May your 2019 be filled with joy and happiness!
In the sea of social media, you are bound to find people who disagree and think differently than you. It is one of the things that people laud as the best things about the internet and social media, the sharing of ideas in a community space.
The other day I was scrolling through Twitter and I saw a story about a two-year-old child who had died in California days after his mother had arrived to see him. She had been barred from entering the country due to the travel restrictions put in place by the Government since she was from Yemen. As tragic as that is, I saw someone commenting about a tweet sent by Kurt Schlichter, a columnist at townhall.com.
The tweet is below but I’ll save you a scroll; his response… “I don’t care.”
A child died from a rare condition, his mother was kept from him for over a year and the only sympathy you can muster Kurt is “I don’t care”?
What a cold-hearted, mean-spirited, hateful response. I have never met this person, I have never read anything else by him but I find his response absolutely appalling. I don’t care what you think about people from Yemen, I don’t care what you think about politics, I don’t care what car you drive or what you got for Christmas, the fact remains that a HUMAN BEING died, not only a human but a CHILD.
If it was a joke, it was in deeply poor taste; if he meant it then I have no words.
He has since removed the tweet but has offered no apology that I am aware of.
Kurt, if you are reading this, America should be a place where children are loved and cared for, not discarded because you deem them unworthy. I urge you to meet with the family and hear how a government travel ban hurt them, listen to their stories about having a sick child halfway across the world.
Do the right thing.
Let’s a resolve in 2019 to do the right thing.
I do care that a child died and you should too.
In the church calendar, December 2 begins the season of Advent. It last four weeks and ends on Christmas Day.
It is a special time where followers of Christ are called reflect on what the coming of Christ means for them. It is time to wait and be prayerful.
In a world where we are bombarded by lights and Christmas sales constantly, Advent reminds us that the light of the world will continue to grow in our midst, we must be willing to look for it.
Below is a Advent Prayer calendar in two forms, a PDF and Photo. You can download it to your computer or phone so you can have it with you where ever you go this Advent season.
Use this calendar each day of Advent to prepare yourself for the coming of Jesus into the world.
Each day has a scripture and something to pray for or to reflect on. Let us journey to together to find the Christ-child, the source of all hope, peace, joy and love this Advent.
Click one of the icons below.
Recently thanks to the internet my children were introduced to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. This simple television show still found a way to capture my children’s imaginations. Fred Rogers, the creator of the show, believed that all children were to be valued, loved and seen as an equal. His idea was that his program could be a place for children to view a world full of love, honesty, curiosity, questioning, and grace. For thirty-one seasons and over 900 episodes, a simple Presbyterian minister would grace the screens in millions of homes across the country.
Earlier this year a documentary about the life of Fred Rogers was released and people of all ages (especially on social media) began to tell of their love and fondness for the neighborhood. I remember watching the show as a child and enjoyed it, that’s why I wanted to share it was my children. I found myself wondering what was it about Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood that captured the attention of so many people? Was it nostalgia? Was it a remembrance of a simpler time? Or was it something deeper than that? Can people even articulate why a man in sweaters living in a house with a fish and a trolley what traveled back and forth from the kingdom of make believe had such a profound impact on their lives?
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood each week gave a glimpse of the humanity we could be. The neighborhood was a place where real issues were discussed. Rogers believed that children’s capacity to understand was not to be limited. He tackled issues such as racial integration, death, different abilities, and divorce.
I believe that so many people long for the neighborhood in their own lives. The neighborhood was a place where all were welcomed and cared for. It was the simple message of Mr. Rogers, “it’s you I like” that struck a chord with so many children. It did not matter what type of house you lived in, the car your parents drove or the color of your skin, Mr. Rogers liked you just the way you were. In the neighborhood, people were not treated differently based on their abilities or even their age. Mr. Rogers wanted to learn and know more about every person whom he encountered. In this neighborhood, differences were celebrated, and the uniqueness of the individual was able to shine through. The fullness of the picture of humanity was growing larger and larger each time we were invited into the neighborhood.
Rogers’ signature line was “won’t you be my neighbor?” This is more than just a song about comradery, it is a question that we as a society must ask day after day. While the picturesque neighborhood of television may not ever come to fruition it does not mean that we do not stop trying to find a way to love, care and honor people. The question posed by Rogers is not rhetorical. It is one that each person in a community asks of the other. Being a neighbor means more than just living in proximity to one another. Being a neighbor means looking out for one another, getting to know and understand each other’s values and beliefs especially the ones that are different than our own. Today our conversations have become nothing more than pithy one-liners or grand exaggerations. There is very little listening and a whole lot of talking. Rogers in his show did not dominate the conversation or even try to change their mind; he asked questions and learned from their conversations. He genuinely cared for every person.
When I look at our country today, I do not see the neighborhood. I do not see people caring for each other as much as they could be. I do not see love being shown as much as it can be. What I do see are people grasping for power in an effort to be on the ‘winning team.’ There is no unity, there is no genuine connection. People are not caring for their neighbors. Instead, excuses are given, and platitudes are stated and that’s about it. The Gospels remind all followers of Christ that caring for the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, and remembering the forgotten are the cornerstone of the Kingdom of God. I believe that if the neighborhood is ever to be realized it will take all of us to begin to care fully for our neighbors. I do not care how a person got into the situation they are in, they are my neighbor and I have an obligation to help them. Each person in our town, state, nation and the world will ask the same question, “won’t you be my neighbor?” How we answer this question will greatly show how we view humanity, how we understand the love of God and it will remind us that we cannot ignore people because we think that they are unworthy of our time.
Fred Rogers once said, “ Love is at the root at everything, all learning, all relationships, love or the lack of it.” Let us commit to love our neighbors just as much as we love ourselves. When we remove ourselves from the equation then transformation will happen, not only in our community but in our hearts as well.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!
May your day be filled with love and laughter! May we remember the good thing we have been blessed with as well as those whose holiday will be different this year.
God bless you.
Yesterday I was asked to give a prayer at a unity and remembrance gathering at Temple Emanu-el in Longview, Texas in response to the senseless shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburg.
Below is the prayer that I gave as well as some pictures.
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Joined with our Jewish brothers and sisters today to pray for the families who lost loved ones and for our nation. Helping to read the names of those we lost broke my heart in a way I cannot express. Thankful for the glimpse of hope when believers were gathered together calling on God to bring us out of this darkness.
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