Steven Curtis Chapman: Chapman Family Tragedy

Words in a blogpost don’t come anywhere close to approaching the pain the Chapman family will likely be experiencing for some time as a result of their tragedy. Mathematically and logically they just don’t compare when considering the recent devastation in Myanmar and China in relation to the Chapman’s situation. But, because of the personal connection that I have to Chapman’s music over time (e.g., ”I Will Be Here” was our wedding song and “Cinderella” a song that is now eternally linked to my daughter), it weighs heavily. My family will continue to pray for them.

“Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman’s completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago…” [Jim Houser, Chapman’s Manager]

Beauty And Depravity’s post on the Chapman tragedy

Memorial news and Information regarding how to contribute, in lieu of flowers, to the Chapman’s foundation which awards grant money to needing families who want to adopt can be found on his website.

Shaohannah’s Hope

Damn Our Complacency And Their Government’s Stubborn Resistance! – Send Aid To Myanmar

Yesterday I wrote a post pertaining to the fact that Christians, by and large (myself included) aren’t living up to the name of Christ (see Damn Our Complacency!). Below is a video posted by a friend of mine that spent three years with his family as teachers in Myanmar. Because of their experience and the contacts that they have donations to aid victims of the cyclone in Myanmar can be sent to help the people who need it. Please take four minutes to view the video. Thank you.

Damn Our Complacency!

There is an echo that keeps reverberating in my head and I just can’t get rid of it. Tragedies of gigantic proportion have occurred in the last couple of weeks in places like Myanmar and China. These events surfaced on the daily news without regard for and in addition to injustices that rage daily all over this planet in other places like Ethiopia and Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of people, living in circumstances unthinkable to those of us who walk through our daily lives cushioned by the golden calves of American culture, suffering and dying in the wake of oppression, starvation, disease, human greed, and natural disaster.

Yet, here I sit. Typing on my laptop in a comfortable living room, nursing a bowl of ice cream as I type about the deficit that exists between the death and hopelessness that so many experience in the world and the multitudes of hypocritical, complacent Christians who just ignore it all so that they can plug in their ipods, attend praise and worship concerts for $25 a pop and listen to the latest Tobymac album while sipping grande Starbucks Frappuccinos.

I’m a walking black hole who executes a quick online payment to some relief organization just to take the edge off of the guilt that amazingly surfaces through my thick shell in response to the news that the cyclone in Myanmar ripped a child right out of the hands of her father, never to be seen again.

There are certainly times, when despite my faith, I have no answer to give. Perhaps sometimes the questions are larger and come faster than my prayers can leave my lips. Then there are times when questions and answers are pointless and we should, instead, be focusing our attention on what we can do to help those in need. That time is now. Yet, here I sit asking questions.

“Oh My God”

Oh my God, look around this place
Your fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace, and future falls
In present pain
All fools say, “Oh my God”

Oh my God, Why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don’t bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase, and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friend
Oh my God.

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief and graft my soul upon your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away, and a mother cries

Liars and fools; sons and failures
Thieves will always say
Lost and found; ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels; men with problems
Leavers always say
Broken hearted; separated
Orphans always say
War creators; racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers; fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints; lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers; watchful doubters
Saviors always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days, mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we’re better,
Scales were gone and faces light
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes,
And all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God

If you should feel so inclined to contribute to those in need in places like Myanmar and China, please consider World Vision. Because of their pre-established child/community sponsorship programs, have been able to distribute resources directly to victims in Myanmar and China.

Whatever You Do For The Least Of These…

Focus on what Jesus wanted us to do by reading Having Time For Caring.

Gulf vs. Golf

A dead-on commentary on Mr. Bush from Keith Olbermann can be found via a post from the Church of the Apocalyptic Kiwi:

Friendly Fish Fry

He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish? John 21:5

Friendship, I think, is one of the most important and powerful concepts in life. By comparison, though, I tend to value friendships that I’ve had for a long time more than I do new friendships. The reason is that the old ones have stood the test of time. Of my friends, for example, there are three or four that I know have seen me in varying shades of light over the years, but, they are still with me. They still maintain contact with me despite hundreds of miles of separation and the fact that we only get to hang out once or twice a year. If I was to sit down with any of them, now or at any time, just to chat over a drink, we would pick up right where we left off without much effort. They’ve seen the good and the bad in me just as I have seen them at their best and otherwise. Yet, we still enjoy our time together and appreciate each other’s existence. There’s a certain unconditional brotherly love that exists between my best friends and I.

Jesus was well aware of the sacrifices that his disciples made to follow him. He was just as aware of what was in the heart of each of his followers at every moment throughout their lives. He knew ahead of time that Peter would deny Him three times in one night and He lived through the pain of witnessing it as it happened. He knew that his group of original Jesus freaks scattered in all directions as He was drawing closer to and eventually hanging from the cross.

Yet, after His resurrection, he appeared to them repeatedly and affirmed His acceptance of them and their faith in Him. He kept his promise by sending the Holy Spirit to guide them. It was after a handful of them went out in a boat to fish early one morning and, not having much luck, they heard directions from the shore suggesting that they lower the nets into the water on the right side of the boat. Having nothing to lose, they did so and the nets came back so full that they could barely contain the bounty. Jesus then invited them to the shore and served them a bread and fish breakfast seasoned with the friendship of God.

It is this unconditional brotherly love that characterizes my relationship with God and the “religion” that I subscribe to.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

For Mumphry

You were there
Out of thin air you appeared

Without even a tie
You extended yourself to me

It was your brokenness that left room for me
Your search for peace that found my home

The longing you had to belong is what introduced hope
Despite the pain that you endured you gave me a chance

Your humility healed me
Your perseverance inspires me now

The existence of one wonderful you
Revealed life and the son in me