In Moments Such As These (While Paris Is Bleeding)

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Paris is bleeding.

We know little more than this with any certainty, and yet this is the only thing we really need to know right now.

It is more than enough to enable us to do what we are most qualified and called to do from where we are in this moment—It is enough for us to bleed too. What we do know is more than sufficient enough for us to run to suffer alongside those who are suffering.

We know that right now mothers, fathers, children, friends, spouses, lovers, coworkers, and neighbors are grieving and hurting, and though we may not recognize their faces or know their names or speak their language, it is in our grieving and hurting that we assure them that they are known and loved. Our solidarity is pledged to them in tears and prayers and the brokenness of our hearts. It is a sacred kinship offered in the raw-throated cries that we release into the face of this sickening evil.

Together from every corner of the planet we acknowledge our shared humanity by mourning its violation. We amen the inherent treasure of all life and lament when it is terribly squandered, regardless of the reasons.

That it is profoundly wasteful is enough to believe. It is the common ground of our outrage; the agreement we make together now from every country and faith tradition. This feeling of heavy loss is the very thing which fuels our resolve to love one another well in the face of what is so very hateful. It is a force much larger than our politics or nation of birth or any man-made designation.

It can be so easy in moments like these to look toward the whys of such horror, and in doing so look past the pain in front of us; those who are presently horrified. In some ways it affords us a convenient distraction from trying to make sense of what is so very senseless.

Truth be told there is no why that could merit it all anyway, and so this search ultimately proves fruitless and unhelpful.

So what do we do when we so want to do something?

We give a damn.

We allow the grief of strangers to become our own.
We make ourselves co-owners of their fear.
We allow ourselves to be wounded along with them.
We place their overwhelming burdens upon our own shoulders.

We pray and we cry, and together we raise a mighty, defiant middle finger to those who believe that the goodness and light of who we are can ever be overcome.

Yes, hate is powerful but it never, ever wins. Never.

No matter how much violence says, love will always have the last, loudest word. 

And together while we wait patiently on this promise, in the midst of all that we do not know and cannot understand, we do the only thing we can do without delay for our brothers and sisters in Paris who are bleeding right now.

We bleed too.

Paix.

 

0 thoughts on “In Moments Such As These (While Paris Is Bleeding)

  1. Thank you. I sit here tonight aching, and crying and trying to figure out what I’m going to preach on Sunday, to a congregation of strangers expecting me to preach on gratitude and thanksgiving, when there’s little of that today. I ache for those in Paris and in the world affected by this…those who lost loved ones. I ache also for my Muslim brothers and sisters who once again will take the brunt of the blame…The many innocents vilified due to the callous actions of the few… I fear my internal cynicism, that wonders if the world really desires peace… And I don’t know what to say and I don’t know what to write to my own small audience. And once again you do it… you tell us that sometimes all we can do is give a damn…

    Bless you.

    Someday I’d like to buy you a beer….

    • Maybe I will be the odd man out here. You could preach on the subject of justice. At some point, probably January 2017, a Republican will be in the White House, Nentanyahu will be ready to go against Iran, and the people still left In Syria and Iraq will regret the day they were born and cry out for the mountains to fall on them. Jesus did have a message of love, but he also had a message of justice. I would urge every right-thinking Muslim in Syria and Iraq to find a way to leave the country before January 2017—because if this keeps up—and it comes to a mall near you—the only thing left in Iraq and Syria will be Shiite Muslims.

  2. It doesn’t seem enough to do to just share the pain, to care without action. Not sure what that action should be, but somehow prayers don’t seem enough. Not when these things just keep happening. I have no power to change the heart of a terrorist so they don’t act and it does not seem like God is doing much to change things…so I spent the evening watching the coverage on TV and it almost seems voyeuristic. While my heart goes out to all those being impacted by the events, that just doesn’t seem enough.

    • The terrorists last night said that “French blood is good, but American blood is the tastiest of all.” I think we are next sometime this weekend—maybe a college football game tomorrow—who knows? We had tickets to a game but are not going.

      • No. We are not going because my son thinks it is too cold for upper deck seats. No terrorist in his right mind would try Neyland Stadium. Too many people pack firearms, and 75 percent of them would love a crack at Mohammed.

      • I don’t think it matters to terrorists if anyone is carrying, they want to die for their cause. Those who carry will more than likely shoot an innocent person if, on the off-chance, they have a chance to draw their weapon.

        • Well, if they want to die and kiss the 72 virgins, the mountains of East Tennessee would be the fastest ticket in the United States. That’s for damned sure. Nearly every home is an armed fortress with trigger fingers just itching to kill something—deer, bear, groundhogs, Russian wild boars, and anything with a towel-like wrapping on its head (Sikhs excluded). Just sayin.

  3. It doesn’t seem enough to do to just share the pain, to care without action. Not sure what that action should be, but somehow prayers don’t seem enough. Not when these things just keep happening. I have no power to change the heart of a terrorist so they don’t act and it does not seem like God is doing much to change things…so I spent the evening watching the coverage on TV and it almost seems voyeuristic. While my heart goes out to all those being impacted by the events, that just doesn’t seem enough.

    • The terrorists last night said that “French blood is good, but American blood is the tastiest of all.” I think we are next sometime this weekend—maybe a college football game tomorrow—who knows? We had tickets to a game but are not going.

  4. This evil is the cost of liberal tolerance of evil. We could have nuked the Caliph months ago, and we did not. This is the price we pay for taking the higher road-the road of martyrs and Saints. Love does win in the end, after a river of blood flows. We have been here before, and as long as Mecca is a city, we will be here again. Every time a Caliph arises, this is the price of not sinking to the level of Islam, of Jihad, of creating peace by creating graves.

    • Wow, once again you prove that you know nothing about Jesus or saints & martyrs. Or Islam.

      ISIS is not Islam. Islam is not ISIS.

      Since a blog site isn’t a democracy, I wish that Jon would stop allowing your idiotic comments through moderation. There is never anything uplifting or edifying by what you have to say.

      • Well said, my heart aches for Muslims who will now be held unjustly accountable for these acts. Where was the coverage of the bombing in Beirut 2 days ago, why was FB not covered with ‘Praying for Beirut’ memes. I was speaking with my father, who is in his 80’s, and I am sad to say that when I mentioned the loss of life in Beirut his response was that their lives didn’t matter because they were not Christians. I fear that this response is likely a commonly held view among people in the West. It seems that we are saying the same thing as the terrorists when we hold say this. I expect the the terrorists don’t think the lives of people in the West matter either. It will never stop if we keep on the way we are going…

    • Wait a minute folks. C.S. Lewis was emotionally torn between Jesus and the need to fight World War II. In his book “Mere Christianity” he concluded that it is not wrong to protect innocents by fighting a war against clear and obvious evil. I think they would call that “just war theology” today.

  5. No, no, no. Not again. Please, God, not again. Not more innocent lives lost in the name of religion.
    How do we, as Christians, see these people who commit these acts as human, much less as children of God? I can’t. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.

  6. No, no, no. Not again. Please, God, not again. Not more innocent lives lost in the name of religion.
    How do we, as Christians, see these people who commit these acts as human, much less as children of God? I can’t. I’m sorry, but I just can’t.

  7. Pingback: In Moments Such As These (While Paris Is Bleeding) | My Mind Snaps

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  9. Pingback: Je Suis, Paris…. | The Spiritual Blog of Rev. Michael F. Copado.

  10. Pingback: Je Suis, Paris…. | The Spiritual Blog of Rev. Michael F. Copado.

  11. I think we need the video again before the “senseless act” morons and the “they hate our freedom” morons come out to trot their wares. There was nothing senseless about this act in Paris, and it had nothing to do with someone hating French freedom. The problem is the “fundamentalisms” in all world religions—about the people who cannot understand the inevitability of culture change, have trouble adapting to it, and decide that the only way to save the world is to retreat to some imaginary pure religion of the past that never really existed, and eventually feel that violence is the only way to get there. Watch the video again, hang on every word, and you will see the sense in what happened in Paris last night and that it had nothing to do with French freedom:

  12. I think we need the video again before the “senseless act” morons and the “they hate our freedom” morons come out to trot their wares. There was nothing senseless about this act in Paris, and it had nothing to do with someone hating French freedom. The problem is the “fundamentalisms” in all world religions—about the people who cannot understand the inevitability of culture change, have trouble adapting to it, and decide that the only way to save the world is to retreat to some imaginary pure religion of the past that never really existed, and eventually feel that violence is the only way to get there. Watch the video again, hang on every word, and you will see the sense in what happened in Paris last night and that it had nothing to do with French freedom:

  13. Patti and Theodore, I respect and sympathize with your opinions, but what you have said saddens me. Raining fire down on the Middle East may kill some extremists yes, but it will also come at the great cost of innocent civilian life. We must remember that the majority of those who practice Islam are peaceful, and should not be held accountable for the actions of a violent few. And do you really think destroying Mecca would solve anything? That is the kind of senseless violence from which extremists are born. It would only fuel their hatred of us, and make things that much worse.
    And Patti, I understand where you’re coming from, really I do. But we MUST make every effort to view and treat even the most heinous of people as human beings. Dehumanizing another group of people is how we got into this situation in the first place. Do you think those bombers and gunmen would have done what they did if they viewed their victims as innocent people, with families and lives and feelings?
    In my heart I feel sadness, for this needless and tragic loss of life. But I also have to believe that the best response is compassion. Compassion for the victims and their loved ones. Compassion for those who will be blamed for these events which that had no part in. And compassion for the perpetrators, whose fear, desperation, and inability to accept change has driven them to commit such horrid acts. I neither accept nor condone what they did, but I refuse to allow my heart to fill with hatred; not when I could have compassion instead.

    • Morgan: First, let me ask that you not lump me in with Theodore. I don’t agree with him (or Dover, for that matter) in any way whatsoever. My comment came from my honest, heartfelt emotion at the time. We are called to see Christ in all people, and that is something I cannot do right now with the people who perpetrate these acts of violence on innocent people. I didn’t say I hated them, and I don’t believe violence is the answer to this, but honestly, I don’t have any idea what the answer is. My heart breaks for the victims and their loved ones. I don’t know if I can feel compassion for the perpetrators, and even if I did, that would not solve the problem of how to stop this from happening.

      • Well Patty. The answer is easy. In addition to punishment for our crimes against what they regard as innocent Muslims, the terrorists actually say fairly often what they want from Americans and Europeans, including the Russians: “You all must convert to Islam.” This is personally understandable too. They feel that we are so out of touch with their culture and beliefs that it is impossible for us to understand their problems. However, if we convert to Islam and learn the Koran, we will finally understand and quit making them angry at us—and then all the terrorism will go away. These are the desperate cries of a dying 7th century, religion-based culture. The problem is not just that two Bush Presidents attacked Iraq (and now Syria) and killed their sons in the army and their mom in a collateral damage bomb attack. That is just a symptom of a much deeper problem—namely—hotel bars in Dubai loaded to the gills, with Jack Daniels and 300 other spirits, Glamour Magazine, etc. American and European culture are hitting their doors with a battering ram—and much of it is anathema to 7th century Islamic culture evolved to its current form today. Right now, this very minute, I can fairly well betcha that there is some wealthy man in NYC or Milwaukee who is trying to figure out how to insert his organized crime friends’ strip joints into the Middle East and franchise the across the whole region. American culture and its Christianity (which they conflate with the Middle Age Crusades) are seen as strong acid being injected into their Islamic ovum to abort their culture and all that they hold dear in life. This is the problem—and you know what—they are right about that much. American business and industry want those Middle eastern spending dollars. If the Kentucky bourbon industry could make a park bench drunk out of every man and woman in the Middle East, do you think they would stop out of respect for Islamic prohibitions on drinking alcohol? Hell no!!! They want the money!!! The great problem is that their ancient culture is already doomed. The anthropology rule says that the more dominant cultures always overwhelm and consume the smaller and weaker ones. The sheikhs in the Arab rim states figured this out long ago. They had to accept being overwhelmed by the inevitable and try to preserve a few of the valuable 7th century culure traits that were still maintainable, like the written down recipe of Mama Fragelli’s marinara sauce tucked into a bag before sailing to America in 1884.

        That is what is going on. It is a fight to the death against the inevitable by some—just like the Native Americans did. Not all Native Americans fought. The few Arabs that are fighting now will be overwhelmed and their ancient culture will be destroyed no matter what they do. The things that are desperately trying to be protected now will be gone by the end of this century. The march of cultural change is relentless through time and inevitable. It killed the Soviet Union. It transformed China. And now the Arab world is up against the same thing—and it is far weaker then the other opponents that have fallen in front of this globalizing juggernaut.

    • Yes but… On CNN tonight, the British anchor was saying that the general Muslim community in France stays silent when an incident like the Friday might shootings and bombings occurs. They do not publicly denounce the bloodshed that occurs. There really is such a thing in this world as complicity by silence. A Muslim person can sit in their home and say quietly to themselves or another Muslim friend: “I could never shoot a person or throw a grenade at a concert, but I am happy that our few young men had enough courage to go ahead and do it.” I think it is an error of thought to just automatically assume that the general Muslim population in France consists of all innocent bystanders who do not approve of terrorist actions and that they deserve an automatic compassion ticket because of that potentially faulty assumption.

      • I DO believe it would be an error of thought to automatically assume that the general Muslim population anywhere is sitting in their living rooms silently approving of these attacks.

      • I am not making that assumption. If I had to assume, I would say it looks something like this in the Muslim world as a whole:

        A) 3 percent who would actually commit to doing ISIS armed terrorist attacks

        B) 30 percent who would never participate in a terrorist attack—but when someone else does they sit at home and clap with glee and great pleasure in front of their TV

        C) 57 percent Muslims who would not participate in terrorism, do not support terrorism, do not clap with glee when an attack occurs—but intellectually they understand the background issues behind the attacks and tacitly agree with the Muslim political and religious position that led up to the attacks. For example, they disagree with American support for Israel. If an attack does come, they stay silent in the aftermath.

        D) 10 percent who would never participate in a terrorist attack, would never clap gleefully, and understand the political and religious issues—but would speak out on behalf of the dead and wounded and publicly denounce the terrorism—with some considerable risk to their own lives.

  14. George Takei wrote this on his Facebook page:
    “There no doubt will be those who look upon immigrants and refugees as the enemy as a result of these attacks, because they look like those who perpetrated these attacks, just as peaceful Japanese Americans were viewed as the enemy after Pearl Harbor. But we must resist the urge to categorize and dehumanize, for it is that very impulse that fueled the insanity and violence perpetrated this evening.

    Tonight, hold your loved ones, and pray or wish for peace, not only from guns and bombs, but from hatred and fear. If it is our freedom and joy they seek to destroy, give them not that victory. Against the forces of darkness and terror, love and compassion shall always prevail. #JeSuisParis”

    Although I mourn with France and believe the United States and Europe need to stop messing around, get boots on the ground, and defeat ISIS once and for all, I needed to read this. I needed to remember that I should not box in all Muslims with these insane radical ones. The same thing is done to my race. I will not do it to another.

  15. Reblogged this on The Portugal Years and commented:
    n Donne: Poems “For whom the bell tolls”

    “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

  16. I mourn today for the people of France, for those lost and those left behind. And I mourn for all of us, that no one has mentioned the bombings in Beirut or in Baghdad. Is it only terrorism when white bodies die? Do we not mourn when brown mothers and fathers tear their clothing? I am embarrassed by our news coverage and it’s lack of coverage and I am saddened that even here, where thinking minds congregate, our Muslim brothers and sisters remain unmentioned.

  17. Holy One, our hearts are torn, broken, and battered.
    Even across an ocean
    from the City of Light;
    Such pain, such violence, such suffering.

    The trauma is immense, nearly unspeakable.
    We know that we are called to feel the pain of humanity,
    to hear the cry of the soul,
    the innocent soul.
    So we shall. – Rev. Eric Cherry

    There are no words, but our humanity insists that we still try.

    So much hurt, so much suffering, so much pain.

    On my twitter feed today there was a great photograph . . . taken from a spacecraft passing by the rings of Saturn. There was an arrow drawn on that picture pointing to a tiny speck of light far off in the distance. That tiny speck of light is a place we call Earth, and we’re all here, and none of us are so different.

    We who claim faith, whatever faith, are called to witness our shared humanity.

    I read the comments here – many of them expressing understandable anger, anger we all share to some degree. I see comments here, many of them expressing fear and uncertainty. These feelings are also common to most of us.

    Let us be at peace with ourselves, determined to do what we can to respond with love rather than react with the fear, hatred, and violence we saw demonstrated yesterday. Fear and hatred and violence can never cure the evil we witnessed, evil that our neighbors in France experienced in the most terrible of ways.

    Only love can heal this wound.

    Let us be love.

  18. Like others who have posted here, I just feel so helpless… I only found out about this morning and I found out through all the beautiful, heart-felt posts and French flag profile pics all over my Facebook. But that just isn’t enough…I want to do so something more than just saying “what a tragedy” and turning my profile pic blue, white, and red. I want to fight back somehow…not just against what happened in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad last night, not just against ISIS but against all the senseless violence here at home too. I heard the song “Radioactive” in the store today and I realized that’s exactly how I feel …radioactive. I am angry. I am damn tired of being sitting ducks…either for maniacs with guns at home or terrorism from overseas, then ringing our hands when one more senseless tragedy happens. I am so sick of this.

    • And by fighting back…I don’t have a clear idea on what I mean by that right now…maybe marching in the streets to start with…I’m *not* meaning with violence, unless we see others doing violence against innocents. Fight back with love…fight back with numbers…pressure our elected officials to take action both here and overseas.

      And I just want to reiterate that many, many, many of our Muslim brethren stand with us in condemning these attacks…Christians have *no business* ignoring this fact.

  19. Thanks for this John. It is undeniable that we are in a very dark time. However, every Personally, every western leader must realize that Islam is not really a religion of peace. Christians who will completely follow what the Bible say will make this world peaceful. However, if Muslims will completely follow what their Quran says, then all hell breaks lose. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to read and understand what their quran has to say for infidels. We need to accept this truth. Please allow me to post a link of my blog about the Paris attack.

    http://christianliving101.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/paris-terror-attacks-is-islam-still-a-religion-of-peace/

  20. Thanks for this John. It is undeniable that we are in a very dark time. However, every Personally, every western leader must realize that Islam is not really a religion of peace. Christians who will completely follow what the Bible say will make this world peaceful. However, if Muslims will completely follow what their Quran says, then all hell breaks lose. It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to read and understand what their quran has to say for infidels. We need to accept this truth. Please allow me to post a link of my blog about the Paris attack.

    http://christianliving101.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/paris-terror-attacks-is-islam-still-a-religion-of-peace/

    • And if Christians followed every word of the Bible we would be stoning half of our population to death and enslaving the other half. Both of our Holy Books contain orders from God to commit all sorts of atrocities. Fortunately the majority of adherents of both faiths choose not to act on these.

      • If only all Christians would focus on the last and greatest commandments Jesus left with us — to love God and love one another. That’s all.

      • Hi Wendy! Thanks for your reply. However, you need to understand that was the OT time when the Holy Spirit is not widely available. Under the New Covenant where Jesus as our High Priest, the physical administration of penalties are not anymore applicable for Jesus died for all of us once and for all. Sorry, if I can’t give you a detailed answer as of now. I don’t want to make this a lengthy reply but I can assure you I can give the right answer. Let me know if you are really interested, I can give you more answers.

  21. All I know is that someone from my hometown has died. And I want her home here in the USA. Can’t even comprehend to have your daughter die overseas and being unable to reach her, touch her, hug her, to have that final goodbye. Just the sheer expense of flying her body home, the waiting has got to be gut wrenching agony. For the other parents in USA who daughter was shot and having surgery. Can you imagine the red tape of trying to get passport, flight and the sheer expense to get to your child. Whether an adult age or not (your babies are babies for life) … that is tragic.
    For France cuz it happened on their watch, for the total loss of life, the injured that endured the trauma of the event… it’s not a religion. It’s just total evil and all the civilized nations are allowing it to happen. It’s one of these times, I wish these rich, famous, jetsetters would offer their planes, the GOVT expedite passports and get those parents to their children.
    My own great niece was there on study abroad this summer, just like many do. To study, learn about other countries, other cultures, to visit and appreciate their beauty as a country, as people. She blossomed as a young adult. But Isis is not about Religion. We can’t blame a religion. How we teach the young to hate, disrespect life and differences of opinion is just SAD. We give them so many rights, chances to destroy civilization. Just grieving for all.

    • Yes. And there is also that ultimate question my own grandmother faced when her Navy son returned home from a really bad car wreck in California in 1951. Do I open the casket to see precisely what happened to my child, or do I leave it shut. As the Funeral Director said to her, “Ma’am. I’d leave it shut if I were you.”

      But is is about religion. It is all about religion—not a religion as a whole—but the unique fundamentalist perspective a few people in Islam have on their religion. If the United States were Iraq and everything else were turned around, the members of ISIS would most likely be members of the Independent Fundamental Baptist churches here—with a hodge podge of misfits from the Southern Baptist Convention and other such churches. it is all a matter of perspective and the peculiar situation you find yourself in during the passage of human history.

  22. All I know is that someone from my hometown has died. And I want her home here in the USA. Can’t even comprehend to have your daughter die overseas and being unable to reach her, touch her, hug her, to have that final goodbye. Just the sheer expense of flying her body home, the waiting has got to be gut wrenching agony. For the other parents in USA who daughter was shot and having surgery. Can you imagine the red tape of trying to get passport, flight and the sheer expense to get to your child. Whether an adult age or not (your babies are babies for life) … that is tragic.
    For France cuz it happened on their watch, for the total loss of life, the injured that endured the trauma of the event… it’s not a religion. It’s just total evil and all the civilized nations are allowing it to happen. It’s one of these times, I wish these rich, famous, jetsetters would offer their planes, the GOVT expedite passports and get those parents to their children.
    My own great niece was there on study abroad this summer, just like many do. To study, learn about other countries, other cultures, to visit and appreciate their beauty as a country, as people. She blossomed as a young adult. But Isis is not about Religion. We can’t blame a religion. How we teach the young to hate, disrespect life and differences of opinion is just SAD. We give them so many rights, chances to destroy civilization. Just grieving for all.

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