Yesterday's horrific massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut left our country in a state of shock. How can you imagine the unfathomable slaughtering of the innocents? You can't, but yet we can try to empathize with a community who mourns and questions "How did this happen here?".
People react in ways to help them deal with the trauma of the events, and in that process look to "blame" something...anything. The details of the gunman are still scarce, but this is obviously a decision made by an individual with a warped sanity. Thinking individuals can't possible stretch their thoughts far enough to ever see this happening. How could you?
Today is the day that I'm hearing the blaming voices pick up in volume. I'm so very sad by this, and yet I'm starting to get angry. Isn't that part of the grief process? Many are saying that we need God in schools, which I have no argument, but I do have a statement. God IS in schools! There are many Christian teachers and administrators who care and love and pray for their students. There are many Christian students who pray for their fellow students, and teachers and administrators. I am quite sure that God was at Sandy Hook Elementary yesterday morning. Just look at the stories of the teachers protecting their students.
It wasn't the lack of God in that school that allowed a deranged man to shoot innocent children. Do you think if there was prayer in movie theaters that those poor souls in the Colorado theater would have been protected? How about prayer in malls? Maybe that would save us? The fact is prayer should be everywhere. But understand that evil is also everywhere. And slapping up another "Jesus Loves You" billboard, or wearing a "WWJD" bracelet really doesn't do anything to show what Christians are truly supposed to represent. I think both of those advertisements are great, but if the person truly doesn't buy in to the meaning, then what does it matter?
We say the Pledge of Allegiance at my school. I make my students stand and say it, sometimes with serious chastisement. I am under no misconception that this makes them any more patriotic or love our country any more. We have a moment of silence, and I try to keep it quiet. People are allowed to pray. There are student lead bible studies at my school. God is there, but I don't think he needs a government mandated prayer over an intercom to establish residence.
Prayer should be everywhere, every day, all the time by Christians living in today's evil world. Hatred is rampant. Somewhere along the way we've decided, even God loving Christians, that hatred is okay as long as the person "deserves" it. I think Jesus commanded us to "love our neighbor". This was not just a command to love those we liked, because if we only showed respect to those like us, then what difference had Jesus truly made in our lives? Atheists love those that are like them. We are called to ask for God's assistance with this, so that we are not mistaken and piously believe we're so righteously good. He said to love everyone, and that's how the world would know us. So I believe that means we are supposed to show love and respect in the Walmart parking lot, towards those with different political beliefs, those who may not share your views on gun control, or abortion, or religion. I can't find the scripture that says it is just fine with Jesus for you to judge others based on their beliefs or behavior. In fact, I think we are supposed to leave that up to him.
Sometimes as Christians we are so disheartened by the hatred in the world around us, and it leaves us with a sense of helplessness. I believe it's not just that we need God in schools, we need him in our country. First, prayer starts at home, and how you treat those that live with you. Then, comes prayer in your workplace and how you treat your coworkers. Next, is prayer in your community and for your country, and finally is prayer for the strangers and unbelievers. I believe we should have love for all of these, and if not, then we need to ask God to help us with that.
Make no doubt that God was at that school yesterday morning, and his heart broke over the needless murders. But God is with us today too, and he calls us to respond in a manner based on scripture, not on emotion. He calls us to act as Christians in our homes toward our family, on the roads, our social networking posts, and in our community. Saying a prayer out of one side of your mouth while cursing your neighbor with opposing views saddens Him as well.
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Inauguration Day...January 20th
This Tuesday is a historical moment for our country. Barack Obama becomes the first African American to claim the office of President of the United States of America. If you had asked me a year ago, I would have bet everything I owned that Hillary was the Democratic shoo-in. He fought a tremendous battle, and won fair and square. He won across the board, all races, religions and economic backgrounds. His claim to unite the masses proved true on Nov. 4th, 2008.
Let me make my stance clear. He wasn't my guy. I voted for someone else. I also had serious issues about him. But come Tuesday, he is the President of my country. I do not expect him to be perfect. He is a man, but he will have my prayers and support as he deserves for winning the election.
I do not vote according to party lines, but I am a conservative, so most of the time I vote Republican. I realize I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt, and I understand the influcence my locale has on my beliefs. Texas probably won't vote Democrat for a tremendously long time. But here is my problem. The Republicans didn't win. So you know what? We need to come together and support those that did win the election rather than sit along the sidelines throwing stones and being naysayers. United we stand.
In grade school we either played kickball or flag football at lunchtime. Being the tomboy I was, that was grand by me. But we had this one boy who loved football and hated kickball. Somedays we played to his liking, but somedays we picked kickball. Do you know what he did? He refused to play. Only then he sat on the sideline during kickball days and berated those of us still playing. Anytime anything went wrong he was there to merrily point it out to us. But did he ever play the game when he didn't get his way. No. It was beneath him.
This is the way I see the people whose candidate didn't win and then they sit back and berate the winner. C'mon. This is America. We have the opportunity that our candidate may or may not win. But if our candidate loses, it does not give us the right to sit out and pout. We are Americans. We should grow up and come together no matter who the winner is. Ask the people in Haiti if their candidate ever wins, or possibly Zimbabwe? Consider ourselves fortunate for where we live, and support our leaders rather than adding to the dissension and hatred.
I am not saying I have no understanding of corruption or frustration with bureacracy. I do. I am a teacher, and just ask me to go on about standardized testing. But I also would not wish for their job. I for one have too many skeletons in my closet and too many willing to sell me out to The Enquirer for a buck. But if you are disgruntled, if you are unhappy, do you ever write or contact your congressman for that matter? Or do you just badmouth the politicians to your hair dresser? If you want change shouldn't you actually take the avenues to stimulate that change. How can the politicians know your point of view if you don't convey your thoughts?
Now to those of you that choose to abstain from voting, you do have that right. Men and women have gone through a world of pain to make sure you maintain that right, but it is yours. I will not begrudge you the right of NOT voting. But if you choose not to vote and then gripe about the outcome, then in my most polite voice I tell you, "Shut the hell up". Millions of people are willing to die for a chance to live in our country. We take our rights for granted. You have the right to not vote, but I believe you lose the right to bitch about the outcome if you don't appreciate that right enough to exercise it.
I am disappointed by the reaction of those who voted as I, but continue to stir hatred and dissension even in our defeat. We lost. Obama won. That is the glory of our country. We don't always win. We have the right to the PURSUIT of happiness. To me that is an action verb that requires something of me, not the expectation that I always get my way. And not the expectation that the government is supposed to fix all my problems. I am supposed to contribute to solutions for me and solutions for my country as well. We still live in a wonderful country. Believe in that and unite as one under the President that was elected by the majority whether he was our pick or not.
If you are not happy with the current situation in our country, then make your voice known. Write your congressmen, or run for office. But do now complain to your barber, but then refrain from voting. Basically I'm saying don't talk crap to people that make no decisions, but then sit quietly by and never offer your opinions to those that represent you. Take the time and have the guts to state what you believe to those that matter.
I love sports, and I think lots of life pertains to sports. There are many armchair quarterbacks who think they could play better than those currently on the roster. If you believe that, then get your lard ass out out of the Lazy Boy and set up a tryout with the owner. In the realm of politics, I believe it is exactly the same. If you are unhappy and think you can do better, then run for office. Be a commisioner, a mayor, but at least be involved rather than sitting along the sidelines as a naysayer.
I know our country has problems. We are still facing a war that is unfavorable and an economic breakdown our country hasn't seen in decades. I am not a Pollyanna that refuses to see the issues. But my main concern is to overcome, as our great country has done during tough times of the past. I just think that if we are able to do this, we must first unite. Not only when we get our way, or when our candidate gets elected. But consistently. Always. I know there are many reasons to stay divided. This isn't fair, or those people aren't for our country. But as long as we blame others, we will never be united. If it doesn't start at home, with you, then where does it start? I am challenging you, those that are both for Obama or were against him, to support him as OUR president.
As a Christian, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Not just when we think it is the one we like, but all leaders. I will pray for him. I will support him.
He is our President of the United States, and he deserves that.