change is often sudden

“Grief does not change you, Hazel.
It reveals you.”

John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

For the past couple of days I’ve been ruminating of the notion of both change and tradition.

Today, or actually yesterday if you are reading this on Tuesday, the world of change hit me
in both the head and heart.

On Monday morning I had gotten a push notification from one of the Atlanta news channels.
There had been an early morning chase between a speeding car going 111 mph on I-20,
just outside of Carroll County…our former county home.
The Georgia State Patrol responded.

It was in the wee hours, around 3 AM—the car first complied by stopping for the State Patrolman,
but as soon as the officer exited his patrol car, the suspects suddenly opted to speed off.
Upon fleeing, the occupants of the car began firing from the car at the State Trooper.
The chase moved from the interstate into Carroll county proper…again, our former county.
Both local sheriffs and local police all responded.

The car fired upon a Carrollton Police Officer’s vehicle and two Carroll County
patrol cars.
Three law enforcement officers were shot.
The Carrollton Police Sergeant who responded to the call was shot and in turn
lost control of his vehicle, crashing into a power pole.
The suspects kept firing on each responding law enforcement vehicle.

Eventually, one of the suspects was killed while the other, a 22 year old male,
was apprehended and taken into custody.

I was doing my regular Monday morning grocery run when I got a text from a friend
back home.
She asked if I’d seen the news…the news about the chase and the three officers shot.

It turns out that the Carrollton sergeant who was shot, and in turn crashed,
is the husband to one of our friends and colleagues from school.

Suddenly the news becomes personal…
Time stops in the grocery store.

Lives change.
Poor and bad choices turn into a series of vicious cause and effects for
a myriad of people.

Sergeant Holloway, the Carrollton policeman, underwent surgery on Monday
but it was not as successful as hoped for…or rather it was just simply as successful
as it could be.
The next 72 hours will be the most critical for Rob’s recovery.

I ask that you will join me in prayers for these officers, their families as well
as prayers for the boys who opted to make devastating choices.

The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan,
who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.

Revelation 12:9

And the sheep were silent…

“The refusal to take sides on great moral issues is itself a decision.
It is a silent acquiescence to evil.
The Tragedy of our time is that those who still believe in honesty lack fire and conviction,
while those who believe in dishonesty are full of passionate conviction.”

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

DSCN0884
(a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

Where does one begin…
Where does one look when attempting to sort it all out?
From whence has it come?
What was the root cause?
What was the catalyst?
How did it ever come to this?

Standing in the center of the raging maelstrom
Silent and dumbfounded…
Only a remaining handful are left to sort it out.

As the majority silently chooses to ignore it…

We choose to turn our heads.
We refuse to call truth by its name.
While hoping it all just goes away.

We don’t want to get labeled.
We don’t want to lose our businesses, our jobs, our positions.
We don’t want to be taken to court.
We don’t want to be disliked, unliked or disconnected.
We don’t want to be shamed…

All the while we are being told we’d best accept things or otherwise shut-up.
We are told to get on board or get out.
We are vilified,
We are hated
We are deemed ignorant.
We are considered backwards.
We are called all manner of vile names
We are stalked by the shadows…

That is unless we recant, we back down, we reconsider,
we change our minds, we accept the once unacceptable…
as the bitter taste is no less palatable, yet we swallow for survival.

And it is because of one thing and one thing only…
We carry the name Christian or Jew.
We support the cross, we support Israel and we hold the word of God as just that…
The Truth.

Yet even under that banner there are those who toil
at rewriting and altering ancient words and law in order to
“modernize” them.
“God didn’t mean that, He actually meant this instead….”
As we don’t like thinking about sin and Hell, so let’s
just throw the blanket out covering everyone…as in
it is all indeed good…because we are all about feeling good.

We stand before the manger feeling all warm and fuzzy,
as we look upon that peaceful nurturing scene of Mother and Child…
All the while we throw up our Christmas trees as the media screams at us,
telling us what we must have and actually need under those trees
in order to be forever happy…
never mind what we really need or want….

…simply to love and be loved….
as in forever…

We want our God to be all loving, all caring, all good, all giving
all about us….
He loves everyone no matter what, right?
He tolerates everything right?
He accepts us no matter what right?

Cause if that’s not right, we don’t want Him.

Cause and effect.

Have we forgotten?

For every cause, there is an opposite reaction or effect.
Up, down
push, pull
lift, drop,
climb, fall….

Yet we decide that the law of physics will not apply to us.

We will live as we choose, with a God who we demand will
abide by our choices and our will…or else…
We will simply rewrite Him…

…or deem Him ill suited, outdated, or better yet…
the product of mere myths…

We deem marriage is not just between man and woman.
We decide boys can be girls and girls can be boys.
There is no separation, no division, no balance…
We don’t like results so we kick and scream until we get the results we like.
We don’t like the flag so we burn it.,
We don’t like religion so we ignore it,
We don’t like those over there cause
we are paranoid and think they don’t like us over here….

We are so busy being us and loving us…as in me, myself and I…
that we are failing to see what is happening all around us.

We are so afraid of offending anyone and everyone that we can’t call terrorists what they are.
We can’t admit that radical Islam wants to annihilate us so we instead invite
them to all come live with us.
We bend everything about us…
until we break, all in the name of acceptance and equality.

And yet we still just don’t get it.
We can’t see it.
We don’t want to admit it….
We’d rather just stare at the crib feeling all warm and fuzzy…
as we forget that the road to Bethlehem, and it’s inviting manger, leads directly
to the Via Dolorosa…

Cause and effect.

Birth and death
Life or not…

If we claim to be Christian or Jew.
If we believe in morality as a guiding principle.
If we believe in cause and effect
If we believe that God is God and we are not…

Now is our moment to be silent no more….

DSCN0866
(a sheep being sheared at a sheep farm outside of Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Acts 18:9-10