There’s been much written and said since Saturday’s tragedy in Arizona. I’ve thought about how we’re all so vulnerable to being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or in the case of those who saved lives, the right place at the right time. I’ve also been thinking about how we always seem to have such knee-jerk reactions to these type of occurrences. We’re all so very quick to point fingers and to lay blame because we demand retribution. We neglect to step back and seriously contemplate the consequences of our actions. When I say ‘we’ I mean both as individuals and as a nation/government.
As a nation or in regard to our government, I’ve seen the following question asked in retrospect and have often wondered myself, “what if we’d thoroughly thought through the consequences of our actions in our response(s) to 9/11?”
Regarding our individual reactions; whether we’re reacting in conversation around the water cooler at work or now, more often than not, the vast virtual world of social networking; where we all too often post before we take time to digest and think reasonably about an issue. I wonder what if a couple friends of mine would have thoroughly thought through the consequences of their actions? What if in their rush to judge others with their knee-jerk accusatory Internet posts they’d taken time not to succumb to faithless energy against reason. If they had taken that time to reflect, to contemplate, they might still be ‘social network’ friends. Sadly, I’m wondering what this means to those individuals who happen to have real, face to face contact with one another through family connections, work or other various ‘real world’ encounters?
Sadly, I feel that many around us are filled with perpetual fear. I call it an exertion of faithless energy against reason. We don’t take the time to think or surmise like we used to. We’ve been swept into the Internet world of instant gratification and where fast just never seems to be fast enough. We’re overloaded with information and partisan opinions lacking in any real analytical thinking or factual basis.
Scores of homeless sleep in cardboard boxes under bridges, more and more people are giving up looking for gainful employment, a child suffers from hunger, addicted teens cry out for help, volunteering young men and women are dying in a land far away to protect our freedoms, inner city youth exchange gunfire over territorial gang related issues or drugs or disrespect and then there’s the psychotic lunatic who buys a gun and leaps upon the world stage for all to see committing unspeakable heinous violence. The sense of innocence, our pursuit of happiness and tranquility is suddenly and viciously ripped apart in a hail of indiscriminant spraying of bullets. Lives are lost , headlines begin flooding the airwaves and the blame game commences in the virtual world. Major league conjecture season begins with the pitching of incomplete information. Accusations fly from keyboards in a whirlwind of unfounded and baseless tirades.
I admit, I’ve done it, that whole leaping before you look thing. Why are we so susceptible to it? Don’t get me wrong the Internet is a great place, but it’s all in how we use it. Just like television. Does anyone remember what the famed pioneering TV journalist, Edward R. Murrow said of the future of television?
“This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.”
Faithless energy against reason will get the best of us unless we decide to take the time to be faithful, to expel our energy and time in respectful contemplation and meaningful dialogue with those who we disagree with; to reason and perhaps, in the end, learn something about others and heaven forbid perhaps we might even learn something about ourselves.
The deaths this past weekend should bring us together in prayer and remembrance for the souls that were lost and the souls of those saved. It should not ignite us into raging partisan political fury and fear. Living in a world of perpetual fear is not the answer.
Comedy Central's, Jon Stewart had some interesting somber comments regarding the shooting tragedy, he said, "I urge everyone: Read up about those who were hurt and or killed in this shooting," Stewart said. "You will be comforted by just how much anonymous goodness there really is in the world. You read about these people and you realize that people that you don't even know, that you have never met, are leading lives of real dignity and goodness. And you hear about crazy, but it's rarer than you think."
|Hanover Co., VA Habit for Humanity|
Unfortunately most of the good in the world goes unnoticed, unreported and unrecognized. What if as followers of Jesus we were as dedicated to leap into action to speak, write or exclaim at the instance of any good deed being done in the world? What if BREAKING NEWS consisted of just stories of joy and compassion happening in the world or perhaps there were live reports about the burning bushes we ignorantly pass by. Optimistically, I think if we just gave that approach a chance we'd be very surprised at how many good people there are in the world doing a myriad of compassionate and uplifting things. The trouble is that the 'noise' is really deafening. Let's stop the promotion of hate and the faithless energy against reason that tries to drown out all the good in the world.
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.