Compassion

Compassion: Beginning A Lenten Intention

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Lent 2015 CompassionI invite you to join me on a journey through Lent exploring an intention to live a greater compassion in this life. The world needs this from us. We’ll start with several days of exploring what compassion means, and then hear from voices though all the times and places of the earth who have taught us and shown us what compassion looks like in life. We’ll do this for the 40 days of Lent, Sundays being excluded from this exercise and set aside for worship and sabbath rest.

Dictionary.com tells us that compassion is “a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.”

Have you ever thought of compassion as not just a feeling, but a drive to act? Compassion is not just noticing that someone is suffering, and feeling bad for them, but it includes an awakening of our imagination and soul to act on alleviating their suffering. We begin this time of intention with a hope that our souls become not only more aware of the suffering of others, but that we learn to dream and act in creative and hopeful service to those who suffer.

AMDG, Todd

Will We Live Up To Their Faith in Us?

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for the children we prayI’ve been thinking about the children on our Southern border and the need for us to move in a gracious, welcoming, valuing way to address their needs. But it’s not just about their needs. I believe an essential part of who we are as a nation and a people is on the line.

The child immigration crisis in the South is a test of our nation’s values, beliefs and future, and we run the risk of disappointing ourselves as much as neglecting these children. The more I try to hold all the facets of this problem in balance the more I am convinced that we face a unique moment of challenge and opportunity as a nation. Ten and twenty years from now, will we have a generation in our nation that includes these children, I’ll call them Hopers, among us at universities, schools, workplaces and communities across our country? Or will we have a shameful memory of not responding to the hurt and pain of our most vulnerable neighbors?

What is it that causes those parents to hope for so much from us? I’m stumped trying to imagine what the parents of these children must experience in their daily lives at home and what they must imagine we will do as surrogates for their children. Why do they believe in us so deeply and so optimistically? I don’t know, but I do believe this: We have not set a trajectory of hope or healing in our response to these children. We have been afraid and sometimes angry. It’s time to change the conversation and set a new trajectory that will lead us all, all of us, to a blessed and shared future.

Can we live up to what their parents have believed of us? Are we as good as we have believed? More and more I’m beginning to be a Hoper, myself. I want to hope in us and believe in us, too! I want to see us face such a challenge and opportunity with an amazing grace and the poise of a nation that knows all too well about displacement and the painful legacy it leaves behind. We have this amazing opportunity to change the way we act as a species, a nation, a culture and as neighbors. It truly is one of the greatest tests of sharing that I think we have ever faced. And we can be amazing if we choose to be. I hope we shine.

I know the arguments about lawful entry to our country. I understand the fear of validating the practice of just shipping children wholesale across the desert to our border. I get the worries, I understand the indignation, and I share some of the trepidation. We still have to hope. We need hope as much as these children need hope. We still have to act. We still must regard the sanctity of human life and our connection with all people as a central priority to safeguarding our own future, our shared future.

Let’s not fear anymore. Enough with the indignant outrage. Let’s put aside our worry. Let’s embrace these children and face tomorrow with them. They are here now. They are ours. They are us. Let’s share the hope and belief in us of those parents.

I don’t have all the answers to the problem at the border, but we must respond with dignity, hope, love and concern for these children. We must respond, sooner than later. Let’s shoulder the cost of welcoming.  Pray. Sign petitions. Donate to relief work. Speak peace. Love these children.

Let’s all be Hopers.

AMDG, Todd

*Here’s a timely warning about neglect and an example of creative thinking to find longer term solutions to problems like this, from David Gergan and Daniel Katz. I thought it was a good read, worth consideration.

*No need to go into detail about how I’m getting involved, but here is an article from the Dallas Morning News with links to Texas area relief groups and opportunities to join their work…

dallasnews

*Here are some petitions and perspectives…
change org daily kos first focus paxchristi