Philippians 1:15-18. Huh.
Churches destroyed in Syria
Lord have mercy…
Everyone, please, pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters!
"There used to be widespread sharing of sacred space. I have seen Syrian Christians coming to sacrifice sheep at the Muslim shrine of Nebi Uri, while at the nearby Christian convent of Seidnaya, I found the congregation in the church consisted not principally of Christians but instead of heavily bearded Muslim men and their shrouded wives. As the priest circled the altar with his thurible, the men prayed as if in the middle of Friday prayers at a great mosque. Their women, some dressed in full black chador, mouthed prayers from the shadows of the narthex. A few, closely watching the Christian women, went up to the icons and kissed them. They had come, so they told me, to Our Lady of Seidnaya, to ask her for children. Now that precious multi-ethnic and multi-religious patchwork is in danger of being destroyed forever."
— William Dalrymple, A Point of View: A long winter for Christians in the Middle East
If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
“I have plowed and planted and gathered into barns, and no man could head me—and ain’t I a woman?
I have born’d five childrun and seen ’em mos’ all sold off into slavery, and when I cried out with mother’s grief, none but -Jesus heard—and ain’t I a woman?
… Den dat little man is back dar, he say women can’t have as much rights as man, ’cause Christ warn’t a woman.
Whar did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!
Man had nothing to do with him!”
- Sojourner Truth; African-American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate
"I went to work with a fever one day, and I was trying to pull out a screw when the crowbar dislodged and hit me across the face. Two days later, I started to see a pink spray behind my right eye. They tried many surgeries, but over two months, my vision slowly faded to nothing until I was completely blind in the eye. My balance was ruined. I felt dizzy. I could barely walk. I spent $16,000 on surgeries, and then the hospital sued me for $40,000, even though they failed to save my eye. I was so sad and angry at myself, that I did nothing for a year and a half. I lost my house, my car, everything. Then one day, my friend said to me that he had an important job for me to do. And it was a very small job, but he gave me $1,000. He knew I wouldn’t take charity, so this was his way of giving me charity— overpaying me for a job. That was the way he was— Atilla Tetik is his name, from Long Island. And even though the $1,000 was a big help, seeing that I could finish a job made me feel powerful. And I immediately started working again."
The first person who saw your face was delighted by you. Isn’t that something? You managed to bring joy only by breathing.
Your mother will occasionally peek through the cracks of your door when you are sleeping, even now, to make sure that she can see the movements of your chest.
The boy who kissed you in the park last night isn’t in love with you, he won’t even stay, but he meant every second of those minutes.
You’ll walk a city street that your feet have never touched before and you’ll be terrified of getting lost and that feeling is what’ll help you find the way home.
You’ll give your money to a homeless man and he will hold your hand firmly between his and he will say ‘thank you so, so much’ and isn’t that something?
There’s a piece of music that makes your heart feel like it’s bleeding. Listen to it. Listen to it again.
When was the last time you paused to stare at night time?
Did you know that there is at least one person in your life who will jump in front of a hail of bullets for you, without your asking.
Your entire body is made of nerves. Feel things.
Take walks in places you’ve never been.
Take photographs of people not everyone considers beautiful. Find loveliness in them.
Let go of the things that are killing you from the inside out.
One day you’re going to be part of the sky, you’re going to be that beautiful and that necessary but not today. Not today.
In the worst oppressions and betrayals, hatred and anger are not only understandable responses, they are right. They reflect a deep sense of justice that is missing in pleas for, in Nietzsche’s terms, the ascetic ideal of “patience.” Yet, although it may be popular in the Christian mainstream to appeal to passages about divine vengeance (while these do not stand alone to other texts about mercy’s triumph, nor are they self-interpreting), hatred cannot be the final response. It is not that Christians are “permitted” to choose between revenge and forgiveness; if anything is clear, it is both that “vengeance” is God’s right, not ours, and that Christians are obligated to hope for restoration. The paradigm case of this is none other than that of God’s struggle with Israel in Hosea 11. God indicates that what separates God from mortals is precisely the ability not to execute fierce anger, not to come in wrath but to forgive and make new. We should not recommend hatred as an adequate response precisely because of its obvious effects as a habit. We do not need excuses to hate, to desire vengeance, to return evil for evil; alas, they are already deeply ingrained into the world.