Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Turning the volume down.

In my previous post, I mention a sermon by Eric Ludy. It's called "Depraved Indifference". Its main focus is having the heart of God towards the insignificant (unborn babies whether aborted or miscarried, children starving in Liberia, etc.).

At one point, he tells the story of some Jews during the holocaust and I was able to find a similar story online at this website:

After a speech, pro-life activist Penny Lea was approached by an old man. Weeping, he told her the following story:

"I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place. What could anyone do to stop it?

A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews. They were like cattle in those cars!

Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing! We could do nothing to help these poor miserable people, yet their screams tormented us. We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we'd just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it much anymore, but I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. I can still hear them crying out for help. God forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians, yet did nothing to intervene.

I want to write and write and write, and say much about the condition of our churches today, but, at least for today, I won't.

Here's what I will say -

I don't have to sing louder to drown out the suffering of the world. Because I've allowed the world so near around me that those train tracks don't even run near my heart. I don't hear the cries because I'm too far removed. I hear some, a little, in my little fostered ones, but this is such a small amount compared to what is actually happening in the world around me - while I surf facebook and check my e-mail and post junk on craigslist.

SO, all that said, I'm turning the volume down. I want to hear. I want to seek out the hurting and broken, and sick and abused. And, for now, I will at least take a step in, what I believe is, the right direction.

For the month of January I am turning my computer off.

I've sinned with it, in that I could have done good with it, and I did not.
I could have sought out a cause to pray for, educated myself on ways to help, spent my evenings with God more than facebook, and with my neighbors more than craigslist and the 1000 blogs I have in my google reader.

I told my family the decision and apparently it wasn't quite clear so just to clarify - with my computer off, I will not be checking my e-mail or facebook. If you want to get hold of me, you'd best do it the good old fashioned way and either use pen and paper or my phone.

I have to be careful - as I've been burdened with this I've leaned towards condemnation and as I condemn myself, others may feel that I am condemning them as well.
I don't know about you. Oh, I've read your facebook posts and I've probably judged you, but I do know that I don't know you. None of you.
What I do know about myself is that children are dying. God has created life, and it is dying of starvation, sickness, disease, and I haven't given my life for His children. People think I won't be able to give up facebook and email for a full month (The plan is just for the month of January right now), and I find that sad and it makes me wonder about the life that I've lived in front of them.

Do they say I won't last because of their desire for facebook and email, or because of my attitude towards facebook and e-mail?

I don't know.

What I do know is that people are dying, and I watched youtube videos.
A 4 year old is digging through trash to find her next meal and I was flipping through my "friends" 92 photos of their family opening trash and junk and stuff.

Eric Ludy's term of "Depraved Indifference" is a legal term: To constitute depraved indifference, the defendant's conduct must be 'so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime. Depraved indifference focuses on the risk created by the defendant’s conduct, not the injuries actually resulting.

I don't know how to not be indifferent. I listen to Ludy speak the words over and over again and I want God to give me His heart for people but at the same time I know how I would act if it were my child digging through the trash, utterly alone in a foreign country. If I treated the knowledge of ALL the children doing so, and took it to my heart as if they were my own children - as God does - even trying to imagine it right now it feels as though I would lose my mind.

But God knows how far to take me.

I want to give my living. I want to love as He loves. I want to know that hours are filled with necessary, and not the foolish*cough*facebook*cough*.
I want cries to be what I hear, so that I can pray and know the urgency and feel the need - and not just imagine a need that is too much for my mind to conceive too far away.

This will be my last post till February.
If you're my friend, pray for me.
I have dreams and goals that are not of this world.
And not the faintest clue how to reach them except to trust Jesus to bring me where He'll have me.

And, as someone that wonders about who my readers are, I'm going to be praying for you too. Consider turning it all off. Turn the volume down so that you can chase after something eternal, rather than have eternal things simply be a Sunday hobby, or something simply "carried in your heart". Turn it off.
And if you can't - if you really really can't - you are a slave to it. And no man can serve two masters.
Choose this day whom you will serve.

1 comment:

Rachel R. said...

Thank you for posting this. Yes, and yes. I am doing a study now called Fresh Encounter and have been challenged to pray daily that God will lay His broken heart over mine. It is hard, but all the fluff of this world has faded into the background, and this life is so much more focused and fulfilling compared to the one I lived for so long. Have also been reading the Eric Metaxas biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Press on.