The last few weeks have lit the internet up with stories and opinions on every piece of tragic news. First there was the Israel and Palestine conflict, then Robin Williams death, and now the horrible situation occurring in Ferguson, MO.
With each emerging story I have considered whether or not to write and share my own set of thoughts. Sometimes having a blog makes me feel overly responsible, as if I need to be constantly ahead of trends and declaring my opinions on every piece of news. Thankfully this isn’t true, and instead of making claims I’m not an expert in I can stay informed through the words and opinions of others.
So instead of repeating what is already out there, here is a list of some of the most important stories and opinions I’ve found regarding current events:
Regarding Robin Williams and depression:
- post from Anne Lamott:
- “What the Church and Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health” from Ann Voskamp
- “The Depressed Christian: Why the Dark Night is NO Measure of Your Soul” from Megan Tietz on SortaCrunchy
- “6 of Robin Williams Best Performances” from RELEVANT Magazine
Regarding the Situation in Ferguson, MO:
- if you haven’t heard about it here is a useful Timeline from USA today
- “What White People Can Do About the Killing of Black Men in America” by Paul Brandeis Raushenbush on HuffPost
- “The Front Lines of Ferguson” by Rembert Browne
- “When Terror Wears a Badge” by Ryan Herring on Sojourners blog
Regarding the conflict in Israel and Palestine:
- “What’s Really Going On in Israel?” by Jesse Carey at RELEVANT Magazine
- “Palestinian Christian: Western Christians Don’t Understand Gaza/Israeli Conflict” by Morgan Lee on The Christian Post
- “Silence is Betrayal: Speaking Out for Peace” by Ryan Herring on Sojourners Blog
Sadly, we can now add the conflict in Iraq to this list, as well as the Ebola virus in Africa and continued tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Although the internet is never a perfect vehicle, it does allow us to stay informed about a lot more than what was previously possible.
To be clear, my intention in sharing these articles is not about political opinions or staunch outcries on one side or another. I typically see myself as a middle-ground type who plays the mediator role in conflict. However, I think a lot of people hesitate to even read these kind of news stories or opinions because they are afraid of having to pick a side. Ignorance is not the answer to the difficult challenges in our world; you don’t have to pick a side, but you should at least know the truth of what is going on.
For Christians especially, we should not hide in a false security of religious withdrawal. When Jesus prayed for his disciples in the garden of Gethsemane, he was specific in distinguishing them as people who would not separate themselves from the world, but rather do his work in and among unbelievers.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world, but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”(John 17: 15-19)
In fact, as Christians we should be some of the first people to speak out against the kind of injustice, depression, and lies that go against the gospel of God’s love. I repeat: this should not be political, nor should it be about right and wrong. The life of Jesus was more about compassion for the hurting, not proving a point. As his followers, we should do the same by knowing what is happening in the world, praying for peace, and contributing love to the conversation.
Have you read any other good articles on these subjects?