Wednesday, September 27, 2006

the celebration of suffering

as i've been sitting in my apartment trying not to distract stephen too much while he studies i've been thinking about how much suffering is in the world, and how sometimes i get so worked up and angry about it that i need to tell someone how i feel, then a thought came to me......isn't this just what my long lost blog is good for?
last night i had the honor of hearing Paul Rusesabagina speak about his experience in Rwanda and how he feels that darfur is escalating to the same need for assistance that Rwanda was in the early 90's. this morning at work i was reading the paper and somewhere around page four or five there was an update on darfur. it said that the UN is considering sending troops to support the understaffed African peacekeeping force and to try and get Sudan to sign a peacekeeping agreement; which the UN acknowledges has a slim chance of working since Sudan has told them they don't want to make a peace agreement. call me crazy but it seems to me that this line of thinking hasn't worked that well in the past, why do we keep relying on it?

"this is the twentieth century, not the middle ages. who would allow such crimes to be committed? how could the world remain silent? i have tried to keep memory alive, i have tried to fight those who would forget. because if we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices. i swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. we must take sides. neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. silence encourages the tormenter, never the tormented. sometimes we must interfere. when human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must- at that moment- become the center of the universe." -Elie Wiesel

Darfur has been embroiled in a deadly conflict for over three years. At least 400,000 people have been killed; more than 2 million innocent civilians have been forced to flee their homes and now live in displaced-persons camps in Sudan or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad; and more than 3.5 million men, women, and children are completely reliant on international aid for survival. Not since the Rwandan genocide of 1994 has the world seen such a calculated campaign of displacement, starvation, rape, and mass slaughter.

"how much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? for we know the one who said 'vengeance is mine; i will repay'. and again, 'the Lord will judge his people.' it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." - hebrews 10.29-31

this verse calms my anger that God is not idle, he is outraged my what has happened and what continues to happen all around the world. but it strikes fear into my own heart, as a believer i am God's plan to alleviate suffering in the world. how am i not joining with the oppressor when i hear that 400,000 people have died and do nothing, it doesn't affect my day in the least. it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

let this affect us, let is ruin our days, and break our hearts. join in the suffering of the millions of men and women of darfur. let their pain leak into our lives. "if we don't have courage we will do whatever we can to run from or alleviate our own pain. excessive entertainment, shopping, food, drugs, alcohol, sex, and even manic exercise are common opiates of our society. i, too, have tried to escape. but in the end, i have (mostly) turned around, looked suffering in the eye and stared it down. this is when the evil part of suffering loses it's power and becomes redemptive. but suffering is only redemptive when love is there." -The Cry, WMF

so, if you've made it this far, all the way to the end of this post, don't just walk away unscathed, hurt, cry, get pissed off, do something. visit and send letter to congress and the president, tell them that it's time to step in. fall in love with a cause deeper than ourselves so that we can all stand up and mean it when we say "we've had enough."

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