Saturday, December 5, 2015

Thinking about #Refugees #Violence and #Prayers

I have found several articles helpful as I have tried to consider refugees, violence and our prayers (and even the idea of forgiveness (and guilt)).

The Dark Spell the Devil Casts: Refugees and Our Slavery to the Fear of Death
As I point out in The Slavery of Death and in Unclean, love involves opening yourself up to risk. And risk involves fear and uncertainty.

There are no guarantees with love. That doesn't mean you act recklessly or foolishly. But it does mean that doing the loving thing, the compassionate thing, the humane thing involves facing down legitimate fears and a willingness to live with very real risks.

The fog of fear, legitimate and real concerns over safety and security, is the dark spell the Devil casts to bewitch the Children of Light, the diabolical alchemy that transforms gentle and kind people into the Children of Darkness
Advent: Working together for peace in our community
The recent shooting at a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Colorado Springs is frightening reminder of the unprecedented level of gun violence now assaulting our country. Each year more than 30,000 of us are victims of gun violence, often at the hands of a friend or family member, or at our own hands. In Maine, there were 158 firearm deaths in 2013, the last year for which there are published statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. That’s nearly double the number in 2003 (82). The conversation about gun violence has been lost in the debate over technicalities concerning gun control. What we seem to have forgotten is that we – all of us – have a right to live safely in our own homes; to go about our business, to go shopping or have a meal out without being shot. As a nation, and a people, we are failing to keep ourselves safe.
Resources on Challenging Violence here.

Are Prayers Enough?
Many, including me, are saying “enough.” And many are saying “pray” – as in my prayers are for ….. (fill in the blank). Are the two connected? In this season of Advent, we await the coming of Emmanuel – God with us. But for many, Advent is the season to shop, filling our carts with more stuff – when we have enough while others in our cities and world don’t have enough. What does it mean to prepare a room in our heart for the love that is to come? It is hard when our news feed (no matter how or where we get it) is filled with vitriol, death, blood, fear, and the loss of innocence. Lives lost. Hope snuffed out. For some a promise and future that no longer will be.

In the aftermath of another massacre in the United States for yet unknown reasons – do we really need a reason? – I am numb. And tired. Yes, another mass killing had cameras poised on SWAT armored vehicles, waiting for the action. Some say we have a right to carry a weapon; after all, one of the first acts of Hitler was to take away the people’s weapons. Really? But what should our first act be? To pray? Yes, we pray for victims, for an end to violence, and yes – for the perpetrators. And we must act – individually and corporately. God hears our prayers, but uses us to provide the change that is needed.
After Mass Shootings, People Turn To Prayer — And Prayer Shaming
There is almost not enough time to mourn before the next crime. And within minutes, familiar voices chime in on social media and news channels to say the latest shooting simply proves that they're right — both those who say greater gun control is needed, and those who say gun regulations don't work.

I think a lot of people who pray don't think of it as a replacement for deeds, or an occasion to utter a gift list of desires. They pray to open their minds and hearts. They pray when words won't come, and emotions overwhelm. They pray to mark a loss, and to try to make a moment of peace in a landscape of turmoil. They don't see prayer as a substitute for action, but the beginning. The merit of prayer is what people do after we say Amen.
 San Bernardino suspect's sister breaks her silence
Farhan said he felt an obligation to address the victims on the night of the shooting.
"I wanted to go there and talk to the victims, people who were hurt... So I love this country, I love the people," Farhan said. "And I felt responsible to go and tell this to the people."
"Do you think your brother deserves to be forgiven?" Begnaud asked Saira.
"That's a hard question," she said. "I don't even know if I would forgive him. Just because of what he did."
Farhan said, right now, he could not forgive Farook. "With what he did, no. What he did to his own family, to his daughter, to our family, to the innocent people there -- no. I wouldn't forgive him," Farhan said.

No comments: