Month: June 2014

“They Don’t Even Have Name Badges!”

2004 vacation 095In the third film of the Austin Powers series, Austin’s father, Nigel Powers, played by Michael Caine engages a fight in Dr. Evil’s lair.  As he approaches one of Dr. Evil’s (Mike Myers) random henchmen, Nigel declares, “You don’t stand a chance.  You don’t even have a name badge.”  His humorous statement illustrates the disposability of minor or random characters in the movies and shows that we enjoy.

  michael-caine-austinpower-gold4

In the entertainment media these jabs incite laughter but when I read about the mass of refugees fleeing or attempting to flee Syria and now Iraq or when I consider the countless empty faces of children trapped by an ever-widening net of slavery, I struggle with the immensity of the problem and consequently the need for a solution. Conversely, the pangs of conscience I feel at the notion that I don’t do enough or if I am even able to do enough; or anything for that matter can be disheartening.

It is human nature to invest ourselves emotionally in those closest to us but at what point does our indifference to suffering of strangers begin to harden our hearts?  Or at what point does the hardening of our hearts lure us into indifference?  Is the pursuit of altruism noble or foolish?

images-3

I don’t presume that my occasional ramblings will lead to an overthrow of evil and usher in world peace but I am compelled to champion the cause.  If I invest as much effort into this pursuit as so many black-hearted hate-mongers invest into their own selfish designs of conquest at the expense of those without name badges than maybe, just maybe, a few people will find little more peace.

I may never lead the charge of a revolution of peace but as long as my fingers are able to type I will continue to sow seeds of hope and light into an ever-darkening world.  “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”  It’s a simple rule.

Syrian-Refugee

Freedom for the Badge-Less Ones!

Advertisements

“ENOUGH! I’M HACKED OFF!”

2004 vacation 095Normally I carefully edit my posts before publishing them but today I am infuriated and frankly, I don’t give a peppercorn pork chop how this is received.

While still reeling from the Seattle Pacific University campus shooting I woke up this morning to the news of five people murdered in Las Vegas including two police officers eating lunch and one innocent and heroic bystander doing nothing less mundane than shopping.  This incident strikes home because of its eerie resemblance to the brutal 2009 assassination of four Lakewood, Washington police officers.  While not directly affected by these heinous acts the indirect wounds of those atrocities exacerbated the scars resulting from Newtown, Columbine, 911, Darfur, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Holocaust, the My Lai Massacre and more.  The list of crimes is extensive and each of these senseless acts should stir up ire in all of us.

 LV Officers

While these acts anger me, my frustration does not stem only from the plethora of mindless tragedies.  The ignored problem that raises my blood from simmering to boiling is our equally ignorant and arrogant collective assumption that somehow mankind can fix this broken world.  We can’t!  Get used to it!  We’re the ones who perpetrate the epidemic of evil.  Thinking that somehow, cooler heads or sharper minds will find a solution to man’s inhumanity against man is like expecting a team of pedophiles to safely manage a day care or a pride of lions to provide security for a herd of zebras.

Call me hopelessly fatalistic but any initiative undertaken by men to solve the problems of violence, poverty, environmental protection, value and dignity for life among others results in more conflict than resolution.  Until the entirety of mankind embraces pure altruism we will continue down our destructive path.

For those who find my opinion to be an overreaction I ask the following questions.  What words of hope can you offer to the family of those who were senselessly gunned down in Las Vegas?  What healing salve do you have for the father whose daughter succumbed last year to a chemical weapon in Syria?  If you were wearing their sketchers what would provide you solace?  When we are not directly affected by a tragedy it holds less significance to us but when we are family members of the victim of a serious crime then we experience the depth of pain and horror that evil produces.  This is indicative of our collective narcissistic self-absorption.

It is astounding to consider that a race of beings with supposedly superior intellect can possibly draw the conclusion that we, as perpetrators of evil sharing a common bond of selfishness can possibly produce a solution to the very problem we create!

I submit this challenge.  Search your minds, history books and search engines for any human being throughout history who displays the altruism necessary to initiate a movement of world peace and then I invite you to share your comments in the “reply” box below.

 

“Why We Forgive”

tututtuThe following is an excerpt from a book by Bishop Emeritus Desmond and Mpho Tutu (Desmond’s daughter) on the power of forgiveness.  This was taken from a powerful article in the magazine Spirituality & Health.  If we would all listen to Jesus we could fix our broken world!

There were so many nights when I, as a young boy, had to watch helplessly as my father verbally and physically abused my mother. I can still recall the smell of alcohol, see the fear in my mother’s eyes, and feel the hopeless despair that comes when we see people we love hurting each other in incomprehensible ways. If I dwell in those memories, I can feel myself wanting to hurt my father back, in the same ways he hurt my mother, and in ways of which I was incapable as a small boy. I see my mother’s face and I see this gentle human being whom I loved so very much and who did nothing to deserve the pain inflicted upon her.

When I recall this story, I realize how difficult the process of forgiving truly is. Intellectually, I know my father caused pain because he was in pain. Spiritually, I know my faith tells me my father deserves to be forgiven as God forgives us all. But it is still difficult. The traumas we have witnessed or experienced live on in our memories. Even years later they can cause us fresh pain each time we recall them.

Are you hurt and suffering? Is the injury new, or is it an old unhealed wound? Know that what was done to you was wrong, unfair, and undeserved. You are right to be outraged. And it is perfectly normal to want to hurt back when you have been hurt. But hurting back rarely satisfies. We think it will, but it doesn’t. If I slap you after you slap me, it does not lessen the sting I feel on my own face, nor does it diminish my sadness as to the fact you have struck me. Retaliation gives, at best, only momentary respite from our pain. The only way to experience healing and peace is to forgive. Until we can forgive, we remain locked in our pain and locked out of the possibility of experiencing healing and freedom, locked out of the possibility of being at peace.

Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. We are bound with chains of bitterness, tied together, trapped. Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness; that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and our feelings. We become our own liberators. We don’t forgive to help the other person. We don’t forgive for others. We forgive for ourselves.

– See more at: http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/why-we-forgive#sthash.HD8CFMSP.dpuf