Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norway and more

What happened in Norway stunned us all. It shakes us to our core. It reminds us of Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Northern Illinois. We wonder about motivation and question why authorities didn't see this coming. And we quietly mourn the loss of innocent life. How does this happen?

I don't know. What snaps in a person's concept of right and wrong that validates something so horrendous? How have we failed the perpetrator I wonder? Or did we?

The problem of evil in our midst perplexes me. Even though I know about sin and temptation and the concept of garbage in/garbage out, and the lure of self righteousness I sometimes just want to throw my head in my hands and weep. Can we ever win against determined hatred? And why does God allow such evil to even exist?

We could throw in the towel you know and say enough is enough. We could isolate ourselves and retreat to underground bunkers in Idaho or to double gated communities. Or we can face our fears, pray through our questions and frustrations, and begin to stand up for the sake of righteousness (not in some quirky, sanctimonious way though) in ways that make sense.

What good will that do? Once again, I don't know. But here's my hunch. It's better than standing on the sidelines kibitzing. Maybe we can't do much about random acts of violence but we can sure increase the volume on intentional acts of goodness. But that sounds almost trite, a cliche'. Doable? Yes. Necessary? Yes? Enough? Don't know.

I'm all for niceness, courtesy, fair play and please and thank you. Those should be the normal habits of our life. And they do make a difference. But what if what we're facing something bigger than common courtesy can handle? What if what we need requires more of us?

What if God is actually calling us to a sacrificial way of life? It's that going beyond the bounds of comfort so that we're really feeling the pinch in all areas of our life. It's that place where we're giving to the point that we have no choice but to trust God and other people wonder if we've walked off the deep end of the pier. What if that's the only way to get the attention of a scared world? What if living into our fears is the only thing that will change anything?

Richard Foster believes that the great need for today is growing the number of 'deep people'. Superficiality won't cut it anymore. But I like superficiality. I'm good at it. Going deep and staying deep is not what I'm good at. At the core of my being I know Foster is right. Am I willing to become a deep person? And what happens if I say no?

I'll write more about what 'deep' means. I have a hunch one doesn't go deep alone. There's power in being together on a journey such as this. Would love to hear if this resonates with you at all. Blessings.

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