Out of Sorts {Current Events, Prayer, and the Questions That aren’t Easy to Answer}

I’m a little out of sorts at the moment.  Here’s why.

I’m not a good newspaper reader. I get way too invested in what I read…especially those human-interest stories. They tug on my heart in an unrelenting way.

When I was a kid, my dad read the paper every day…slowly, line by line.  I had watched others read the paper. They looked more like they were scanning for something they liked, quickly turning pages, skipping large chunks. I remember asking my dad why he read so slowly, “There’s a lot to pray about on these pages.”

I’ve tried to practice that discipline, but I’m not very good at it. My heart gets stuck between the lines. I want to have the “right” answer for every question my heart asks. I don’t want to be wrong about what I’m reading—wrong by judging it, or wrong by turning the page without caring.

When you pray about something it is on one level a request for God to do something, but on another level it’s a desire to see the situation like He does. What is the mind of Christ on this subject?

The simpler my answer to that question, the more convinced I am that I am wrong.  The Fall has left us all in a very complex maze of how to love others for their good, to value the image of God in every person, and to fill the earth with reminders of His goodness and his truth. How ought the reality of the gospel spring up with hope for parents in China living under the one-child policy? Why are there still orphanages? {This seriously makes no sense to me.} What about the parents who are trying to love and guide a child with gender confusion? What about that child? God, what about that child? {Did you see this story in Friday’s L.A. Times? Heart-wrenching.} How does hope intersect the storm that is brewing in this child’s heart? Why aren’t we as equally concerned for women considering abortion as we are for the baby–why can’t we value the worth of both their lives? I know, I know, I know–the baby is innocent, the mother has made all kinds of bad choices…I guess judgment and condemnation are easier than contending for the new life of the mother.  What about the Sandusky victims? How many more victims of child abuse will there be before we put our collective foot down and say, “No more!”? It’s hard for me to understand why so many get so passionate about keeping Mexicans out of our borders, but everyone goes silent when intruders violate our children’s souls by way of the privates.

I hear a lot of people on Twitter and Facebook saying they wish their preachers would read more of the Bible from their pulpits. Me? I wish more preachers would read the newspaper from their pulpits and then implore God’s people to seek God’s heart and mind for the real people tucked behind the politics and yes, even propaganda. We won’t find Christ’s mind on issues of sexuality, immigration, poverty, homelessness, war, or justice if we keep our heads buried in the sand. We needs our minds renewed to think like the One who “binds up the brokenhearted and proclaims liberty to captives.”

I know that the Gospel says to everyone, “You are loved and welcome.” That tugs on my heart, because I don’t think the world is hearing these words from the Church. It seems in far too many cases, they hear nothing. Maybe being out of sorts isn’t such a bad thing; hopefully, it’s the beginning of Christ setting me free from all my easy, know-it-all, keep living like there’s not a problem, “right” answers.

My pastor this week sent an email to his people saying, “See a need, fix a need, encourage, shepherd, correct, care, support.  Choose to let the buck stop with you.  Be what you are – the body of Christ in all its beauty!” I think this is really good advice for inside and outside the church. It sounds like the mind of Christ to me.

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