Friday, January 23, 2009

Hello my name is Josh and I am a monster (or at least I have the tendency to be) pt. 2

So I realized that my original post was way too long, so I broke it up into two parts.

The last point I will bring up (there are so many more, enough to do a thesis on it) is that the ones that we hate, our "enemies" who have done atrocious and despicable acts against other human beings, are HUMAN and even HUMANE, in their own sort of way. You see we want our villains to be crazy pschyopaths so we can box them into a category and make ourselves feel better, knowing there is no way we can be like that. But the truth is that most villains are actually of a sound mind. They have completely plausible explanations for doing what they do that make just as much sense as the explanations we have for opposing them. In fact, if we listened to their reasons, we might even be swayed to their side.

They are also humane and have feelings, they are not cold-blooded killers with no conscience or morals. Some of the soldiers at Auschwitz, even though they killed countless numbers of Jews, saved some out of some sense of morals, otherwise Jews would be completely exterminated now. Those soldiers are not so different from the soldiers of the Indian war, or from the policemen who murdered and beat up blacks because of their color. I quote for Merton: "Given the right situation and another Hitler, places like Auschwitz can be set up, put into action, kept running smoothly, with thousands of people systematically starved, beaten, gassed and whole crematories going full blast. . . They will be glad because they instinctively welcome and submit to an ideology which enables them to be violent and destructive without guilt."

I say all this to say that I think the main point of Merton's book is to hate the atrocities, hate injustice, hate greed, hate the monsters of this world, but hate them in yourself, not in one another. That is why I am coming to grips with the fact that I am a monster. That, while I don't think I could systematically kill thousands of people (but who knows?), I can sit by and do nothing which would make me no better than their executioners. That until I confront the monsters in my soul, it will be impossible for me to begin to bring peace to this world. That without Christ, my life could have been just like the ones whom I have come to call "my enemy." 

Thanks for reading.

Hello my name is Josh and I am a monster (or at least I have the tendency to be)

So I just got done reading Thomas Merton's "Passion for Peace" which was an inspiring book to read. It was one of those books, that when you get done reading, you ask "What do I do now?" You can't just go on living like you never read it, and you can't not do anything, because that would be a great injustice. So I decided to read off some of the points that I got out of it. Here it goes.

The Root of all war is Fear. We fight and destroy each other because we fear one another and ourselves. We can not trust ourselves, so how can we trust one another? For if we don't strike first, we just give the other person the opening they need to destroy us. The reality is that neither one wants to destroy the other, but fear makes us think we have no other choice.

As Christians, we should be on the front line calling for the abolition of war. This is not some crazy unattainable ideal, but if we take Christ's words literally about "loving our enemy" and "praying for those who persecute you" then we realize that war is never an option.

Nonviolence does not mean passivity. Just because we are out killing or destroying other people does not mean we sit idly by while everyone else does it. That would in no way be Christ-like. In fact, I think we encourage violence by our own inactivity. Look at the Danish resistance to Hitler during World War II. They chose to hide Jews and refused to trade with Germany and resisted any attempt by Germans to remove Jews from Denmark. They did not wage war with Hitler or cry out that all Germans must be killed. Rather they stood up for what they knew was right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Whacky Computer

So my computer has been on the fritz for the last week or two, so my ability to be online has been minimal at best. This has not been a entirely bad thing. I have read more (hoping that continues even though my comp. is better), I have been able to access all my docs and calendar, so I have been able to set up meetings for support raising. So maybe not having constant internet access is a good thing after all, even though I am glad to have my computer back up and running. In light of that, I thought I would put some of the random thoughts that have gone through my head this past week.

-God has blessed me so much since I started support raising. I have had some great conversations that have been encouraging and have allowed me to expand my network. I really don't know what I did to deserve God's favor, but I hope and pray that it continues. Even if it doesn't. . .God is good. :)

-I am starting to understand that the abolition of war is not some crazy idea that nice to think about but can never happen. I believe it can and will happen. It has to begin with me though, and I constantly have to choose peace over war and nonviolence over violence everyday or else it will not work. Call me crazy, but I think it can happen.

-Willis McGahee has the worst luck when it comes to championship games. Seriously, the guy breaks his legs during the BCS championship game in 2002. He tore his ACL, PCL and MCL in his left knee. It was so bad that people thought he would never play football again, but he did. Then this past Sunday, during the AFC championship game, he gets hit so hard that he is knocked unconscious and has to be carted off the field. It turns out that it looks like he is going to be fine. This guy must have nine lives or something.

-The Arizona Cardinals are in the Super Bowl. Wow. Here's hoping they win.

Until next time. . .

Monday, January 12, 2009

Tony Dungy

So I have never been one to get too emotional when coaches leave or retire because their legacy was on the field and they probably did some good things, but nothing to get choked up about. But Tony Dungy was different. He left his mark on the field, turning around a dreadful Tampa Bay franchise and leading Indy to a Super Bowl. Oh and he is the only black coach to ever win a super bowl. That should speak volumes to everyone: it doesn't matter what color your skin is, but who you are inside of you. He also earned the respect of his player by his quiet yet firm demeanor and his genuine care for his player.

But that is not what defines Tony Dungy. What defines him is what he did off the field, and that is what makes him different. He has never been bashful about his faith, but he never tried to impose it on people. I honestly think he lives out the Gospel everyday, because he loves people genuinely and without a hint of condemnation. When his son committed suicide in 2005. He spoke about how, even though he was still grieving, all the good that had come from it. All the people whose lives had been changed because of this horrific event. He said: “Why does God allow pain in our life?” Dungy asked in his emotionally charged speech. “Because we’re loved by God and the pain allows us to head back to our Father.”

Tony Dungy retired from football, at the age of 53, so he could spend more time with his family and work with troubled and at-risk youth. He's going to work with youth in prison. He's going to try to be a father figure to them, because most of them have none. He's doing what Jesus wants him to do, and that is what makes him different. His legacy will go far beyond the football field, even if its not covered in the papers. Because Tony Dungy will be helping the least of these, and that is what makes him different from other people in this world.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January Reading List

So, in light of my friend Ryan's post about some of the music he is currently listening to, I decided to make a monthly reading list to let you in on the books that I am currently reading. Since I am not a fast reader, I wanted to do it monthly so that its not the same books every week and also to keep me accountable on reading because I don't want to be writing six months later and still be reading the same books. So without further ado here are the books I am currently reading:

The Bible - This one will be a constant on my list, but since I'm not reading the whole bible every month, the books I am currently reading through are Galatians, John, and Amos.

Passion for Peace, Thomas Merton - This is a very profound book about how to live out a non-violent and peaceful life in a violent world. Merton also calls for all Christians to call for abolition of war. I'm sure I'll talk about this issue in another post, but I am loving the book so far.

Check all that Apply, Sundee Tucker Frazier - This is a book about finding wholeness as a multiracial person. Mrs. Frazier is a multiracial person, and she talks about her struggles of feeling like she has to choose a side when in fact she is both and should not have to choose. I have two multiracial nephews, so I thought it was a good book to read.

The Inner Voice of Love, Herni J.M. Nouwen - This book will also be a regular for a while. It's a book compiled of Nouwen's journal entries during a time in his life when he doubted everything: his belief in others, himself and God. But even during that time, he wrote in his journal every day. This is not a book to read through, but to read a journal entry a day, so that is what I am doing with it.

As I read through these books, I will most likely write my thoughts on these books. Also, if you have any books you would like to recommend, please tell me about it. Also I love Henri Nouwen and Thomas Merton, so those books will be on here a lot.

Until next time. . . 

Friday, January 2, 2009

Memories of COAT

So as some of you know, I recently got done running a fireworks stand over the New Years. I have been doing this for the last few years, but mostly just being a night watchman. However this year I ran the tent in the day AND night. It was like I was camping for six days, except it was in an Albertsons parking lot not the woods. Why would I do this? So I can make 750 dollars and have money for bills next month. I did this so I could focus on support raising and not have to worry about a job for the time being. 

So I said in my last post that I would blog about some of my experiences with them. So here it goes.

Ryan aka Roomie: I roomed with Ryan during COAT and I could not have asked for a better roommate. We had shared some of our struggles during the first part of COAT, and formed a bond from that. Ryan was someone that was easy to talk to and someone I felt very comfortable around. I look forward to working with him in the CGO and strengthening our friendship.

Kristy and Lena: These girls were like sisters to me. They were great people to be around and both of them always brought a smile to my face every time I saw them. It was a blessing to get to know them over the past few months and I am excited to be working with Kristy in the CGO.

The Inchausteguis: This family was such a blessing to have in my life, I love their kids Isaac, Kaleb and Isabel and they are wonderful people who will do great work in Mexico.

Katie: I really enjoyed getting to know Katie and realizing her passion for babies and Neonatal care. Katie was the only girl who consistently showed up to Applebee's every Monday night and who wasn't afraid of random trips, such as to Miami to see Coldplay, which I heard was awesome; or to Tampa to see the ACC championship game, which was not so awesome. I am really excited for the ministry she will be doing in Kenya and excited for how God will use her.

Amy: Amy was the only person that I had heard of before coming to COAT. We have multiple friends in common and I had been told how great Amy was. She didn't disappoint and it was a blessing to get to know the person I had heard so much about. She is truly an amazing woman of God.

There are so many more that I could talk about, like the Millers, the Johnsons, Jessica, Angie, Elaine (who is tons of fun to be around), Sarah, Jenni, Paul and of course our fearless leaders Matt and Dan and of course all the people who work with NMSI that I could fill up a book with talking about, but I will leave you with that. COAT was such a blessing because of the people I have met and known. 

Until next time. . .