Wandering Thoughts

I haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks. Mainly because I’ve been thinking way too much about everything. I’ve started and put a pause on several posts because I couldn’t bring myself to finish thoughts that I am still processing.

Just over two weeks ago, we were struck by hatred and fear. A man with a gun made a choice to kill as many people as he could. I personally believe that he was a disturbed individual who was struggling to comprehend who he was. He wanted his name to be remembered, so he pledged himself to something he didn’t fully understand, but something that accepted his confusion nonetheless.

We have listened to so-called experts talk about how guns are dangerous and how if we make them illegal, everyone will comply. We have engaged in debates about safety, the right to carry, and how our society has been defined by people killing one another.

Last week, I shared the following video on Facebook:

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve done a lot of thinking. With all the negativity in the world, it can be really easy to continue that trend and let it consume your life.

We watch the news every night and all it seems to be is more bad news. More violence in the middle east. New terror attacks. The threat of ISIS. Another law enforcement officer killed. Another shooting.

We can either let these events define us. Or we can change the way we react and respond. We must change the way we allow these events to shape the way we see the world.

You see, we need to change how we think about our society and make the changes within ourselves to create a better future for all of us.

Here’s the facts: Our world is no longer safe. We live in a world filled with danger. We live in a world where our daughters and sisters have to walk through life looking over their shoulders because of the constant threat of someone taking advantage of them. We have to be aggressive at every moment because showing fear or hesitation is seen as weakness.

We live in a broken world. We live in a world where it seems like hope is a sliver of light in the distance.

If we want change, if we want to make a safer world for both ourselves and those who follow in our footsteps, we must be the spark that lights the fire in the night.

Does this mean I know what to do? Absolutely not.

But what I do know is that if we don’t change, our society will only get worse. If we don’t teach our brothers and sisters to respect one another, to value peace and acceptance, and to live in harmony with one another and the world around us, everything that we value could be lost to hate and fear.

I was listening to a conversation the other day and heard something that has been ringing in my head for the past couple days: “We must teach our children to fight with all the love that is in their heart.”

If you can love, you can fight. And if we fight, we still have hope. And if we have hope, we have the power to win.

Maybe later, I will share my thoughts on gun control, safety in our schools and work places, and the fear that is driving us to hate those we don’t understand. But now is not the time.

Now is the time for hope.


It Is Well With My Soul

This morning, we woke to the devastating news of the mass shooting in Orlando. They are calling it the deadliest mass shooting in American history. Two hours of terror that ended with over a hundred dead or wounded.

I woke up this morning and saw how close this hits to home as I checked social media. I immediately turned on the news and watched it diligently as I waited to hear from the last of several friends who I knew were down in Orlando.

Even now, there are more questions than answers.

I almost didn’t go to the Gathering this evening, but I decided that I needed to be surrounded by the community that has become my family. Right before I left, I checked my phone one last time and was relieved to see that the last person I know in Orlando had checked in through Facebook to let family and friends know that they were safe. Another good friend had located their significant other who was in the club at the start of the shooting.

One of the things about the Radius community in Greenville is that we don’t always act like a church. The organic nature of this community has led us into a study of prayer and growing closer to the Spirit and Truth of prayer. Tonight, we reflected on how our worship leads us closer to the truth about God and our connection to the Holy Spirit, focusing on the songs we sing.

And through this process, I remembered that no matter what happens in this world, whether it be a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or a struggle of faith, God is there with us. And no matter what, no matter how strong the winds or the waves get, if we focus on God in those moments, we will find the peace in the storm.

We live in a world where acts of terrorism have become part of every day life. We live in a world where people hate others who they have not made the attempt to know as individuals.

But I also know that we live in a world where there is hope found in love.

One of the last songs we sang was a modern rendition to the traditional hymn written by Horatio Spafford, “It Is Well With My Soul.”

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

It was a simple reminder that even though the world is suffering, my soul is at peace because of my trust in the Lord. And the best weapon we have against violence is unconditional love.

And right now, that is what the world needs. Love