Posts Tagged ‘Taliban’

Prayers for Pakistan

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

We awoke this morning to devastating news of Taliban militants attacking school children at the Army Public School and Degree College in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar.  Casualty figures this morning are around 125 dead, mostly children age 12-16.

These events are beyond enraging.  Beyond comprehending.  And they are the world in which we live.  A world at times incredibly blessed and at times  breathtakenly broken as we witness senseless acts of horrific violence inflicted on the defenseless.

So we pray. And we cry.  And maybe something in us stirs to do.

This story is not outside the Christmas narrative.  2,000 years ago, feeling threatened by the birth of the new king in the form of infant Jesus, King Herod, to eliminate potential threats to his despotic reign, ordered the slaughter of  Jewish infants under his jurisdiction.  Titled “The Slaughter of Innocents” it is a little known tragedy tucked away in the Christmas story.  And God’s heart broke as well, “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more.”

Events like the the unfolding tragedy in Pakistan are one of the painful reminders that the work we do, the world we advocate for, is not a small thing or a little thing or a conveniently happy little church thing.  It is no less than revolutionary in a still and quiet and non-violent way.  Joined by countless millions from many denominations.  An authentic alternative.  Beginning in our own broken hearts and reaching out into a broken world.

So we pray for Pakistan and we pray for the world.

The Attack on Malala Yousafzai

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Many of us are aware of the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, a young Pakistani teenager who spoke out for the educational rights of girls in her country.  Shot in the head by Taliban terrorists, she is currently undergoing treatment in Europe.


Reading her story leaves one with a great sense of awe at her courage. This morning, I re-read the words from New Testament letter of James that seem to so neatly capture her life.  It is the God-given command to “humbly accept the word planted in you that can save you.”  (James 1:21)  This is someone who came into her voice – the word planted in her – at a very young age. Unfortunately that voice ran counter to other voices – voices of misogyny, fundamentalism, and cruelty.  Such is our life when we are stirred by God in such a way that we become “dangerous.” As one author noted, “After any “raising up” of our True Selves, we will no longer fit into many groups, even much of religious society, which is often obsessed with and yet indulgent of the False Self, because that is all it knows.”

And that is why we need to continually press the forces of darkness that would strangle that very word/ Word.  We can do that in big ways and small.  A simple story of the way forward …. A few nights ago my wife and I were at a local church taking a course on money management. I introduced myself to the pastor after the program, asking him if he ever rented his building. He said he felt strongly that the building was God’s, not his, so of course they were open to others using the facility. That is not the reaction many places of worship have – including many that I grew up in and have been part of.  In that small comment by the Pastor, – a reaching on his part – speaks to a bigger, more loving picture beyond the tribalism that often passes for “faith” today, a tribalism, in its extreme, that nearly killed Malala Yousafzai.


“Faith does not effect salvation unless love is present.”

Arcana Coelestia 369 Emanuel Swedenborg