Wendy's Blog

From time to time, our pastor will share reflections on various topics, often current events.

  • Of Words and Bombs

    October 30, 2018

    When I began writing this, pipe bombs had been found, but who had made them and what the motive was were unknown.  We now know who did it, and we have also seen an attack on a synagogue in Pittsburgh in which 11 people were killed. 

    Violence seems to be growing, and these two incidents seem to have motivated by hate and fear.  These are fed by the current divisions in the country, and by the words we use to describe those with whom we disagree. 

    Here is what I know:

    • Words matter.  When we refer to those with whom we disagree as the enemy, it matters.  When we refuse to show respect and listen to other perspectives, it matters.  Those words led the bomber to think it was appropriate to send bombs through the mail.  Encouraging violence is never okay.  Applauding someone who decks a reporter or who runs an official out of restaurant is not okay. 
    • We need to avoid jumping to conclusions.  At this point there are suspects in custody for both the bombs and for the shooting in Pittsburgh.  While we have ideas about what motivated them, we can’t be sure. Jumping to conclusions and casting blame makes the divisions within our country worse.
    • There are people out there actively encouraging the divisions within our country.  Both Facebook and Twitter have found automatic systems that have been posting propaganda created by people from Russia and China.  When we share an incendiary post, we are aiding them in their efforts to damage our country.
    • We need a free press.  The founders recognized the importance of a free press to assure that we know what is going on in our government and are able to make informed decisions when we enter the voting booth.  In this digital age, we have more news outlets than we ever thought possible.  Some of these are legitimate sources that value truth.  Others spin the news to support their own biases.  We have a responsibility to read critically.  We need to be willing to fact check stories before we share them. 
    • We are all in this together. This time the targets were Democrats.  In June of 2017 the target was Republicans practicing baseball.  The divisions and heated rhetoric put all of us in danger.

    As Christians, we have an opportunity to show a better way.  Here are some of the things we can do: 

    • We can stand above the divisions and listen to all perspectives and model respect for all people. 
    • I have my thoughts on what is best for the country, but the reality is that I could be wrong.  Any of us could be wrong.  We need to step back from our certainty to consider other perspectives. 
    • Ultimately, our security comes from God, not the government.  We know that God will win.  As hard as our current situation is, we know that we can trust God.
    • There is power in prayer, and we need to be willing to pray for those with whom we disagree—not that God would stop them or make them see things our way, but that God would guide them and bless them—wherever that may mean.
    • Pray.  Pray for victims of violence. Pray for Democrats and Republicans. Pray for the faith and courage to stand for Christ in a hurting world, not in a partisan way but in a loving way. 

    Let’s show the kind of love that is stronger than fear and hate.  Let show the power of Christ in a hurting world.

  • A.C.E

    Posted by Wendy Pratt on OA11er @ 11:27 AM

    My daughter had a rough start in life.  She experienced what are now known as A.C.E.’s:  Adverse Childhood Experiences.  (Here is a page on the CDC website where you can find more information: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/index.html)   As a result of these, she has numerous educational, emotional, and physical problems.  She has not been able to hold down a job, she cannot live independently, and the medication that she needs to deal with her medical and emotional issues runs thousands of dollars each month. 

    As I watch the news, I am horrified to see our government separating children from their parents.  I look at these children and wonder what the future will hold for them.  I begin to count the A.C.E.’s they have already experienced:

    • Whatever it was in their home countries that led their parent(s) to decide they had to flee for their safety.  (One ten-year-old boy was told if he didn’t join the gang, they would kill his mother and sister). 
    • The long journey to the U.S. border.
    • The separation from their parents, for many the only stability they have had in their young lives.
    • Once in custody, the workers are not allowed to touch the children.  Toddlers cannot be held, rocked, or comforted.  My daughter experienced healing through the hours I spent rocking her in the evenings.  After experiencing nightmares, she would come climb in bed with me.  These children are left alone in their fear and terror. 
    • Some parents have been deported without their children. 

    I understand the need to have secure borders.  I understand the need to assure people charged with a crime don’t disappear.  In the past, ankle bracelets were used to track individuals who had entered the country illegally.  This seems to me like a better (and probably cheaper) alternative to sending parents and children to separate detention facilities. 

    Some families are crossing illegally rather than wait for days to cross at a border station and request asylum.  Again, I suspect it would be more cost effective to add the additional staff needed at the border to deal with the demand in a more timely manner. 

    We need comprehensive immigration reform, and I hope both parties will work together to come up with a good plan.  However, we need to stop traumatizing these children now.  We need to keep families together now.  Jesus said, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’  Matthew 25:40   

  • List Item

    Type the content for this list item here. This is just example text to show you what it will look like when you enter text content into this list item. Your unique, authentic, and appropriate text will be filled into this section. Once you click into this text area, you will see the filler text disappear.