World WReligion Wednesday: Religious Refugees in Burma

Confined to squalid camps, supposedly for their own “protection,” Burma’s persecuted Rohingya are slowly succumbing to starvation, despair and disease.

Some are calling it a crime against humanity

Rosheda Bagoung holds her malnourished child inside the tent at the Dar Paing refugee camp in Sittwe, Burma, on May 10, 2014 Lam Yik Fei—Getty Images

 

Let’s dream toward healing and remedying the refugee situation globally. There are ways to create and sustain true refuge for those who need it. Meanwhile, here is the story of what is happening in Burma.

 

A Song for a Baby Now in Heaven

I’ve had many friends experience miscarriages, two experience the death of their three year old to a disease, and then there’s the following story from a woman I don’t know directly, but is a friend of friends. All of these stories have the ability to yank that fetus–like soft spot in your soul and twist it until you feel squished by grief. The death of a child often rips at one’s emotions in a particularly unjust way. It’s the innocence kids display. It’s the hope they carry, the newness, the dreams of generations so freshly in motion. It’s their seeming inability to do much to protect themselves. Babies, with all their wide-eyed wonder, are profound and precious.

Yet, even on the borders of such grief and pain, it is possible to hold hands with True Hope. God is here. He is real, living, and caring. He offers to meet us in our deepest wounds and show us the truth – especially regarding how much He truly loves us, loves babies, and that such horror is not His desire for us. On the contrary, there is a real enemy named “Satan” who roots much of his identity in stealing, killing, and destroying. God, in His radical power, still loves and still comforts, even when things do not go by our hopes or His.

If you have lost a child, I am so sorry. If you are in any form of grief, I send you a hug. You are not alone. May God speak a fresh message to you today as you listen to this song:

My little giant in the heavenlies

 

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It’s Not Guns We Need to Focus on, it’s EMPATHY

It’s Not Guns We Need to Focus on, it’s EMPATHY

I’ve been thinking about writing a very similar article. It’s extraneous to assess and re-assess shootings like these without simply realizing that the main missing component- the healer, the preventer, the way to dismantle such terrorism is LOVE. Love your neighbor as yourself. Don’t ignore their pain, their suicidal jokes, or their maniacal threats. Pause, get bold, and love them.

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“Here’s what doesn’t get the headlines: Empathy. Listening to those around you. Even if you don’t like them very much.

Despite being relevant and important discussions, the glamorous headlines are ultimately distractions — they just feed into the carnage and the attention and the fame the killer desired. They are distractions from what is right in front of you and me and the victims of tomorrow’s shooting: people who need help. And while we’re all fighting over whose pet cause is more right and more true and more noble, there’s likely another young man out there, maybe suicidally depressed, maybe paranoid and delusional, maybe a psychopath, and he’s researching guns and bombs and mapping out schools and recording videos and thinking every day about the anger and hate he feels for this world.

And no one is paying attention to him.” -Mark Manson

World WReligion Wednesday: The Barnian Buddhas

 

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Having recently watched the film “Monuments Men” and, as a response, pondered more extensively what it means to honor a people by preserving their cultural heritage, I think it’s a good time to mention the Barnian Buddhas in Afghanistan. Prior to their destruction, one of them was the largest such carving. Now, there is the question of whether to rebuild or not. What do you think?

 

 

Middle East Monday: Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube

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Me, Andrew, and Lina in Baghdad in 2011

 

Andrew White is a dear friend of mine. He is the person who invited me to go to Baghdad with him in 2011, and we went! We share a deep love for Iraq, the Middle East, hope for the nations, peacemaking, absurdity, and revolutionary risk-taking (otherwise known as “faith”).

If you would like to see him speak in person, you can sign up for the newsletter here.

 

Eric Metaxas interviews the “Vicar of Baghdad,” Canon Andrew White. – YouTube.

Middle East Mondays: One Woman Plants Flowers In Tear Gas Grenades

I lived in Israel and Palestine for three years. My heart still beats and laughs and rolls and tumbles in a cohesive scramble of love and vision for that place. I long to see peace reside there fully. The story of one woman’s prophetic planting is sweetly inspiring. May it prompt the question: “What can I do toward peace?”

 

In A World Torn By War, One Woman Plants Flowers In Tear Gas Grenades As A Symbol Of Peace.