Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Random Response

I was once asked something like..."Are you gonna put all your focus into leaving a legacy?"

Made me think... I don't know how enjoyable life would be if I spent my time making sure people can look back at my life in awe. I'd much rather be able to look at the lives I interact with on a daily basis and be awed at who they are and can be for the sake of the world. And I think can do that.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gori Hearts, Youth, and Oklahoma City...

While in Oklahoma City, we visited the memorial for the bombing back in '95. Remember that? They set up a sort of interactive museum so we could get a feel for the experience those in the building went through. One room was set up for a conference meeting with a speaker phone in the middle of the table. They closed the doors and a recording of an acutal business meeting from the day of the bombing began. A lady was talking out a list. You can imagine a group of business folks sitting there. And then you hear the bomb. You feel it. You hear the fear in the voices from those at the meeting as half their building was blown off.

I began to think. I began to feel (I guess the exhibit worked on me). The people who set up this bombing were filled with something we can't fully describe. What is that thing?--the ability to kill people and feel proud. What is it? Where does it come from?

I've been recently very influenced by Eboo Patel's book Acts of Faith. I guess I'd have to say that somewhere along the lines at a young age Timothy McVeigh and fellow bombers were taught to think this kind of thing is good. They were given passion. In a sense they were discipled into a story of hate.

I have two lingering thoughts:

1. We really have to think critically about the ways we teach and disciple young people. We have to be active in discipling them into a story of love.

2. Through the various exhibits, we were able to get a sense of how devastating this bombing was for the families of the 166 people who were killed. But a fellow youth pastor pointed something out to me. Bombings are happening all the time in Israel and Palestine. Just yesterday the people in Gori, Georgia were on a killing spree. We never set up memorials for them. We never cry for them. We never have moments of silence for them. And we always think of them and "them."

Lord, we pray. Give us hearts to feel the cries of those who have been killed in Gori and their families. Give us passion to be active in Your story of love. Let it be.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Maybe One Day...

I just got back from Oklahoma City. We took the students on a mission trip. This is kind of a unique move for a non-profit, but we did it. What wasn't unique was the last night of the trip when a couple younger students decided to sneak out of the college dorm we were staying in. I guess there's an unwritten law that demands students to go crazy on the last night of a trip.

Their plan changed quickly when the first one slid out the tiny window opening onto the most intense bed of thorns and stickerbugs I've ever experienced. Yes, I experienced it because I had night duty and had to rescue him. I carried him out over the security wall.

He was dangling from the window when I got to him. His face was covered in shame and tears. His arms were bloody from being continuously scraped against the brick wall as his roommate struggled from inside to keep him up from touching the bed of nails. Their grip on each other was fading.

After bringing him in and letting the nurse do her magic on his medley of cuts and bruises, I asked the question that makes us designated parents at times, "What were you thinking?"

His response almost made me laugh. With most sincere face and high pitched elementary voice he said, "It's the last night. You're supposed to have fun." You might have to know this student to find this as funny as I did. He really believed that was a valid excuse.

And it made me think. Maybe he has a point. I might regret writing this, but... I think that life--for everyone--would be really boring if kids didn't push the limits. I didn't tell him that. But maybe one day I will.