I cried on my way to work this morning. It felt appropriate with the news in Nice, of Taliyah Marsman and her mother Sarah Baillie. I didn’t know them, any of them, but my heart is broken a thousand ways.

There are a million posts popping up on social media everywhere. How sad it is, how sickening it is, how we need to hold our little ones close.

I should be working, but I can’t think about transcripts while all this keeps running through my head. Perhaps I shouldn’t write upset. Instead I’m thinking about what other mundane thing I can quit so I can love people – all people – more, love them better, love them more truly.

You probably won’t make it through this post. And, that’s fine. It’s almost expected. I know sometimes my words are cutting, but today, that is my hope. This is for those of us on the cusp of crazy. Those of us who cannot handle not being part of the change anymore. I’ve decided there’s a bit of a process, but we can make a difference if we pause, process, and make some plans, so keep reading. Those of you who don’t fit such a category of crazy, can stop reading now.

I wonder if we’ve heard enough about the violence against women yet? I wonder if we will only ever share the dangers, the pitfalls, the horrors once they’ve made themselves apparent because of yet another murder. I wonder if we’ll keep posting scripture and quotes appropriate for the day all of this stuff makes headlines, but then fail to like, to share, to speak up or speak out against these things on the days we aren’t hearing about murdered mothers and daughters struggling to keep their life.

One in four women will be sexually assaulted at least one time in their life. One in four. Church, how many women have entered your sanctuary doors? And, how many sermons have been spoken on recognizing signs, seeking help, finding freedom. It’s practical, I know. It’s for small groups, I know. But it’s also for the pulpit, for the podcast, for the world, isn’t it?

Please don’t get me wrong. I love the church (the people who create community together). I love the effort and intention. But being one hair off true north sets you on a totally different course.

I wonder if we’ve heard too much of those trying to flee hatred; of the children who are dying daily while crossing oceans to find refuge. I wonder if we’ve heard at all about the young women with rifles on their backs, holding their family close while they travel over piles of dust and sand to find safety. Have we? Have we heard too much? Not enough? When do we connect the dots and act? When do we start making this stuff an every day thing, because my friends, this is an every day thing.

I wonder if we, the church community, will continue creating a million programs to keep us inside the walls of churches to fill pews while our men, women, and children are loading guns and dying literally outside our doorsteps. The ones who never make it to a small group, a community event, a church.

I wonder when we start addressing violence (in the heart, in the home, in assault, in bullying, in the name of peace), mental illness and addiction; when ‘church fellowship’ becomes real life friendship, when good vibes only becomes it’s tough to hear but I promise it’s good, when discussion becomes blatant calling out, and when the church and its community will get over its building and programming and into the lives of broken people silently dying, just a home or two away from our own.

 

I can’t change the world. You can’t change it either. But we can change our perspective. We can change our focus. We can change the way we do life. While one person can’t change the world, we can all make a difference in someone’s life, and shouldn’t that mean the world to us?

I’d like to propose a few ideas to you.

  1. Pause: It would be easy to simply speak out loud when we hear about events like the murder of Sarah and Taliyah. Before speaking up, realize you’re taking a position. And, if you are taking a position, you have a responsibility to that position. You cannot simply say something about the world gone wrong and then move on to your lunch plans. That’s seriously messed up.
  2. Process: It’s really important to process what happens in our world. Too often I see social media posts, and then people move right along. Don’t do that. Don’t be that person. Process what you’ve been made aware of! Mourn the sadness of it all, don’t just repost what family and friends of the victims have to mourn every moment if you don’t plan to do the same thing.
  3. Plan: Maybe you’re involved in a great cause already. Don’t feel the pressure to start doing a thousand other things. That’s my downfall; I want to be part of everything, always. It’s impossible to do so. However, many of you are doing lots of useless things in the grand scheme of life. Stop that. Plan for a better life by getting involved. For some of you, that means opening up your home more. For others, that means signing up to be a mentor at the youth correctional facility. Whatever it is, plan it, and then go do it.

See, when I do it this way, I’m not always caught up in the depressing parts of life. In fact, I’m excited by the difference I can make, simply by being part of someone’s life in a way that actually matters to them. And, a way that will actually matter to me. We’ve all been through something that has changed our life, and it typically started as being an awful event. Why don’t you take some time to pause, process, and plan for that very same issue to become the goodness you invest in. Maybe it is violence against women. Maybe it’s more real talk with your friends. Perhaps it’s choosing different sermon outlines. Maybe it’s nothing, but I just keep hoping for both you and I that it could be something.

Did you know in Nice, a man jumped into the cab and started wrestling with the man who was throwing grenades at civilians? They’re calling him a hero. Not because he saved the day or all of those people, but because he seen a problem, got up, risked a little, and wrestled an issue likely bigger than he thought he could handle. An issue that may even take his life, literally.

I know, I know. I probably shouldn’t write when I’m upset. But I wondered if we’d heard enough to really start acting yet.