When the foundations

Psalm 11:2-4 (NIV)
For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart. [3] When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do ?” [4] The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne. He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.

Do you believe?

In foundations
In holy
In arrows shot through
shadows in the dark
Do you believe in
A God who sees?

12 years a slave

At the risk of exciting the attention of the NSA or the IRS, I am not impressed with “justice” and “diplomacy” in recent years. The decisions at the federal level seem to be so politicized and capricious as to render the term “justice” moot.

Kenneth Bae is languishing in North Korea for being a tour guide and Obama has done nothing to help him.

Similarly the DOJ has failed to do its job in defending federal laws if those laws get in the way of either the nefarious antics or political disposition of the POTUS.

That is not how it is supposed to work, of course, and a rare show of basic decency the SCOTUS has told Holder to respond to a German family being persecuted for homeschooling.

I admit I am doubtful they will do the right thing and let this family stay. But it is time for us to face the truth: this administration has done harm to its citizens and the cause of justice by not acting.

Ignoring injustice is a fine means of promoting it.

Tad Costin, Julia Lack, and the diminishing language of evil

A story developing out of Houston is so evil that I have opted to skip links: a man used his connection to in-home daycare for single parents to rape very young girls.

His pornographic model girlfriend may have helped him make videos. So far she has been charged with possessing child pornography.

It is a lurid story with the potential for hundreds of victims, many of whom would have been saved from this predator if he had been properly charged and convicted when he was caught sexually assaulting a young girl a few years ago.

The charges in that case were dropped, leaving him free to rape countless other little girls.

It further disturbs me that the language associated with the young victims is very dehumanizing.

The official legal statement refers to the victims as “young female children.”

Another site refers to the videos of the rapes of little girls as “material with minors.”

When you can’t call unfiltered evil evil, you definitely don’t have the guts to fight it.

The Girl in the Cage

The catalyst was an unsolved burglary–a nonviolent crime, and one that some police departments would not even bother to pursue.

Perhaps it was the gold bullion that saved her. You can imagine the home owner’s sense of violation and loss.

But in this case a pedestrian break-in and a bit of decent detective work revealed an unspeakable evil.

To think of the suffering of the little girl and the other children these two hurt is a burden to the psyche.

So the quotes about Mr. Gore are worth pondering–he seemed like a nice guy, went to church and everything.

Went to church and everything. Until we face the monsters in our own hearts we cannot face the monsters that walk among us.

And the scars, terrible scars in the heart of a little girl.

The Formula for Attachment Disorder

Of course I have wracked my brain about this–has it always been there?

Have there been generations of attachment disorder kids? I don’t think so. I think that RAD is a mostly modern problem, ushered in with the advent of formula for infants, ushered in as quickly as nursing mamas have been ushered out.

Up until the invention of fake breastmilk everyone had assumptions about the survival of infants: for at least the first few months someone with breasts was required.

We see nursing mothers (and surrogates) in great art and ancient sculpture. The baby who survived survived at the breast, able to spend crucial hours close to the face of love.

Attachment disorder is the opposite of that.. At the very most crucial time in a baby’s life, detaching a child from a consistent, nurturing presence is deadly–if not for the body, then absolutely for the soul.

Lots and lots and lots of people have been nurtured and loved and bottle-fed. But make no mistake–the advent of bottle-feeding is at the heart of the change that has robbed our poorest and most vulnerable babies of the love that would grow their souls.

The easiest way to “solve” the problem of attachment disorder is to make nursing a priority in our culture, and start valuing the power of nurture–breast or bottle, babies need snuggle time and a regular source of love.

There is no substitute for love.

Lucky, the Lonely Elephant

Thanks to my young zoology enthusiasts I have become a denizen of the San Antonio zoo. As such I am deeply concerned about Lucky, the lonely female elephant.

Yes, there is a petition.

But, here’s the thing. The SA zoo peeps say she is happy alone. She does not look happy alone.

She looks lonely, sad, and bored. I wanted to bust her outta there!!!

I do think she would be happier in a sanctuary or more progressive zoo. But barring that I am open to crowd-sourcing.

What would you tell the SA zoo to do to help Lucky?

Tell me.

Tell them.

Make some noise for Lucky. She deserves to live in community…and that takes more than luck.

Public Executions in North Korea

The news is grim.

In North Korea it is a capital offense to watch movies or own a Bible.

Recently I have read several articles about genocides in Africa, the lingering tragedy of the holocaust, and the absolute scourge of human trafficking. This world is full of human cruelty, and no country on the planet typifies the extent of this darkness more than North Korea.

What can be done?

Prayer is essential. But make no mistake, prayer is the earnest supplication of authority. We should pray to the King of kings for those whose lives are marked by misery and injustice.

But we should seek justice from lesser authorities as well. Where is our moral voice in this? Why is the world so mute when atrocity is at our doorstep?

Who will speak for those who already reside in hell?

And what cost to our souls if we stay silent?

When we are weak

This was over a decade ago. A small storefront church, a young mother speaking.

She spoke about a children’s song–

Jesus loves me this I know/for the Bible tells me so/little ones to him belong/they are weak, but he is strong/

The song is so simple, so elemental, but it is only a portion of a longer hymn few of us know or sing.

We like the idea of Jesus being strong until he requires something of us.

We like the idea of Jesus being strong until he requires us to acknowledge our weakness.

We are weak. All of us. There is not a living creature on the planet who can stave off death, yet we cling to the illusion of our self-sufficiency.

The young mother that day was focused on the call of the Gospel–one man able to save us from death forever, and how to bind that good news to her children, all God’s children.

How many times have you heard a person cry out in grief and pain and then seen people answer–

stay strong/you are strong.

No. You are not. None of are. We are weak. That is the point–we are weak. He is strong.
So when sin and grief and pain hit you hard remember this: the song is true.

We are weak
He is strong
Only his strength can save us
From the swirling darkness of this
Dying world

Hat People Myopia

I have a childlike way of seeing the world. There is a story in The Little Prince that I have found very useful over the years.

The narrator tells us that he once drew a picture of a snake swallowing an elephant. When he showed the picture to most people the drawing they exclaimed,

nice hat!

They could not picture the inside of the snake–the hidden elephant, if you will. He determined to talk to the hat people about insubstantial things–golf, the weather.

I find my hat picture is acknowledging great darkness in this world. Who wants to read about child abuse? Who really wants to write about it?

Not me.

I would rather not. I have done it aggressively, unapologetically over the last two years because I realized that it is a too-common story exacerbated and perpetuated by silence.

It has been an ugly cause. Made the more ugly for me personally because I realize how many “good” people do nothing.

I won’t ever be good at talking about golf while the world is burning.

Someone I cared about and once trusted as an elephant-seer had a conversation with me that reminded me how lonely the world of the abuse survivor can be.

The person’s discomfort was palpable and they couched it in terms of my Christianity. I have a feeling a lot of people look at my story of unhappy endings and think,

she must have done something wrong.

Of course I have! I am a sinner. But mental illness and child abuse happen everywhere, not just in my life. We don’t talk because have been taught to be ashamed.

That is not freedom in Christ. Freedom in the love of God involves a central story of pain, humiliation, agony, the death of God.

I cannot see the survivors of the crucifixion singing glib songs of cheap sentiments in the days of the cross.

Beware of people who preach resurrection joy without crucifixion agony.

The story of heaven can only be told if someone is willing to reckon with hell.

Thank God He did.