Monday. It's probably the most hated day of the week, unless you are on the first day of your vacation. Perhaps you've had a great week-end. If you have had too much rain, perhaps you had a dry week-end. On Monday, it's now raining again. If you have needed rain, perhaps you've had the sky open up to pour life-giving rain onto your garden, your crops, or your fields. Now, it's Monday, and you may not see a drop of rain for the next week and a half. Like all good things, the week-end has come to an end.
I'm feeling a little Monday today. We had rain last night, finally, after praying for rain all week. We have lifted in prayer all of the people who are devastated by floods in the Midwest. We have also lifted in prayer, the people in the far west, who suffer from wild-fires driven by heat and powerful winds. Even the hint of rain - lightening - can set off fires anew. What is happening to our planet? Why does it now betray us? Why drought? Fire? And flood?
I think we all know the answer, even those of us who hide our faces in the sand. As the saying goes: "There is none so blind, as he who WILL not see." Not can, but WILL. Why are we humans like this? Are we stupid? Are we stubborn? Or are we just plain selfish? Perhaps one or the other, or perhaps all.
You see, we do not have a broad vision. We see what is exactly in front of our eyes, and if we don't like what we see, then we don't change our minds or our hearts. We change our definition. It's still all the same, but we lie about it.
When Hurricane Katrina left levees broken, and the streets of New Orleans became flooded and toxic, it was the most horrible event that I have ever helplessly witnessed. I watched my government flounder and fail. I saw government leaders insist that "I pray for those people every day." Well, isn't that just special. Did you rescue them? Did you drop what you were doing? Act. Decide. Even know what was happening? Did you hide your eyes, while you straightened your shirt collar and combed your hair? No. The whole world was watching while you callously did nothing.
Callousness. According to just about every dictionary, callousness is defined as "emotionally hardened; unfeeling." Now, that doesn't mean you're a racist, since racism involves hatred. Callousness is a word that defines what is NOT going on in your heart, as opposed to what IS going on in your heart.
For instance, someone sees masses of black faces, and one knows that one is not a racist, yet, they feel no obligation to act to save them. Famous excuses are "I'm doing the best I can." Or "I'm being so misunderstood." But what if you can save others, and you don't? That would come under the heading of "callousness." You see, callousness is not an active choice. It is passive. And that is the worst kind of condition of the heart.
Remember recently, the elderly man who was a victim of a hit and run? There he lay, while others gaped and stared, but no one did anything. No one ran into the street and blocked traffic. No one went to the man and gave comfort, a reassuring voice...nothing. God help us.
In the Family Word Finder, the word callous has many definitions: unsympathetic, uncaring, hardhearted, and my two favorites, apathetic and dispassionate. Dispassionate means devoid of emotion or bias. Bias is not necessarily a bad term, because it deals with identifying with another.
"I feel for you, because I could be you."
"I feel for your children, because they could be my children."
Compassion is not sympathy. Compassion is empathy. In your heart, you are the person suffering. And, if you are that person, you can feel their pain. You do something, anything. For instance, our President flew a jet onto an aircraft carrier to announce "Mission Accomplished!" Where were his flying skills, after Katrina? Where was his passion? Where was his compassion? I honestly don't think it exists. That's right, I think my President, whom I voted for twice, is lukewarm.
At the beginning of the Book of Revelation, there are letters written to the seven Churches in Asia, nearly 2,000 years ago. One church was described as lukewarm. According to the Scripture, we are expected to be hot or cold, but lukewarm? Never! Because God says, that if we are lukewarm, he will vomit us out of His mouth.
There is a history behind this statement. The city involved had running water that was carried for miles under a blaring sun. By the time the water reached the tap, it was tepid, warm, and nasty tasting. A drink from the tap often caused a person to vomit the water out of his mouth. Obviously God doesn't like us to be tepid.
The truth is that no one acted in our government, after Katrina, because no one cared about anyone. The only thing cared about were appearances, and when we care about appearances, we've cared, not about others, but about ourselves.
Let's move on to today. Gas prices. Do we really think that nothing can be done? Do you really believe that gas is at the most unheard of price of over $4.00 a gallon, because someone cares? Well, of course the oil companies care. Just ask them. After all, we're all stupid and blind. We can't see the noses in front of our faces.
Do you realize that we are not paying for the oil of today. We are paying for the speculation (theorize, hazard a guess, suppose, imagine, ponder) of what the supply and price of oil will be in the future. In the stock market, this is referred to as "trading in futures." Often used for the wheat crop, or even pork bellies (bacon), trading in futures is guessing what might happen in the future, then betting for or against it. Well, we all know what is taking place in the Midwest, flooding. No corn. No wheat. There go the "futures."
After Hurricane Katrina, I blocked sender most of my email friends. Daily I was barraged with email forwards, which blamed the suffering in New Orleans on those who were suffering. These were the things that were said:
"They're not humble enough." Not humble? When their children were suffering?
"They're not grateful enough." Not grateful? When they were left in the blaring sun for five days?
That was not all, but they are the only two that I can stomach to share.
So, now, here we are, as Americans, facing a new Presidential election. It's hard to know who really cares. People are losing their homes, and they are being blamed for that loss. Jobs are disappearing, and fly-by-night money lenders are springing up like weeds in a cornfield.
Conservatives don't seem to care. My Gosh, Pat Buchanan has just written a book (that is selling quite well, by the way) which denies the Holocaust! What kind of monstrosity is this?! And the Liberals? Well, they smell burning meat, and they're all gathered around for a meal. The Bible says, where the carrion is, there the vultures will gather.
Wow! What a choice! McCain? Obama? Which one cares? Please God, which one is telling the truth? And, come on folks! Simply by serving in the military, no matter how tough your service, does not mean you care today. I'm a veteran. My husband is a veteran. Our children were raised in the military. I knew plenty of active duty military who didn't care. Caring doesn't happen in your head. Change doesn't take place in your habits or in what you say. Change happens in your heart. Only our hearts can change.
So, now, I'd like to hear a little truth. In fact, I'd like to hear a lot of truth. Senator McCain and Senator Obama, I want to know your hearts. I don't want to know what you did. I want to know what you will do. Party politics will pick you apart, down to your bones. The vultures are gathering, and the only thing that matters to me is your heart.
As a family, we are doing well, in a very oppressed region of the country. We thank God for that, but shouldn't every family in our society be well? Shouldn't we all expect to leave a better world for our children? We must! Because the only future we have on this planet is in our children.
So, Senator McCain. Senator Obama. Send hope. Send jobs. Send honor. And, by the grace of God, send compassion and truth.
Father in heaven, in this country shaken by floods, fire, drought and war, please send us a President who has a heart for the poor, and who speaks the truth.
Monday, June 23, 2008