A Hiding Place (When the next Holocaust comes, you can come live with me)

Upstairs, on the third floor of our former crack home, awaits a really big and really empty, comfortably furnished attic apartment. Now that we are empty nesters, we’re deciding how best to use it.

An exchange student? A foster child? Airbnb?  

Perhaps.

But because our pastor mentioned the Holocaust this past Sunday and because these Impeachment hearings have only served to heighten the sad division in our nation and the growing hostility between people groups, we had to wonder if was time for a new conversation. We conjectured a scenario where our country reaches a boiling point where the only conclusion is the genocide of a certain people group so that we, as a nation, can truly be free. We wondered if there could ever be a time where we might want to use our attic similar to ‘The Hiding Place’, where the Ten Boom family hid Jews at the real risk of their own family’s safety. We discussed whom might the “Anne Frank” be that we would someday hide in our attic?

I have no doubt that previous to the Holocaust, all the Christian Germans who insidiously backed Hitler in the days of Ten Boom would have insisted, “That (a genocide) would never happen here. Not to us or our Christian country.” 

And yet it did.

So as two people desperate to be anything but naïve, Paul and I speculated:

“Could it be we’re already close to a boiling point? I mean, we know illegal immigrants who, if discovered, will be sent back to Honduras. While most people will say they’re not actually against immigration, they just want people to come legally – what we know FOR CERTAIN is that our immigration system is so broken, a legal entry takes upwards of 20 years. During that time, while our friends would be waiting in Honduras for their legal immigration request to be processed, their American-born children will graduate from high-school, go to college, get married, have babies, get cancer, go on vacations and celebrate birthdays and holidays without them.”

Paul and I decided we’d have no problem hiding illegal immigrants up in our attic so they could stay with their families instead of being deported.

Then we talked about the LGBTQ community who feel oppressed and targeted. What if this country boiled over in hate for this particular group, blaming them for the problems of our country and insisting their elimination is the only answer? Would we be willing to hide gays, lesbians, trans, and drag queens in our attic?

Absolutely, we decided.

From there, we discussed several other groups of people that often get “lumped together” and blamed for problems in our country: blacks, whites, Hispanics, Muslims, Jews, Christians, atheists, the rich, the poor, Republicans, Democrats, the NRA, the mentally ill, the homeless, druggies, Pro-life, Pro-choice, left, right, and upside down.

I’m sure you’ve heard the following comments before – and although they’re not quite as bad as they must have been in 1940’s Germany – they’re still painfully hateful and divisive (and remember, the “they” can be any of the groups I’ve mentioned as well as about a thousand others…):

  • They hate America. They don’t care about you at all.
  • They’re all drug-lords, rapists, and thugs.
  • If only they could see how wrong they are.
  • They cost so much money – they’re draining our economy.
  • They only care about themselves.
  • They only care about one thing and it drives all their other decisions.
  • They’re everywhere – and they’re taking our jobs.
  • They’re stripping our country of what matters most.
  • They’re stealing my rights.
  • They make me feel unsafe.
  • Their beliefs are from the pit of hell.
  • They’re so sure they’re right, they’d kill to protect their beliefs.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

The more we hear these kinds of sentiments and the more they are repeated over and over and over, the more we are convinced they are real and true. And that’s exactly how Hitler convinced a whole country it was in their best interest to extinguish “the problem.”

So Paul and I decided, being the totally woke and cool (do woke people say “cool”?) people that we are, there is not a single people group we would refuse to stay in our attic if they were the target of a genocide.

HOWEVER…

As soon as we felt the smugness of our loving behaviors, it suddenly hit me: “But what if WE’RE on the wrong side of the equation, hon? What if WE’RE the ones being targeted for a genocide because we’re followers of Jesus and therefore we love everybody else, too??”

But Paul, in all his great wisdom, hit me with this: “Hmmmm. But in every scenario we’ve discussed, whether black and white, left or right, rich or poor, there are always two sides to the equation – meaning that in our “boiling point” scenario one side has to be right, therefore one has to be wrong.

However, in Math, an equation is one where two values are EQUAL.

Perhaps the great equalizer, the one who IS the equal sign (=), the one who MAKES all the equations, is God. And with God there are never two sides. There isn’t an in or out, left or right, good or bad, there’s just love.”

So what if we just love everybody? Will we be persecuted for that someday?

Perhaps.

But I doubt it.

I yield back the rest of my time.

Let’s stay woke for World Refugees

IMG_6803At first, he didn’t speak up, but I could tell he was listening in on my dilemma. I was trying to explain to a young Syrian mom how to administer the antibiotic to her sick child. My translator, a sweet Egyptian girl, was having trouble understanding my English and the Syrian mom was having trouble understanding her Arabic (as the two countries speak a different dialect). We were getting nowhere.

The man eventually leaned in and said, in perfect English, “Perhaps I could help?”

I was surprised to hear English from one of the refugees we were there to serve. I responded, “You speak English! Awesome! Can you translate for me?”

With tenderness and compassion, he easily explained to the Syrian mom exactly how to administer the medication. She thanked him profusely.

I asked him where he learned to speak English so well. He told me he was a physician. He studied in both England and Australia. He was here today, at our pop-up medical clinic, to get his own blood pressure medication. He had been unable to obtain any for many months and was concerned about his blood pressure

As I took his blood pressure, he went on to explain how helpless he felt living in the refugee camps. He wanted to help his fellow displaced Syrians, but he had no money, no access to medication, no credentials that would allow him to work in a Lebanese medical facility, and he had no medical equipment at all – not even his stethoscope. He told me he and his family fled like everyone else – in the middle of the night with the clothes on their backs and enough food for the journey. Period.

Refugee status is no respecter of age, gender, education, religion or background. If your country falls apart and you need to flee – you simply flee. There is no time to separate out the “haves” from the “have nots” when you are fleeing for your life. And now, everyone resides side-by-side in a make-shift village constructed from wood scraps and tarps. For seven years my physician friend has been in this refugee camp.

Seven years and waiting.

Today, I want to pause and re-feel the pain I felt that day. I want to remember the courage, the resilience and the perseverance that I saw in the faces of each and every Syrian refugee I met. I want to stand in solidarity with them and to do my part in this big mess to say, “WE WILL NOT FORGET YOU!”

I went to Lebanon with a team led by Dr. Lina Abujamra, a Lebanese ER physician who resides in Chicago and is the founder of Living With Power Ministries and shegiveshope.com.

Their work in Lebanon includes:

  • Medical and Dental clinics near the Syrian border and refugee camps (they have led 9 clinics so far, over 7,000 patients have been treated and $80,000 has been donated toward medications and treatments.
  • Food and community outreach programs (over 200 people are fed monthly)
  • Housing initiatives (the ministry has subsidized housing and living expenses for 20 families monthly.)
  • A nurses-aide training program for Syrians (the first training took place Feb-May 2019)
  • Helping to support educational programs for both school-aged kids and college students.
  • This July the ministry will run it’s first summer camp for Syrian refugee children.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP:

  • REMEMBER REFUGEES and PRAY FOR THEM. Just because the refugee crisis isn’t in the news every day doesn’t mean it is over. It’s actually getting worse. A refugee is defined as someone who has been forced to flee their home because of persecution, war or violence. Paul is in Honduras right now as I write. He is experiencing firsthand accounts of why people are flooding out of Honduras. Trust me – they classify as REFUGEES!
  • STAY INFORMED. Pay attention to the news and use your influence to spread the word about refugee-related issues. Amidst growing anti-refugee rhetoric and policies, it’s never been more critical to stay informed and speak out!
  • FINANCIALLY SUPPORT organizations who are supporting refugees locally, nationally, and globally. You can get AWESOME merch (like the shirt I’m wearing in the pic) here at: http://shegiveshope.com/.
    You can support the work of Lina’s teams at https://www.livingwithpower.org/global/

    And another fantastic organization that Paul and I support is:
    Preemptive Love Coalition

    Or if you want to give locally in the West Michigan area here are three great organizations:
    Tree Tops Collective
    Samaritas
    Bethany Christian Services

  • GO WITH ME TO LEBANON!!! I’m dead serious. If my health allows (which seems to wax and wane), I plan to go back to Lebanon and serve with the Medical team. If you’re interested (whether you have a medical background or not), let me know!But I must warn you, it will change your life.

Jesus Ain’t Your Sexy Valentine

 

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Clean water crisis. Human-Trafficking. Immigration. Orphan care. Affordable Housing. Failing Education Systems. Gun Violence. Teen-age pregnancy.

Sitting in this hip coffee shop I can hear twenty-somethings all around me talking about what’s wrong with humanity and how they aim to fix it. Millennials are raising the bar for the rest of us. They’re hyper-aware of societies ailments and far more actively involved in finding solutions than previous generations.

Yet increased awareness presents a serious problem that’s pervasive in “woke” people of ALL ages: It has become the “in” thing to do. Buying TOMS shoes, a week at an orphanage in Central America, sending bottled water to Flint, Michigan, and filling food baskets at Thanksgiving – all such Facebook-worthy ways of serving Jesus. I can’t even count the times I’ve seen a Facebook or Insta post with a white, middle-class high-schooler/college kid surrounded by raggedy-clothed, dirty-faced black/Asian/Indian/Hispanic orphans from their recent short-term “missions” trip abroad.

But if we engage in something that’s uber trendy, we must stop and ask ourselves: What’s my motive?

Write a check. Angel tree. Annual service day at a soup kitchen. Donate clothes. “Like” all the posts by the latest hip justice organization. Put said organization’s sticker on our computer. Run a 5k for awareness. GoFundMe pages. Youth groups spending a day in the inner city. Wear a trendy justice t-shirt. Carry a cool mug inscribed #endhumantrafficking.

And why? Why is there such a BOOM in this movement?

I’d like to suggest we’re crazy about this movement of increasing awareness because it’s easy.

Easy. Appealing. Quick. Non-habit forming. No sacrifice.

One could even say these approaches to following the way of Jesus are somewhat “sexy”: We are seen. We are heard. We look good and feel good with our “service”. Others think we’re incredible. Sexy, right? In fact, we could post any of those hot service opportunities on Valentine’s day with #mytruelove and everyone will think we’re holy.

I’m not bashing those experiences or remotely suggesting they be stopped. I most definitely feel there is a place and a time for such things. The problem, as I see it, is that we (Christians) are mostly looking for a quick, non-painful way to appease our Jesus-driven consciences and we’re much too quick to flaunt it for our own acclaim.

We Christians are FAR less likely to do the long, hard, costly, sacrificial and unnoticeable work that is the backbone of the Christian calling.

But Jesus said:

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Matthew 7:13-14.

He straight-up told us: It ain’t supposed to be easy, friends!!!

Jesus did all kinds of hard, subversive, and not very Facebook worthy things. He hung out with those marginalized by society. He touched people that nobody else would touch. He shared meals with those no one else would. He went to places nobody else would go. Jesus didn’t do sexy things.

If Jesus had a Facebook page, we’d probably scroll right through his posts. It is THAT mundane. THAT uncomfortable. THAT un-sexy.

To go all-in for Christ will most likely lead you to hard, toilsome work with basically no recognition. It’ll be costly and time-consuming. It sometimes costs money, but can also cost friends, reputations, and safety. It’s not usually quick and easy and it’s not usually comfortable.

When I think of the un-sexy way of Jesus, I think of some of these people:

  • A neighbor who has invested YEARS into the life of a troubled, fatherless, high-schooler who doesn’t appreciate it and throws away every opportunity provided for him. But our neighbor refuses to give up and pursues him with relentless love and care. Not sexy.
  • My friend who has visited her father, uncle, and aunt, twice a week, every single week at the local nursing home for over 10 years! As their ONLY living relative, they wouldn’t get a single visitor if it weren’t for her. Not sexy.
  • We know a guy who after Hurricane Katrina sold everything and MOVED to New Orleans. A lot of us did sexy things for Katrina-victims and pasted it all over social media. Our friend LIVED there for two years. Not sexy.
  • We have friends who live in Honduras. They run an organization that works to abolish corruption within the extremely corrupt Honduran government. The work is dangerous – an attorney from their organization was shot and killed in broad daylight by gang members. This work is COURAGEOUS, costly, takes decades, slow progress, and sometimes exasperating. Not sexy.
  • There are many schoolteachers who CHOOSE to work in some of the poorest districts in our city. The pay is poor, their resumes won’t ever be impressive (failing students make teachers look bad – no matter how awesome they really are) but they believe in making a difference in the lives of kids who just maybe need a break in life. They will do this for 20, 30 maybe 40 years and they may never see the fruit of their labor. Not sexy.

The un-sexy work Jesus invites us into may be long-suffering, toilsome, tiring and expensive, but we’re not doing it for ourselves – it’s UNTO HIM!

  • What if we mentored troubled kids – any age – and stuck with them through ALL THEIR GROWING years?
  • What if we volunteered with Kids Hope and actually gave a kid hope?
  • What if we joined a refugee/immigration settlement organization and spent the next FIVE years mentoring a new family?
  • What if we talked to our neighbors, learned of their suffering, and prayed with them weekly?
  • What if we made homemade casseroles and brought them to the homeless camps (trust me, they exist) every week?
  • What if we enter in to the roller-coaster life of the mentally unstable – the bi-polar friend, the depressed sister-in-law, the suicidal teen, the homicidal neighbor?
  • What if we mentored those in troubled pregnancies?
  • What if we helped pay the heat bill every winter for a family who heats their home with the stove?
  • What if we gave up eating out for six months just so another family could EAT?

You know what I think would happen if we did some of these things? We’d be tired. We’d be involved with these issues for a really long time and get frustrated with the slow pace of change. We might even get angry at those we are serving. We’d want to give up and quit over and over and over.

But we’d be doing the work of Jesus, for HIM, and for His glory. Not ours.

“Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Jesus Christ.” Colossians 3:23-24

This is the way of Jesus. And it ain’t sexy.

Don’t make Jesus your sexy Valentine.

A View Into the Syrian Refugee Camps

Is it time? Can I finally share about my experience in the Syrian refugee camps? I’ve patiently waited until the repugnant things surrounding our country’s midterm elections were over. But I was getting impatient…

People are literally dying as the richest and most powerful country in the world spends millions of dollars on campaigning and fighting over leadership roles. Can’t we all just agree that people shouldn’t die violent deaths? Can’t we all just agree that people shouldn’t have to flee their country just to stay alive? Can’t we all just agree that children, orphans, widows, and those being oppressed should be cared for? Even if we don’t agree on who delivers that care, we DO agree they need care, right???

A few weeks ago I went to Lebanon and worked with a medical and dental team to deliver health care to Syrian refugees living in camps in the Baqaa Valley. I’ll be honest, I’m a political junky and watch and read all the things – both left and right – always trying to figure out where I land…   So I can assure you, no one – and I mean NO ONE – was talking about the Syrian refugee crisis for the last two months. The biggest humanitarian crisis of our day and it’s not in the news?

ARE YOU KIDDING ME???

So I’d like to attempt to just give us a shot of reality in the arm:

Lebanon, a tiny country along the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, with slightly more than 6 million people, now has within its borders over 1.5 million Syrian refugees. That’s one FOURTH of its population. That would be the equivalent of America taking in 81.8 million people (one fourth it’s population of 327.5 million). But, in reality, America has given a dismal 33,000 Syrians a place of refuge. That’s less than one ONE-HUNDREDTH of a percent! Does anyone else see a problem with this?

And whether we hear about it or not, the crisis definitely continues and is far from over. Every morning I would wake up and look east to the mountain range that separates Lebanon from Syria and shudder at the thought of what was happening just beyond my view. That very week, just over that mountain range, the Assad regime was pressing into the Idlib region of Syria with such force and violence that another million people or so were forced to flee.

We didn’t hear the gunfire, smell the fires, or personally feel any danger – but we didn’t need to in order to feel the reality of the tragedy. The traumatized faces of the Syrians gave us all the horrific details we needed to know.

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My first reaction to the refugee camps surprised me. They weren’t quite as bad as I feared they’d be. To be honest, in terms of blatant poverty and extreme living conditions, I’ve seen people in the world who have it worse – but that’s not really saying much. Those sleeping in the streets of La Limonada Guatemala, Egyptians living off their “finds” in Garbage City, and inhabitants of the vile slums of Mumbai would maybe be grateful to live in such “fine” structures as these Syrian refugees.

Make no mistake, this was squalor. But even squalor has an unspoken caste system.

The Syrian’s “fine” structures are self-constructed tents made from government issued tarps (taken from billboards, I presume, because the walls of every home looked somewhat like a Wal-Mart ad) and pieced together by flimsy strips of scrap wood. Doors didn’t exist. Or windows. Or furniture. Nor did I see any kitchens – or anything even resembling a place to cook. Some homes had cement slab flooring; others were dirt. I shuddered to imagine how they survive winters where temps dip down below freezing and snowstorms are common. I never saw a bathroom either, but certain smells from certain areas told me they probably just go “wherever”.

I was also surprised to hear most of these Syrian refugees were actually just squatters – pushing the limits of the “goodwill” of the Lebanese. They didn’t live in government, or UN sanctioned camps (in fact, only about 10% of all refugees do), but instead, they simply erected their little clusters of homes on the perimeter of farmland, along deserted streets, or wherever they could get away with it. Many farmers and landowners charged them rent, and most of the Syrian squatters were paying someone something for either use of land, water or electricity. Paying them with what? I wasn’t sure. These people truly had NOTHING.

I anticipated busting into tears upon seeing their living conditions. Surprisingly, I didn’t. However, what brought me to tears, time and time again, were the stories. We heard innumerable accounts of loss, devastation and unspeakable violence.

After a week of hearing hundreds of stories, there was no doubt that every single family had been traumatically affected by the atrocities of the Assad regime. Every single person we talked to had lost someone: mother, father, brother, sister, child, friend. Everyone knew of devastating loss. Usually by gunshot, burning, or slitting of the throat. Families were usually forced to watch the murders.

Can you imagine if EVERYONE in your community had either seen or heard of a violent death of a loved one? Can you even imagine the PTSD? Can you imagine the stone-cold faces of a whole community who have witnessed such evil? I can. I saw their faces.

An elderly man told us how the regime stormed into his village and led everyone out into the central courtyard. There, they slit the throats and cut off the heads of many leaders in the community. They forced the women and children to watch as they pounded the heads into stakes placing them all around the central square. Then they threw everyone out of their homes and burned the homes down to the ground. This gentleman was now blind from the smoke damage and trauma.

We heard from a young man who clutched his younger brother as he breathed his last breath after being shot by the regime. This happened after he had already lost both parents and two sisters to the violence.

One woman who had just given birth to her thirteenth child was sitting next to her 18 yr. old daughter who was also holding a new baby of her own, and she told us: “We must have lots of children, to replace all those we lost in Syria.”

We met a young man who had been ruthlessly beaten about a month prior because he had decided to follow Jesus. His jaw had taken so many blows, he could no longer fully open his mouth, chew or swallow. Our dentists assessed him, but could not provide the oral surgery he needed. He wept as we encircled him and prayed for him. He said, “I still chose Jesus over the religion that told Assad to kill so many.”

Our medical team treated many people with typically non-serious health issues like lice, scabies, high-blood pressure, asthma, diarrhea and bronchitis. However, with lack of proper treatment, hygiene, and follow-up, we knew many of these problems would keep coming back. It broke our hearts that we were unable to give them more than a months worth of medication. What happens after that month is up? I am personally on strong chemo-like medication that is keeping me alive. These Syrians? When their month is up… what then? We could only pray another medical team would come next month.

We gave a Syrian doctor medication for his high blood pressure. He said he couldn’t work in Lebanon because they would not recognize his Syrian medical license. He also had no equipment, medicine, or money and so he couldn’t even help the people who lived in the camps around him. He helplessly reached out his hand and thankfully accepted the months worth of free medication we could supply. His eyes were all watery.

We saw two young children with hydrocephalus, an easily treatable disorder where water accumulates around the brain. However, with no money and no hospital that will offer treatment like that for Syrians, the children suffer with heads about four times their normal size.

Our two dentists saw around 30 patients each per day. They have learned over the years that it’s too time consuming and futile to fill cavities, do root canals or place crowns. Most in the camps aren’t brushing their teeth – which could be from lack of toothbrushes and toothpaste, or just ignorance in some instances. I believe it is out of exhaustion and desperation that they’re simply allowing their kids to eat candy all day long. These were largely educated people (they were NOT stupid!) who knew about proper dental care and prophylaxis – but they were to the end of themselves. And they didn’t even care anymore about saving their teeth. A few months of severe tooth pain and you don’t care what kind of gaping smile you’ll have, you just want that tooth gone. So, primarily, our dentists pulled teeth. All day long. By evening, their arm muscles were twitching from the exertion.

Our medical team saw between 100 – 150 people per day. The Lebanese team we partnered with had developed a fairly advanced notification system where the clinic sends out just enough SMS texts into the camps to let them know exactly how many patients will be seen in any given day, hoping that only a couple hundred more than that would show up. Our team would triage the patients in the lower level of the church to determine who would, in fact, be seen that day and who had to be asked to leave. Most of the people said they waited about six hours before being seen – often outside in the hot sun. We did our best – but it was never enough. One day we sent away over 100 people. There was no way our team of 9 medical/dental people could meet the needs of all the refugees of the surrounding area in Zahle, Lebanon in the Beqaa Valley.

Our week was over quickly and we had to leave before everyone was seen or healed.

I never thought about it before, but Jesus, too, must have felt sick to his stomach whenever he left a city – leaving behind so many sick and hurting, lost and lonely, giving up hope. Many just desperate to just touch the hem of his cloak.

Desperation. That’s the thing we felt the most in Lebanon. Desperation veering into hopelessness. I knew we could offer some medical attention to a lot of people, but I had no idea how we’d extend hope. We listened to their stories whenever we had the chance and, I think, that was sometimes better than the medication we handed out.

For seven years this complex, devastating, and dehumanizing civil war has raged on in Syria. Many of these refugees have just been sitting for seven years. Sitting and waiting. For years they have waited, hoping their country would simmer down and they could return home. Their wait turns to boredom and desperation. They have depleted all their life’s savings and they are skunk poor. Many Syrians do try to seek work in Lebanon. Most are rejected. Due to historical ill will between the two countries, the Lebanese are not very welcoming or loving to the Syrians. Some will, however, be fortunate to find hard field labor the Lebanese don’t want to do. Sometimes they get paid, sometimes they don’t. Some of the luckiest Syrians find work in the towns, but they never get paid enough. They will gladly work all day for a half-days wage just to work. But there just isn’t enough work to go around.

But, tragically, most Syrians just continue to sit and wait…. Wait in their tents made out of advertising tarps. Wait while drinking contaminated water and watching their children die from preventable diseases. Wait for the dental team to arrive so they can get their rotten teeth pulled. Wait for the UN or some generous NGO to bring in food supplies. Wait for the local church to open up their clothing warehouse so they can clothe their kids. Wait, huddled around an indoor fire in the middle of a tent while the snow flies outside. Wait while their old people die of diabetes and other treatable illnesses. Wait while dad gets older and weaker, mom grows grey and tired, and while their children grow up without toys, without birthday parties, without ice cream, without parks or museums, without books, without an education, without hope.

Wait, wait, wait…

Whenever I had the chance, I would ask the Syrians, “What do you want us, as visiting Americans, to learn? What do you want us to take away from this encounter with you?”

Without exception, they would answer, “Tell your people, tell TRUMP and tell everyone you know that they must do whatever it takes to stop this war! We just want to go home! We are desperate. Please, Miss, please. Tell everyone. We just want to go home.”

I’m well aware how the enemy of our souls has attempted to create an impassable chasm between the worlds’ religions. It is from the pit of hell when people of differing religions chose hate as their default instead of a posture of humility, love, and a longing to understand. I personally feel it is entirely irrelevant that the Syrian crisis largely involves Muslims. Did you know, incidentally, many Christians are refugees, too? Approx. 85% of the Syrian population is Muslim, 12% Christian and 3% Druze. The bottom line is this: There are humans – image bearers of the one true God – suffering unspeakable atrocities as we sit here in America and spend countless hours gripped by unwinnable social media debates, ridiculous political posturing and antics of a leadership that has become the laughing stock of the world.

In C.S. Lewis’ book, the Screwtape Letters, the demon Uncle Screwtape is coaching his demon nephew, Wormwood, on the subversive art of keeping Christians from being and doing good in the world. A paraphrase of Screwtape’s message is this: “If you can’t get them (Christians) to sin, then just keep them busy and preoccupied. No matter how petty the preoccupation, distraction is the best tool to ward off participation. This will keep them from doing that which the enemy (God, in this case) has called them to do.”

Dare I suggest we’re more distracted by ridiculousness than ever before in history?

So what is God up to, calling us to, inviting us into, that Satan would work such long and hard hours to keep us from seeing???

Syrian refugees anyone???

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If you desire to learn more, I strongly suggest the reading of these two books:

“We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria” – by Wendy Pearlman

https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062654618/we-crossed-a-bridge-and-it-trembled/

“A Hope More Powerful than the Sea” – by Melissa Flemming

https://www.amazon.com/Hope-More-Powerful-Than-Sea/dp/1250105994

 

And if you feel so led to donate to the ongoing work of the medical/dental teams that continue to serve in Lebanon four times a year, you can give here:  Global – Living With Power