Saturday, July 19, 2014

If John Lives Forever

Greetings, fellow Castaways of Starship Earth.

Before reading on, I might recommend a glass of your favorite relaxant.

This world is full of grief, pain, and misery. Evil men in some places are going around hacking people to death in the streets. Others are killing their way across the country, killing woman, children and men alike for no other reason than that they desired to be free, to live in a place where they could determine their own destiny apart from a despotic tyranny set on ruling every aspect their lives. Children starve. People kill people. People kill animals. Did you know in India it's a common practice when a girl is born, to take her into the street and shove an unhusked rice kernel into her throat so she chokes to death?

My first point is, that anyone who wants to be offended by something only has to log in to Yahoo and read the headlines. And it seems that these days everyone is just begging to be offended. A company makes a corporate decision, and the world goes bonkers with rage, calling it "A War on Women." A cheerleader hunts, and people are screaming for her blood. Good people are enraged over injustices all over the world.

 Now, is it wrong to be offended by these horrible things going on? I might suggest not. "He has shown you, O man, what is good and what The Lord requires of you: To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your god." (Micah 6:8). But let me ask you if the responses flying around the internet are seriously warranted, or if the rage and vitriol everyone seems to be aiming around is a general over-reaction of a mob flogged up by a minority of trolls who are leaning back in their office chairs, laughing like fiends for all the trouble they are starting.

One thing I might suggest is that we all step back and take a breath before responding to what we may perceive as apparent injustice. One story that comes to mind is one where, after the Resurrection, Jesus was seen by the disciples as they went out one morning to fish.

Jesus took Peter off to the side and asked him, "Simon, Son of John, do you love me?" See, for the last three and a half years, he had called Simon by the name of Peter. But here, Jesus calls him by his given name. That was his way of getting Peter's attention: "Dude, stuff's gonna get real here."

After telling Peter what he expected of him from here on, Jesus gets up to leave. Peter notices John, "The disciple whom Jesus loved" hanging out and eavesdropping. So he asks, "Lord, what about him?" and here, Jesus says something  that stands out to me as key in today's world: "If I want John to live forever, what's it to you?"

In another passage, Paul tells us that each person needs to work out his salvation with God on a one-on-one basis. So your story is your story. What isn't your story, isn't your story.

Now I know it's easy to get worked up when we see news stories about the latest beheadings in Iraq, or when Congress can't get their stuff in one place. But look at this: What's your story, is your story. What's not your story, you need to drop and let go. You have enough stress as it is without worrying about something that's simply none of your business.

In other words, what you can do something about, do it. Give to humanitarian causes. Vote for the candidates you want in office without leveling accusations against men and women you don't know, based on information you're getting from paid trolls who just want to pour gasoline on a little coal to start a huge fire.

Honestly stop to pay attention to both sides of an issue. We used to do this when I was a kid. it's called listening to the other side, and giving them credit for having a stand as well, even if you don't agree. Usually, we found a good medium ground to stand together on, and we didn't forget our manners. It's all of our responsibility to get along with others in our culture.

Even if it means clamping our mouths shut for the time it takes to give the other guy the benefit of the doubt.

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