You know, I really have almost no fear about terrorists from foreign countries. I know the stats on the likelihood of being a victim, and my odds are very slim. For those whose lives have been affected, I know there is a different perspective. When any of us has our life changed by an event, it heightens our awareness of those types of things. And when they hurt we want to protect ourselves and others from them happening again. So I get why some people feel that way about terrorists, but I frankly don't share that fear.
What I fear far more are the hundreds of ways we are terrorizing each other here in the U.S. As the parent of a young adult with special needs, I am far more concerned with the hatred that our POTUS and cronies are fertilizing in my neighbor's heart and home, and when I'm honest and stop being self-vigilant for too long, the hatred being tempted in my own heart, hatred directed at the vulnerable of this world, and toward the powerful, too.
The tone of voice, the combative posture, the self-righteousness disregard of history, law, and reality, and the impulsively repulsive carnage being imposed into real people's lives is unconscionable. The lack of regard for basic human decency and contempt for those things which are beyond their own experience or far-too-limited capacity to comprehend is vile.
I don't actually hold very high expectations for government in general. I have never believed that our politicians are responsible for granting us the kind of life that, as a Jesus follower, I long for and work for. But there are certain standards of decency, postures of humility, perspectives of compassion, and a respect for humanity that I do believe serve as the hallmark for "successful" government.
Here in the U.S. I have always thought that what gave us our place of privilege in the world should be, and to a large extent has been, these things: decency, humility, compassion, humanity. Clearly we've not been perfect, for the conundrums of politics and nations frequently mean our officials are working in muddy waters. Republican administrations and democratic administration alike, I've felt for the most part that we've at least given it the 'ole college try.
I don't feel that way right now. I feel that our most powerful leaders, and many of us ordinary Americans, are instead more interested in proving self-righteousness, exercising unfettered power, satisfying greed, and perpetuating division.
Like many of you, I AM AFRAID, but what I am most afraid of is what we, of what I, am in danger of becoming. As I see it, the danger is not out there; it's in here - in my heart, and my hands, and my voice, and my actions.
Like each of you who've read this far, I love my family: my wife, our three kids, my parents, sister, cousins, you know, the whole deal. A special needs child has a unique place in the heart of a parent, and our son Ben in ours. But I am afraid for him, not because some terrorist hell-bent on destruction will come for us, but because YOU, yes YOU, my friend and neighbor and sister and brother, may fall prey to a heart of hatred.
It was Peter, one of his closest disciples, that denied Jesus three times. So before you say, "Not me," I implore you to stop, take a deep breath, and examine what is being birthed within you. Resistance is one thing; hatred is quite another.
The policies of our government will come and go. From my p.o.v. it's not primarily the policies that are the problem; it's the hardened hearts that are fashioning them, and the hearts, like yours and mine that are being shaped by them. We cannot give in. We. Cannot. Give. In. - to the hateful and dehumanizing forces that are wrestling for control.
I will start by examining what is within me. I will work, so that love will win. And, with God's help, I will not be afraid.