My last blog post was on July 29th. That was a long time ago.
A lot has happened since then.
Every blog theorist & pundit would tell you that to hold off that long is killing my audience, page views, clicks, etc. Well, you're reading this now so apparently the gulf isn't THAT big.
To be honest, I didn't want to write. Anything. At all.
I was personally, spiritually, and emotionally exhausted. There was so much to say.
Violence in Gaza.
ISIS in Iraq.
Ferguson, Missouri and an instant replay of the spark that created the civil rights movement.
Add that to some personal challenges to my journey, the realization that I'm getting older and that I'm not as good at what I thought I was good at but may be better at something else (take that grammar teachers!), and what you have is..
...ice cream binging...
..all this and more.
So I did something I believe in. I shut up. I didn't write. I froze the blog because it was time to say nothing and simply think. We live in what Henri Nouwen prophetically called a "wordy world."
We respond with words. We manipulate our realities - how people think or feel about us - with words. Even in such a visual culture, where even our sermons need a "commercial" every 12 minutes to maintain our rapt attention, we are still a people who traffic in words.
So I stopped the words. To be honest, it was hard to bring the words back. Until today when I sat down and simply decided it was time to talk again. Time to flesh out what I'm seeing and thinking. Time to pass on something that I have gained about my own soul and the pursuit of Christlikeness in the midst of the reality we are in.
Please forgive me, this is all I can manage today.
My heart breaks because of the pain I see in Iraq - and because even in that situation people want to respond in polarities. We want to respond by blaming other political parties or religions or even question journalism regarding what's actually happening. People fled their homes to go to a mountain, with no access to food or water, so I'm assuming that means things are not good. Martyrdom, persecution - real persecution - sobers us and gives followers of Jesus in the West something to meditate on and pray through.
My heart breaks because some Christians feel compelled to respond to every situation with determinations that are above their pay grade and in turn avoid the commandments that are in their best interests. Please, whatever you think of Robin Williams' suicide this is not a time for eschatology or post-mortem spiritual determinations. You can have an opinion on it, but the thing we are commanded to do is to "love one another" and "bear one another's burdens" - that is within our power. Making reservations for others beyond the grave is not on our job description.
Ignorance of or the inability to empathize with those suffering from mental illness should be acknowledged and embraced before we say another word about Heaven, Hell, or suicide.
My heart breaks for those of a different race. I don't know what it means to walk in your shoes, and I won't lie and say I can sympathize or empathize or understand. I also won't lie and say racism isn't as bad as it seems. It is WORSE than I could ever know, and it is a spiritual sickness of the first degree - a spiritual sickness that Christ died for and proclaimed the death of every time He went to those on the margins.
There is no process of spiritual formation in our current reality that excludes dealing with our thoughts & motivations towards the "other."
So these are the words for now, and I pray they challenge you as they have me. Honestly, I pray they challenge us all to have less words and more reflection.