It makes no sense that I am so upset about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s not like I live in New York where I might have seen him onstage or caught a glimpse of him around town. And … Continue reading
It’s one of the most riveting photos I’ve seen. And one that should hold a mirror up to any one of us who call ourself a Christian.
You may be wondering how I can say that: the protesters aren’t asking for religious freedom. This isn’t some “do or die” essential to the Christian faith. Or any faith for that matter.
No. In fact the protests began when Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych refused to join the European Union. Joining would have led to some wide-sweeping reforms and a new level of freedom. Under pressure from Russia, Yanukovych pulled out of the EU negotiations and put some draconian measures of crowd control in place. This is what the protest is all about.
What’s powerful to me is the willingness of the clergy not to proclaim a side, but to stand alongside all sides as peacemakers. And to make that real by putting their bodies where their prayers are.
“Yesterday morning, monks from the Kiev-Caves Lavra Fr. Gabriel, Fr. Melchisedek, and Fr. Ephraim stood on Grushevsky Street in Kiev with a cross and icons, between the demonstrators and the Ukrainian special police force “Berkut”, and stopped the conflict. They entered the arena as peace-makers, and not in support of one side or the other.
Although they were invited to join the “people”, the fathers only prayed and sang the Paschal troparion: “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs bestowing life,” wrote the Ramensky deanery of Moscow on its facebook page. The conflict ceased.”
What a witness to the American church. What a witness to me.
I know each year promotes lists – either of things to do or accomplishments done. I try to resist grand pronouncements and resolutions. But 2013 was really a big year for me – not because of what I did, but … Continue reading
“This is the race,” the woman said. As we had waited on our lunch food, I had gotten to talking about the leviathan dominating my anxieties: next month’s Chicago Marathon. After 5+ months of training, we were in our final, grueling weeks. … Continue reading
The Mercedes Benz-branded Superdome appeared like a giant roadside psychotropic mushroom. Funny. I haven’t realized the mark of unparalleled luxury dominating the side. M-B got the naming rights in 2011. Well after the Dome supplied emergency shelter to poor victims … Continue reading
On Syria I’ve been like Lady MacBeth wringing her hands about the ‘dreaded spot’. What to do? What to do? I live in a divided household. We are a microcosm of the American public — my husband believes a strike … Continue reading
Ring, ring, It’s Pope Francis calling. Apparently the busy pontiff has enough time to actively reach out to hurting people around the world. Last week the Huffington Post noted that ‘cold-call Pope’ could be added to Pope Francis’ long list of nicknames … Continue reading
Our church community just finished a series called, “The Things that make for Peace”. It was killer.
I mean I think we really hit the mark with it. People loved this peace series! Bull’s eye. We bit the bullet and went for it – discussing peace with our neighbors, our enemies, ourselves, our God.
I was shooting someone an email later when it hit me: we never drilled down to the elemental level of how we construct our world. I hadn’t touched at all on the primary ways we express who we are, what we’re doing and what we want. To wit: I never talked about how violent words are entrenched in our everyday discourse.
It wasn’t that many years after my kids learned the power of words that they soon began learning the allure of “bad” words. Cuss words, “go to hell” words, and the various anatomical words were tantalizing to them.
Even though I tried to ban most of them, parents know that language takes on a life of its own. So I gave what I thought was real world advice: use these ‘bad’ words sparingly. Sometimes they are the right word. But they’ll only be powerful if you use them rarely.
I was getting a bead on someone the other day when it occurred to me how normalized bloodshed, aggression and brute force are. “The project blew up right in front of me!” Whether it’s Walt White or last week’s photos of downtown Cairo; from office communication to nightly dinner discussions, I speak with violent passion and issue my analogies like a sailor.
I’m not going to become a peace-nick, not today anyway. But I do want to try and better align my values with my words. Beginning with the simple awareness of how I say what I say. Explosions are more powerful when they rarely happen.
You can let me know if I’ve hit the target.