School Tragedy.

What does the person who has just experienced a tragedy of unimaginable evil such as what happened recently in Florida do immediately after hearing the news? When your son/daughter left that morning with the books and homework in the backpack, you reminded him/her to pay attention, and . . . . “I love you . . . . see you later”.

A friend calls. You tune into breaking news. You drive to the school. You’re holding your breath. You want to see him/her running to you. You couldn’t imagine the horror, but now you see it. Police everywhere. Sirens blazing. Students running. Yellow tapes. Helicopters hovering. Cameras and reporters. Parents wanting to know.

Sorry. Your son/daughter was killed.

Weep. Cry till the eyes dry. Weep some more. Pray. Grab a pillow and weep. Do not disturb me?  I want some answers God. Why? Why? That was a good school. Why here? Peacefully attending school as he/she had done 5 days a week for the last 12 years. Why? Why Mine? Why would someone do such a thing? Why? Oh God I need your help. Weep some more. And now you must make decisions. Arrangements. Casket. Grave site. Funeral Service. Family time. Time alone. Weep again. More decisions. More arrangements. Try to keep a stiff upper lip holding back the tears as friends and relatives come by expressing their sorrow.

When the week passes, the loss returns in the morning as the school bell rings, every evening as expectations of their return from school you weep some more. Every evening sitting at the dinner table trying to keep the conversations on the light side. I should have told him/her I love you more often. I never should have done that. Oh, why did I ever say such and such?  I should have been a better mother/father. I should have bought that for him/her. We should have gone on that vacation.

Why? Oh God, if you’re real, why did you let this happen? Why?

 

An answer came: “I’ve been kicked out of schools.”

Tolerating the intolerant.

Over the past few days as the events within this freedom loving country of ours takes the news by storm evolving and escalating to the point that even those who do not keep-up with the news as our busy life demands upon our time, know once civil society is getting out of hand into the weird.  Most likely, you’ve heard about the student uprisings on college campuses demanding a complete stop to offensive behavior and/or speech. One event recently captivated my attention that sums up all the others. A Wooster college in Ohio sit in, students taking over Galpin Hall on January 24, 2018.

“The students demand that all new students and faculty be required to enroll in a ‘cultural competency training course’ that will begin during orientation week and continue throughout the whole first year. The Center of Diversity and Inclusion will determine the content of this training course, but it must be submitted to the student activists for review at least once a year.” [a]

Hmm? And here I had thought that the American civil behavior toward each other was already an ingrained part of cultural competency was based on the Judeo-Christian admonition that we must treat others the way we would like to be treated. On the most part we were kind, considerate, respectful, easy going, saying ‘thank you’, ‘you’re welcome’, ‘I’m sorry’, ‘is there anything I can do’, opening the door for the elderly and ladies, patiently waiting in line, preferring others the right of way, putting a check on our tongue during family gatherings and the office coffee break, respecting the property of others, politely disagreeing without being disagreeable and on and on we’d act day-in day-out.

Perhaps I’ve been wrong and that there’s another side to: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Matt 7:12

Now the student’s demand “safe zones”, a nice quiet place where they can feel safe from unwanted interruptions, conversations, some zones even offering coloring books and crayons to help escape the bigotry of others. Bigotry is defined as: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

Hmm? So, as a Christian if I stand by and say anything whatsoever about my faith which you disagree with then I’m guilty and intolerant, I’m silenced and found guilty being punished for “hate speech”, and you’ll go to a safe zone to recuperate.  Just yesterday, a creationist speaker was dis-invited to speak on campus. Evidently his talk would have been offensive. A mayor has issued subpoenas of the sermons of the local pastors in case any kind of “hate speech” was involved.

Is society now facing a new ‘social revival’ of sorts.

Does this current generation look at America as having a long history of bigotry?  Yes, you can say that America has a history of being bigoted toward others not of their own kind.

The US was established as a democratic-republic based on Judeo-Christian morality of right and wrong, but our actual history has been filled with intolerance. Our frontiersmen pushed the natives out as our expansion into the west developed. The Indians were not wanting to be engaged with the ‘white man’ and his ways. The same was true for the millions of Europeans immigrating here: Scandinavians found other Scandinavians to live near. Italians desired to live near other Italians, the Jews with the Jews. The same with the French, the Germans, Spanish, Chinese and Japanese. They tolerated others but desired companionship of their own kind. It was part of the American dream: one nation under God, indivisible and with liberty to all. Tolerating the others while desiring fellowship with their own kind rather than forced diversity.

America does have a long history of bigotry toward “blacks, or people of color” being brought here and sold as slaves to the land owners in the south and the rich of the north. The free ones in the north expanding westward sought to live near and with their own kind. The southern states forced total separation, which did not end until Lincoln signed the bill officially ending slavery and ML King gave his famous speech. It was bigotry. It was intolerance. But haven’t we moved on from there?

Both sides of my parents were Swedish immigrants. At first we lived near other Swedes and went to a dominate Swedish church, then moved to a varied neighborhood where the high school in the 50’s of Chicago had been integrated with a few ‘black’ students living in near-by neighborhoods. That was my first encounter with those of dark colored skin and we behaved in school with tolerance; some playing football or basketball and in the band. Back in those days there were a few students who just didn’t fit the boy hormones of flirting with girls. They walked and talked differently without any outwardly shown affections for boys instead of girls. We’d quietly snicker ‘queer’. It was a considered a private matter.

We’ve come a long way since those days. Now it’s common to see integrated marriages, neighborhoods, schools and churches. Europeans with Asians, blacks with whites, browns with blacks, with Asians. Families with mixed children. Mixed together tolerating all. The brotherhood of man, as Christianity says all humankind came from the same heritage going back to the first male and female through the lines of Noah and his family; middle-eastern Arabs. Our differences are only outward appearances in skin tone and facial make-ups, that’s all, simply a fact of mixing biological genes over the centuries.

Yes, America does have a long history of intolerance towards those of a different shade and we’ve come a long way to overcome those prejudices. Now there’s this new side that is being highlighted, that of the intolerances toward the LGBT’s demanding complete open tolerance of their life choices and doing away with what they call as ‘white-privilege’. Elementary Schools are telling the kiddies that having two daddies, or two mommies is normal, that’s it’s natural for a boy to dress like a girl if that is her desire and wanting to use the girl’s locker room is fine, and even competing against girls running track is wonderful.

And, another side to this upheaval is that of those desiring the right to abort the life growing within at any time for any reason. Sexual freedom outside marriage without consequences. It’s also been noted that less and less of the younger generations are attending church on a regular basis as evolutionary atheism gains more ground denying coaches pre-game prayer time with their team, denying students to hold bible studies outside class, denying parents to instill Christian ethics in their children.

So, where are we headed as a society?  How will the future look?

As the wind blows.

I was recently out for a walk on a windy day when my cap flies off my head being blown vertically down the street. I turned around and chased it, caught it and secured it more firmly over the thin haired scalp of mine to continue the walk through the neighborhood streets. The wind caught my full un-divided attention to recover the cap.

This morning as I was reading an article in which the author had used the definition of love as presented in Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians 13:4-8.  Reading those three words ‘Love is patient’ was like that wind causing me to turn and read the verse again, and again and there I saw it differently than any of the other countless times I’ve read these verses in the past.

Patience is putting a restriction upon myself.

It’s something that I choose to do. Bite my tongue and wait in patience. I must choose to be kind to others. Boasting is a choice. Acting proud is a choice. Speaking of ill to another is a choice. All these actions are choices I should make. A choice to not get angry when put down. I must not keep records of hurts others may have done to me. Love is keeping those emotions being tossed to and fro by the winds in check.

Patience is a check on my behavior.

Oh, if the Almighty Creator God and Lord had not patience with his final creation, then there’d be no me, no us, no others to love. God showed patience with Lot. God had patience for Noah and his family, but lost it with everyone else. God had patience by causing the sea to part for Moses and the Israelites, losing it with the Egyptians.

The enduring patience of God was exhibited to all of us at the cross of Calvary.