Thursday, August 10, 2017

Game of Drones: A Tale of Fire and Fury

Not much by way of a precursor. Felt a stirring and began reflecting.  

Game of Drones: A Tale of Fire and Fury

Winter is coming. 

We’re standing on the brink of destruction and watching with apathy. The fiery, irresponsible rhetoric of Kim Jon Un and Donald Trump is setting up an apocalyptic clash. It is the end of the world. No, it may not be the end of the world for you, but it will be for someone. Some woman who just started a business will be snuffed out. Some soldier with promise for leadership will be incinerated. Some child who has mastered beatboxing will choke on smoke. 

The world, engaging and living sphere it is, is not unaffected. It is being attacked from within by it’s residents. Ants setting fire to the anthill. A madman and an imbecile are given nuclear codes, without a doctor’s note verifying their capacity. Level heads do not prevail, but cower in obeisance. Learned heads who believe in their own invincibility make public bets on survival. Turbaned heads wonder why they are labeled the terrorists - and why their terror was not captured on HD cameras.

It will happen when least expected. There will be no screaming Dothraki or note-toting raven. Anonymous aeronautic arrows will injure the land. The tremors will rock the ground and drop buildings like sand castles. Fire will sear the nerve endings of creation. The radiation will linger so long that everything born afterward will be defected. In furious fantastical fashion, altars will become ashes. 

There will be no pirating of this future, no timely salvations, no unlikely resurrections. The end is near. Only one thing is certain, in the game of drones, you either win or you die. 


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Emanuel Nine (Words/Non-Words)

Below is a message I delivered today at the Durham VA Medical Center.  The Chaplain Service held a service of remembrance for the African-American men and women killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on Wednesday, June 17.

A reading from Jeremiah:*

I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.

Is there no medicine…? Is there no physician there?

Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?
If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered.

Here we sit in shock and sadness. Jeremiah’s words are true, but they aren’t enough.  They don't quite comfort.

In fact, no words are enough. I keep searching the news and reading to find the words to help but there aren't any.  Words are supposed to give meaning for what we feel, think and experience. Yet words do a poor job of explaining the violence that occurred at Emanuel AME church last Wednesday night.

Somehow the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. fall short, “that people not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.

Somehow the words of the Psalmist also ring hollow, “the Lord is a very present help in the time of trouble”.

What I'm finding is that we need something other than words.  We need the tears and the sorrow and the confusion and the anger.

It feels like we need none of the words and yet...

...we need all of the words.

We need to hear God is somewhere, somehow heartbroken with us. We need to read that we can love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to say that hope cannot be shot down.  We need to write that love cannot be killed. We need to recite stories of life and laughter and joy and kindness that exuded from these 9 men and women. We need all the words. All of the quotes and biographies and newspaper articles, the scriptures, poems, and prayers.

The medicine in these moments that Jeremiah asks for, the physician’s cure, is the ability to gather and note the beauty and brokenness of humanity. The medicine is in the remembering. Today, we remember the legacy of 9 special people who served their God and their fellow person faithfully. May God continue to use these divine nine to shape the world we live in. May our words and non-words be acceptable in God’s sight.

*Jeremiah 8:24-25 - 9:1