Thursday, August 29, 2013

People should be aware

I usually avoid putting up articles and such as a blog but this really broke my heart and I really feel like there is a need to share it. I received an email today from an organization that I follow called World Watch. Their goal is to be a voice for the little guy that seems to be constantly drowned out by many different people. It is mostly a Christian organization and the look out for those types of groups; however, don't let that turn you off to this post. For those of you that might not be Christian and find yourself on this blog it is still important for you to read. It is about the Syrian conflict and it shows that there are other factors that are involved. There are not just the 'rebels' and Assad's regime. There are other people caught in the cross fire. Some of them find safety under Assad's banner. Most of these are about non combatants. Anyway, here is the email. It is another viewpoint on this matter.

"Viewpoint: A troubling call from Syria

Nuri Kino is a Sweden-based independent journalist. His report, titled ”The Camp,” which examined the construction of a massive refugee camp for Syrian Christians inside Turkey, appeared May 5 at World Watch Monitor.

Aug. 26

Early this morning I received a phone call from Mary, a friend in Sweden who was born in Syria. She wanted me to check my Facebook account. A young Syrian woman, Nour, wanted to become friends with me. I accepted the request. A minute later, Nour wrote me her first message. She had pictures from Tabqa, a town that was totally emptied of Christian Assyrians. Nour also had the contact information of victims of fundamentalist Islam. They, the victims, want the world to know what has happened to them. A group of non-Syrian Mujahedeen drove them out of their homes.The message from the perpetrators was ”convert to Islam or leave”. I called one of the victims, and heard horrifying stories about religious and ethnic cleansing.

Christians in Syria are a vulnerable group. They comprise approximately 12 percent of the population. Tabqa used to be a modern city with cinemas, hairdressers, fashion boutiques and restaurants. Now it is driven by men in beards who no longer allow any of that.

An hour after my interview with that refugee, US Secretary of State John Kerry declared ”there must be accountability” on behalf of the victims of a chemical weapon attack. Considering all the evidence emerging from witnesses, from images, from human-rights groups and from medical information provided by Doctors Without Borders, Kerry said ”these all strongly indicate” that ”chemical weapons were used in Syria,” and that they were fired by the Syrian government.

Doctors Without Borders didn't  appreciate its medical reports being used as a justification for possible military action. It issued a statement stressing that only ”an independent investigation” can determine whether the hundreds of bodies arriving at hospitals Aug. 21 were killed by chemical weapons, and that the organization has not placed blame anywhere.

While I tuned in to YouTube to listen to Kerry’s speech again, an Assyrian refugee who has taken shelter in Lebanon called me. Ninos wanted to know whether I thought NATO will bomb Syria. His family remains in Syria. They fled from rebel-controlled Homs to regime-controlled suburbs. They feel safer in areas where the regime can protect them, where al-Nusra or other fundamentalist Islamists can’t persecute them. Ninos said he’s afraid that, if the U.S. and its allies enter the war, Christians will be suffer doubly, and that they will be bombed along with Alawites, a Muslim sect that 15 percent of Syrians, including President Bashar al-Assad, belong to.

At the end of his speech, Kerry declared the US must protect the most vulnerable. I wondered if he, and the American allies currently expressing outrage, have thought about Christians like Ninos, his family, and Nour. They have not killed a single soul. They definitely have not gassed anyone. And they are the most vulnerable Syrians of all."

I just wanted to encourage everyone to be aware of what is going on. Please pray for these people in this country, and if you can do so, email your representative and oppose what is happening in this country. Think about the consequence of more arms provided by our country and even oppose that if you think it is a problem as well. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Don't Forget About Love

I just wanted to encourage you not to forget about love. It seems that love is all to easy to forget. We tend to focus on other issues all to fast. If you look at the popular discussions in Christian circles, it seems that they are full of controversy. Gay/interracial marriage, religious violence, racism, war, abortion, immigration, etc., seem to be the popular topics these past few months. These issues may be or may not be (depending on who you are) that important, this is not about that; however, what we need to remember is love. We need to come to talk about our concerns (what ever they may be) in a way that is loving, not hateful. This is especially true for Christians because unlike the rest of the world, we are called to represent something so much bigger then us: the message of Jesus. When we don't speak and act out in love, we are actually damaging that representation, and the result is the spread of what I like to call, the anti-Gospel. Are you spreading the anti-gospel?

I know that for myself, I spread the anti-gospel by not necessarily spreading hateful speech but by inactivity. I don't speak when I should, nor do I act when it is important. I am part of that sleeping giant who needs to wake up. I tend to get easily distracted with things in my own life that I end up ignoring what is going on around me. My contribution to the anti-Gospel is not showing the opposite; the true Gospel about the Love that God has and that we should have as individuals. Many of you fall into this camp as well. I hope that you can make a commitment with me and stand up in love!

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. " - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7