Clubhouse Rules

We were refugees once, not so very long ago. We immigrated to this land in the 1600’s, as refugees of religious persecution, seeking the right to freely pursue our beliefs: A noble goal, for sure, but this refugee story is less than noble.

We sought freedom. We sought safety. We longed for a place to call our own. And soon we were no longer visitors. Soon we owned the clubhouse and we now could made the rules.

We expanded our reach and made our way across the land, driving the Native Americans ahead of us; either killing them systematically or forcing them to inhabit desolate wilderness and forsake their way of life.

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A Long Winter

Typically, by this time of year, the number of refugees crossing the Mediterranean from the northern coast of Africa would have subsided. Rough waters brought on by winter winds and currents would decrease traffic on the sea. However this year, the rush of immigrants continues at an alarming pace, resulting in a higher number of dead and missing persons lost to the cold waters than ever before.

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Random Acts of Violence

I saw a news report of a man who approached a perfect stranger and punched him in the face. The stranger fell to the ground, never getting up, while the man walked calmly away.

The man who received the blow later died in a local hospital. The man who delivered the blow is still walking for all we know.

I saw a video of a refugee rubber raft that pulled alongside a large vessel in the Mediterranean Sea. While a sailor on the top deck shot the video with his phone, the refugees scraped and clawed to get off the raft and onto the rope ladders hanging from open doors on the port side of the ship. By the end of the short 10-minute video, the raft was sinking, debris littered the water, and the sailor was calmly pointing out drowning and dead bodies.

A man in Yemen lost 27 family members in a single airstrike that hit his home during dinner.

A church burns in Mississippi.

A woman is taken.

A child is abused.

What is our response? How do we act in the face of these stories? They happen while we sleep, literally and figuratively. They’ve become background noise to our busy and toy-filled lives. Random, unwarranted, hateful, hurtful, devastating acts of violence.

It leaves us shaking our heads, bemoaning the state of the world and asking the question, “What can I do?” Of course, the better question, is one we never ask ourselves, “What will I do?”

What in the World are We Doing?

Turn on the news. Open the paper. We see it every day and as history repeats itself, so does the brokenness and pain.

Violence, war, and refugees. Skittles, vitriol, and isolationism. Repeat.

Racism, division, and hate. Take a knee, shoot a man, and riot. Repeat.

Over crowded jails, underfunded schools, and broken communities. Corporate greed, disconnected parents, and political self-interest. Repeat.

What are we doing? Can’t we break the cycle? Can’t we change history? Isn’t there a better option?

Love, listen, and learn. Weep with the hurting, embrace the broken, love our brothers and sisters. Repeat.

 

 

A Broken World, A Hurting France

The news accounts are grizzly. The video footage is shocking. The loss is tragic. The reasons are inexcusable.

Bastille Day celebrations.

Black Lives Matter marches.

Turkey political unrest.

Police shootings.

Hate crimes. Anger. Pain. Death. Darkness.

Each day the news brings accounts of violence of one against another. Every paper declares the injustice. Every network anchor looks into the camera with sincerity and tells the story of another horrifying moment in our nation’s collective story, our global community’s painful legacy.

We are unable to find a solution but we are able to point fingers of blame.

We have no answers, only excuses.

We can find no common ground, not even common enemies.

When will we ever learn? When will we begin the dialogue?