As a child born in South Korea, I was taught that every North Korean is evil. As an adult, I found myself face to face with one.
It didn't eliminate war. Still, it transformed international relations.
How can we overcome our anxiety? And should we even try?
If we are to understand the delivering power of Jesus’ coming and presence on the earth, we must un-domesticate the Jesus story.
I, like many people of faith, am reeling from Jerry Falwell Jr.’s proclamations to his student body. Falwell encouraged the students of Liberty University (there are more than 100,000 of them) to arm themselves against Muslim terrorists. His rhetoric reminded me of a bumper sticker I see here in Tennessee: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”
Christmas is more complicated now, with its layers of meaning. Joy can no longer be wrapped up with a tidy bow. But, for me, this year, since I cannot have the world as it ought to be, I’m determined to find beauty in the yearning.
A few years ago, while wandering through the Old City of Jerusalem, I stumbled upon a spray-painted sign on the side of a small factory building. It called out in English: “We need peace.” It seemed to me like a modern-day cry of “hosanna” coming from the people of Jerusalem.
As church leaders, we have our ears, hearts, and words. We pray that God will use them. But we also have limitations--time, energy, and ability. And even though we feel helpless, like we can never do enough, sometimes being the person who takes the picture, who tells the story is our most important job.
Those of us in violence-plagued neighborhoods look forward to winter's reprieve. Our teenagers understand Advent waiting all too well.