Hope in the Face of Evil

There is no end to the evil which is in the news on any given day. I find myself sometimes immobilized with feelings of helplessness.

At a recent neighborhood street party in Toronto innocent people were shot, some were wounded and thus far two people have died. This isn’t supposed to happen in Canada. It was a story shocking enough to hit the American news cycle for a day.  It is stories like this and the one which continues to unfold in Colorado, that brings a shadow of darkness to my mind and soul.

The morning after the Toronto shooting I had coffee with an urban leader who lives just down the block from where the mayhem occurred. You won’t read about him on Google news or see him in a YouTube clip anytime soon. He’s not famous.

He told me he was sorry for being late for our appointment but he had a hard time getting out of his neighborhood due to the number of police cars and news crews on his route. He only found out about the prior nights tragedy as he listened to the radio on his drive to meet me. After our meeting he was heading back to see if he could connect with any of the churches in that neighborhood.  “The churches and the pastors in that neighborhood are in the best position to help people respond to the crisis. I want to see if I can assist them in anyway.

He is a leader and it is people like him who give me hope.  I pray that Aurora has many quiet, faithful leaders like him.

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Motivators

This past week marked the one year anniversary of the killing of a friend who was working in Afghanistan.  He had gone to Afghanistan motivated by being a “little bit of Christ” among the poor.  By all indication, he indeed was a “little bit of Christ” to many.

As I ponder my friend’s tragic death, many questions continue to fill my mind.  But one which continues to linger is the question of leadership.  How and by whom was my friend motivated to take such loving action?  As leaders we are often called to be agitators within a system of oppression.  In doing so we become the motivators for many to step out in faith and risk much–even their own lives.  We have all too often witnessed the other side of leadership which motivates others toward destruction such as those who committed the atrocious act in Afghanistan.

As leaders, we must not allow incidents such as this to dissuade us away from motivating others to take risks through actions of love which benefit our communities.  At times like this, there exists the temptation to step back and become overly cautious motivators.  However, such action will eventually lead leaders to become like salt which has lost its flavor.  I suggest if we as leaders are not stepping out and taking risks in the name of Christ ourselves we will indeed become flavorless.  JM