Everything happens…

We lack a holy rage – The ability to rage when justice lies prostrate on the streets… a holy anger about the things that are wrong in the world… To rage when little children must die of hunger when the tables of the rich are sagging with food… To rage against complacency. To restlessly seek that recklessness that will challenge and seek to change human history until it conforms to the norms of the Kingdom of God.

-Kaj Munk (quoted in Irresistible Revolution)

It’s always interesting whom you may encounter in a laundromat. In that world that seems to have been almost removed completely from time and space. You pass in and then out of those doors, piles of fabric in tow; days, weeks or months could pass, and yet when you depart from whence you came it is as if the world stood still.

This is where we met. Instantly bonded by the shared experience of this ‘other world’, Christian and Atheist. It was interesting hearing her take on life, hypotheses for raising four children, and just a glimpse into her heart and the resolutions she’d reached which left her at a crossroads: to believe in a God of wretchedness, or to believe in nothing at all.

This encounter proved to be less of a conversation and more of a monolog. I found myself intrigued, staring silently into her heart as she spoke, squinting to try to see around all of the pretty, distracting decorations we hide ourselves in, interested to understand. But the part that dismantled the conversation, that knocked the breath out of my lungs and sent shock-waves up my spine was a simple phrase that I’d heard countless times. As we shared a sadness for those infants whose parents carry them into the scorching summer heat to beg for money, the babies, barely able to walk, who are pushed out into traffic with their hands out, the children who have hand or foot chopped off by their own parents in order to get more sympathy money, she said, “Well, that is their lot in life. Everything happens for a reason.” Wow. I was baffled and horrified. I had heard this my entire life from Christians trying to make sense of a broken world, and honestly I’m sure I’ve even said it myself. But this time it blindsided me, an uppercut to the jaw that knocked me on my tail… because this idea, when taken to it’s logical conclusion, brings us to the same verdict that this woman had reached.

Man Asleep

She had denounced this God that was supposed to be loving and yet forced His son to come to earth and die, that allows so much horror to take place in this world because He has some ultimate hidden purpose. What broke my heart is that this lady in her genuine quest for truth seemed to have thrown in the towel at the most crucial point, and contradictorily regurgitated a pithy Christian phrase. She had given up at the cliff’s edge as she lumped all things unresolved into “This is your lot in life, you were broken and maimed, molested and abused by those people who were supposed to above anyone else take care of and love you, but well, everything happens for a reason.”

I do agree that everything happens for a reason, but the reason is that we live in a world full of broken, hurting people who choose sometimes horrific and unthinkable things. God is behind it, but only because He gave us this beautiful, powerful gift of choice, which many times I wish He wouldn’t have. We choose to burn out the eyes of our own children so we can get a few more coins. We choose to sell drugs to children because we want to make money and feel in control.We choose to take up a gun and kill our own brothers and sisters because we are angry and want revenge. We choose to sell our innocent young daughters into sex slavery because we need the money to pay our rent. We choose to shut up our windows and close our doors to the hurting and shattered in this world, we choose to ignore those things that have gotten so utterly broken. And to ease the tension of our choice we say, “Well, everything happens for a reason.” Yes, everything does happen for a reason, and that reason is us.

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7 Responses to “Everything happens…”

  1. Wow. Said perfectly.

    That quote is one of my favorites from I.R.

  2. isaac Says:

    I too like the quote. How often and readily we avoid personal responsibility – Christian or not. I just read a verse in 1 Timothy (I think) in which Paul tells us that if we do not materially take care of our families, we are worse than unbelievers. While that verse does not exactly apply to this story, one of the concepts is there: we as Christians KNOW BETTER. And we ought to DO better. Our pastor told us a couple of weeks ago about the Roman notion of knowledge: you don’t know something unless you do it.
    I think that there is much we believe, but do not know.

  3. Isaac,
    I totally agree! It’s so much easier to “love your neighbor” as a concept, but to jump into the muck and actually love… most of us have no idea what that even means. I have been so challenged this past year here, even in the midst of overwhelming need it sometimes feels easier to shut down. But we cannot! We absolutely have an obligation to do something, not only as a human family, but even more as the children of God, who are commissioned by our Father and King to actively call down the Kingdom of Heaven to this broken, hurting world. The state of our world today is a direct result of our choices, each one added to the other to paint this picture of a sadly disjointed body who is determinedly fighting to kill itself. This must change, and we can do it… nay, we must do it.

  4. Brother,

    Your words speak to my heart.

    I read this yesterday and have been thinking about it all night.

    Damn right we are the reason!!!

    It is our refusal to see, our neglect of what is, that is the reason behind so much of the suffering in this world.

    This responsibility is too much for some people to bear… so they choose to shirk it… to transfer it… to say ‘thats not my business… Its theirs… its theirs… its theirs…”

    But ah theres the rub…

    There is no them.

    Only us.

    As Elie Wiesel said ”

    The opposite of love is not hate.

    Its indiifference.”

    Power and peace to you Brother as you walk the road,

    M

  5. Maithri,

    Wow, thank you for your words. It is heartbreaking to come to this precipice and to see the devastation of the war that has so utterly ravaged humanity for so many thousands of years. It seems that we so often peer from the parted curtains of our beautifully sterile homes built on the mountain tops into the blood-stained valley just outside our window, where so many of our own brothers and sisters have died.

    We choose to deny any responsibility for what we see, to throw off the essence of who we are as Kingdom-bringers and the authority we walk in in this world, and to live in our own matrix, our own false reality. We seem to be awaking to know it is false, but we cling to it in our refusal to engage in the fight that is raging outside our own door, the fight which we are destined to win if we will only begin.

    How can we wake ourselves from this lethargy?

    Things absolutely must change. And we are the ones that have been handed the keys to do it, yet we have mindlessly tossed them into our pile of abundance, not realizing the power that they hold.

    misty

  6. Wow, very powerful and thought provoking!
    Amen

  7. Dear Hearts,

    I am sitting here shaking my head. You are so right. We are the reason…for it all.

    Now IS the time to stop the insanity. No one deserves to suffer, have pain, be sick, lack housing, starve or go without food, medicine or an education. Those of us who have a voice MUST start using it to help those whose voice has been lost in the constant babble of uncontrolled power and avarice.

    Bless you for your awareness, your words, your Light.

    Peace and Love, Linda

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