The number is 300,000

While our shallow “journalistic” coverage, only driven by our shallow American desire for, well, all things American and culturally relevant to us… and can really stir up controversy on social media… fixates on one county in Kentucky, the story we refuse to pay attention to, among so many, is the immigrant crisis in Europe.

As we allow the man with the hair problem wax elephants on “immigration” by saying, well, absolutely nothing, we are missing the larger story of a true immigration crisis. Because it is currently in Europe, we ignore it and it will be to our own detriment. We can’t connect dots very well. But that’s an easy call since the numbers of “journalists” in one county in Kentucky now probably outnumbers the actual population of the county.

300,000 is the number. That is how many immigrants have flowed into Europe so far this year. It is a 40 percent increase over ALL of last year. And it’s the first week in September.

If you want one number to explain the mass movement today, start with 60 million. The U.N. says there are 60 million people displaced worldwide — the most since the U.N. started keeping records and the most since World War II.

We are facing a worldwide crisis that we somehow can’t find the time to cover in the United States. ISIS has displaced 3 million, while millions more flee other Middle East and North African conflicts and repressive regimes.

2500 have lost their lives trying to get to freedom. Now millions are stuck in areas because Europe doesn’t know what to do, and smugglers are profiting off of people desperate to make it anywhere safe.

The numbers don’t mean anything, do they?

300,000

2500

Blah, blah, blah.

How about this number: ONE

One picture. A picture of a little boy’s body washed up on a shore. A picture that finally got out and around the world and made us stop for an oh so brief moment and possibly get a tear in our eye.

Five years old. Him, his brother, his mother all lost to the sea and their bodies washed up as they tried to find freedom.

The number is not 300,000. The number is ONE. One picture can turn things around. The question is this: will you let it?

Will you let a picture haunt your soul. Really. I mean it. HAUNT you.

It haunts me. I’ve had times when I couldn’t stop crying thinking of that picture. That boy. The father weeping on TV.

And I think, “What am I doing? What is MY life that I just go on about my business?”

But we all have lives to live. It’s not necessarily about dropping everything and going to Syria. For some, that may be the answer.

Yet, I am drawn again to that number: ONE.

300,000 I get blown away by. ONE. That can mean something.

So… what do I do? Drop everything and find a way to Syria? To Turkey? To France?

No. I’ve asked. I have honestly asked. And the answer is this: “Find the ONE where you are where you can invest in their life and their spiritual body doesn’t end up washed up on some spiritual shore.”

Invest in one.

For me, it’s getting involved in mentoring. I’m pumped for it. I had a kid last year I absolutely loved being with week after week. I long for that again.

ONE. The number is ONE. Right where you are.

Will you do THAT?

Help us care. Help us pray!

More persecution. How we need to lift up the Body of Christ in prayer!

Bishop Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, underscored the Ethiopians’ testimony.

“Once again we see innocent Christians murdered purely for refusing to renounce their faith,” he said in a statement.

“As Christians, we remain committed to our initial instinct following the murder of our 21 Coptic brothers in Libya, that it is not only for our own good, but indeed our duty to ourselves, the world, and even those who see themselves as our enemies, to forgive and pray for the perpetrators of this and similar crimes,” he said. “We pray for these men and women, self-confessed religious people, that they may be reminded of the sacred and precious nature of every life created by God.”

The devaluing of human life

Usually when it comes to war and use of force, especially use of troops, media sources like The New York Times are fairly pacifist. (Depending on the president in office at the time and their political party, of course.) Generally speaking, many media outlets back off the calling for use of force.

But this editorial in The New York Times was strident.

They want force against ISIS. NOW. Tough words are laid down in this piece:

Will the world do nothing to stop extremist groups…

And this:

But the United Nations says it is largely powerless to deal with the threat, and Western governments claim they have more urgent military objectives.

This is dangerously wrong.

And this:

Why hasn’t the international community responded?

I’ve certainly asked questions like this of the media before. Where IS your outrage?

The difference is this: I am burdened over the loss of life. There is a systematic persecution raging in many part of the world against Christians. Thousands displaced. Thousands killed. Slaughter every week that should shock us. Al-Shabaab killed 148 Christians in Kenya last week. Targeted them in a university and shot them.

The outrage The Times has over ISIS? National treasure… STUFF… is being destroyed. It took the destruction of artifacts for the paper to shout, “Why aren’t we nuking these people???”

Not one word in this piece about the extreme loss of human life. It’s not even that they’re silent on Christians being slaughtered. It’s any religious group. The silence, as they say, is deafening.

It is the height of hypocrisy and it is revealing of a soul all at the same time. I could call it an “elitist” attitude or a “liberal” attitude, but that’s just too narrow. What it is… is scary. People of influence, people of means, people of persuasion who sit back and say nothing about the loss of human life… and if they do they will hesitate to show the loss is due to religious affiliation… but destroy a painting and they are ready to call for nuclear war.

This is the world they want. A world without religion in the public square. They don’t want people going “all moral” on them about the value of human life. This is a world where “freedom of religion” is about the “individual” and their right to keep their religion to themselves… just don’t drag it out there for the public to see.

This isn’t about conservative or liberal theology, or conservative or liberal Christianity. This is about a deep desire in those spouting off a false belief in the “progressive improvement” of humanity without religion getting their ultimate way. The value system is warped, and it’s on full display in this ridiculous opinion piece. Center stage.

Religion at its core isn’t the problem. It’s the insistence on not having religion in the public square adding to the debate that is the problem. Without religion in the public square, there is the false belief that humanity will only get “better and better” and if there are problems in this world, it is religion that is at fault.

It is not religion. It is human. Humanity has a problem. At our core, we want to be the little gods. We want to be in ultimate control. And left to our own devices… we don’t improve ourselves very well. We tend to start world wars and find more ways to destroy people than ever before. That’s not religion. That’s humanity.

But a world with less religion, and by that if it means fewer religious people, so be it, is a GOOD thing… in their view. Just save the artwork!

Where is the outcry

I understand the world, the media, etc., just won’t give the coverage to what is happening all over the world to Christians. True suffering. 

But, it is there, and we need to see it. Lord, hear our prayers!

The Pope addressed it in his Easter message.

“Today we see our brothers persecuted, decapitated, crucified for their faith in you, under our eyes and often with our complicit silence,” the pope said after the traditional Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) procession through Rome on Friday, which recreates Christ’s last hours before he was crucified.

Let us see the suffering. Let us pray.

Jews go away!

Jeffrey Goldberg asks the question, “Is it time for Jews to leave Europe?” Somehow that is seen as an “intelligent” question.

David Brooks has a more thoughtful response to the rising anti-Semitism brewing once again in Europe.

Thousands of Jews a year are just fleeing Europe. But the best response is quarantine and confrontation. European governments can demonstrate solidarity with their Jewish citizens by providing security, cracking down — broken-windows style — on even the smallest assaults. Meanwhile, brave and decent people can take a page from Gandhi and stage campaigns of confrontational nonviolence: marches, sit-ins and protests in the very neighborhoods where anti-Semitism breeds. Expose the evil of the perpetrators. Disturb the consciences of the good people in these communities who tolerate them. Confrontational nonviolence is the historically proven method to isolate and delegitimize social evil.

For our morally relativistic society in the U.S., it is past time to wake up and realize that real evil exists. For our “shoot first, ask questions later” subset, we need to realize there are more reasoned, peaceful, powerful ways to confront evil as well.

The Jewish (and Christian) Question

Today is pull the pin and roll the grenade into the room day.

Let’s start with an article detailing the genius marketing ploy of evangelical Christians to say America is a Christian nation. Have fun.

Then the chilling one. Over the weekend I watched an older movie on Amazon Prime called “The Conspiracy.” It was a film dedicated entirely to the meeting among the Nazi regime in WWII that set in motion the plan for the full extermination of the Jews from Europe. Monday I listened to an interview with an author about his piece in the Atlantic Monthly asking the question, “Is It Time for the Jews to Leave Europe?”

Read. Think. Pray.