a martyr is fun!

The post is disgusting because this act of kindness is the very least that the Christian community should be doing in an event like this. And we should do it without fanfare, with faces hidden and our hearts crying out to God for grace and comfort for these hurting people. Who cares if the news pays attention, as long as the people in front of us know we are there to serve them unconditionally. There is nothing heroic about opening on your day off to provide comfort, because our doors, as believers, should be available 24/7 to whoever needs us. Whether we agree with their lifestyle or not. Whether they leave our presence and go straight back to doing whatever we disapprove of, we are to be their resource. We don’t get to have the details about how God is working in their life we are just called to provide our barn for them to sleep in, and a manger for their newborn.  My father always said “You don’t win awards for doing what you’re supposed to,” so no, you don’t get to go viral. We are the least of the least. It’s what we’re called to.

I know there are arguments against enabling self-destructive behaviors and that’s another conversation for another time. It’s the reason the body of Christ exists, so others can come alongside prodigal children or loved ones and bouy them up when family support would simply be destructive. This excuse is not a deal-breaker.

Author Jen Hatmaker made a great point on Facebook today about one problem with the way the church is responding to last weekend’s events. This is not an opportunity for any believer to pretend to be big-hearted. If you haven’t loved the gay community up until now, don’t pretend. Here’s a snip of Jen’s post:

“Can we have an important discussion together? And can we do it in love and respect?

I’ve been listening to my gay friends and leaders the last two days (Listening! It’s so 1991), and this is what I am hearing:

It is very difficult to accept the Christian lament for LGBTQ folks in their deaths when we’ve done such a brutal job of honoring them in their lives. It kind of feels like: “We don’t like you, we don’t support you, we think you are a mess, we don’t agree with you, we don’t welcome you, we don’t approve of you, we don’t listen to you, we don’t affirm you. But please accept our comfort and kind words this week.”

Do those words make you bristle? Then you may need to spend some time talking to God about your heart. About how, in your eager desire to please Him by what you think He wants you to do you have circumvented what He actually commanded.

Read the rest here.

Enough, Christians. Enough about viral news. Enough defense about every.way.we.are.persecuted. (We are not.) If you’ll look up for a moment and stop listening to carnival barkers posing as webmasters you’ll realize that we are in no little of having our religious freedoms circumvented. We still live in America, where we have the right to speak to our representatives and impact our government – using facts.

Hundreds of Muslims gathered to pray for the victims in Orlando yesterday. This mosque in Pennsylvania made a public condemnation of the actions of the shooter, if he indeed is trying to represent some radical Muslim theory. But instead I see my evangelical friends posting links to one video, of one Imam from Iran who was invited to speak at an event in Sanford, FL. He condemns gays and calls for their execution as an ‘act of mercy’. This is who Christians are choosing to give attention to? Then Satan has already won Christian hearts because he has made you afraid, angry, and protective of yourself. How can you possibly love in that condition?

Go without fear. Love with abandon. Serve with joy and live in grace.

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22 Things to Do Rather Than Stage an Armed Takeover

A group of armed men have have taken over a federally owned wildlife refuge in Oregon, protesting the way some local ranchers were treated by the legal system. Effectively, they’re bad parodies of squatters, since you’re supposed to wait until property is abandoned to try and take it for yourself.

While I support our American right and privilege to question our government, the way these people are staging their protest is making them a joke and it’s not going to accomplish their goals. Sure people are hearing about the Hammond case, but the protesters attempt to posture as modern-day knights is undermining any effective message. During American’s founding staging an armed takeover of someone else’s property might have made a statement, now it just makes you look like progress has passed you by.

If you want national attention – and concern – paid to a perceived wrongdoing by all means there are fantastic ways to make that happen. Look at the way Serial and Making of a Murderer have sparked conversation and analysis over long-settled criminal cases.

In 2016 if you want to invoke change then get involved in the legislative, corporate, or creative process. Learn how to talk to the media. Be respectful. We’re not in the Alamo age anymore, and, unless you’re wearing a uniform, you’re not defending America by standing there holding a gun.

Off the top of my head here are a few things one could do besides squatting on someone else’s land with a gun and a month’s worth of venison.

  1. Get a job in the industry you oppose in order to learn the methodology behind current systems.
  2. Volunteer at a homeless shelter.
  3. Write a cogent, spell-checked letter to your current local, state, and national representative. (Remove all run-on sentences)
  4. Run for a local, state, or national representative office.
    1. Think of reasonable, cost-effective, workable, sustainable ways to bring about change.
    2. Make those proposals to the people who matter.
    3. If they won’t listen, take your story to the press.
  5. Visit the gym. Do some yoga.
  6. Request interviews with local radio or television news shows to present your concerns and opinions. (If nobody will take you it may be time to reevaluate your thinking. The media may lean toward liberal but they’ll also take any story that will draw attention.)
  7. Join a society of Civil War Re-enactment. Or Lord of the Rings. Or whatever.
  8. Write a book.
  9. Write to your mother.
  10. Visit a veteran’s hospital and listen to their stories.
  11. Remove derogatory words and phrases – which weaken any and all arguments – from your vocabulary.
  12. Chaperone your kids’ high school dance.
  13. Talk to people who disagree with you, and really listen to their viewpoints to learn. Then, start trying to craft a better argument.
  14. Broaden your knowledge. Read The Kite Runner, or Mountains Beyond Mountains, or Long Walk to Freedom.
  15. Go for a hike.
  16. Visit with local people who hold opposing viewpoints to learn why they believe the things they do.
  17. Ask a cop what they think of your opinions and plans.
  18. Adopt a homeless family. Visit a shelter, find out what one family needs, meet with the mom or dad to help mentor them on their road to recovery.
  19. Sign up with CASA to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children in the foster care system.
  20. Volunteer to clean the bathrooms at your church.
  21. Take your significant other on a date doing something they’ve wanted to do.
  22. When you’ve done all the above, and still think armed, illegal activity is still your best option, call some Embassies and start exploring citizenship in another country.
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