38 MILLION.

0c23a33da15d782027dcda6ed306db9d

Did you hear that sound?

It was as if 38 million people had all uttered a string of expletives at the same instant.

Could such a thing be possible?

Yes indeed.  That’s not your imagination.  It’s the sound of 38 million Ashley Madison customers finding out their private accounts just became public.

By now, most have heard about this dubious website.  It was designed to be a discreet, anonymous place to set up an illicit affair.

Kind of a Match.com for people who had already been matched.

Government employees, that Duggar family creep, even a Christian video blogger have all been caught up in this scandal, and there are plenty more to come.

38 million.  That’s a lot of spouses about to be kicked out on the street.

Let’s see.  How many people is that, exactly?

Well, I did a search for “38 million” and here’s what I found from Yahoo News back in May:

Geneva (AFP) – Conflicts and violence in places like Syria and Ukraine have displaced a record 38 million people inside their own countries, equivalent to the total populations of New York, London and Beijing, a watchdog group said Wednesday.

Oh wait.  That’s an altogether different group of 38 million displaced people.

Hmm.  Who should we pray for?  The innocent victims of war and violence — losing their homes, their possessions, and their jobs?

Or should we pray for the not-at-all-innocent folks who tried to sneak around their marriage vows, and got caught?

I’m gonna pray for both.

One group has been horribly mistreated.  One group may get what they deserve.

But now’s as good a time as any to remember

that Grace is available…

no matter the state of your affairs.

Have a great week,

Mitch

fbef88eda32feec3d7d8fe253bf46291f25ab6d9

What’s Your Red Line?

Why So Syria_

Pardon me for paraphrasing Heath Ledger, but “Why So Syria?”

I mean, why are we on the brink of war in that country?

I know that 355 people died last week, in an attack.

But so what?

I mean, any death is terrible, but a few hundred deaths is a drop in the bucket for Syria.

Since July of 2011, over 100,000 people have died in that country.

Half of them were civilians.

So what’s changed now? What’s pushed us to the brink?

Apparently it’s not just that they died, but also how they died.

The group Doctor’s Without Borders identified what appears to be 355 deaths as a result of a neurotoxin being released. (With thousands injured)

It appears to be iron clad proof that the Syrian government has used Chemical Weapons against civilians.

And so, as I write this, U.S. cruise missiles are poised nearby, ready to punish President Bashar al-Assad for using such a horrid weapon.

You, reading this later will know better than I how it turns out, but here’s a question to ask yourself:

What is your red line?

U.S. President Obama declared last year that the use of chemical weapons was his red line, a point where military retaliation from the U.S. would come into play.

Why so Syria? That’s, in part, why. This was Obama’s red line.

So what’s yours? At what point, if ever, is the use of military force warranted?

Do you measure it by a body count? Or a time line? Or an ethical imperative? Or a vested interest?

These are decisions you and I may hopefully never have to make, and yet, as Christians, these are questions we mustn’t avoid.

At what value do you place human life? At what point is taking human life an acceptable alternative for the sake of preserving it?

If you were in Obama’s shoes, what would your line be?

Christians typically range from pacifism to “just war” thinking. What about you?

I notice that as I get older, I find myself slowly moving from the pacifism side, somewhere into the mushy middle, where ethical considerations like this become so difficult.

I continue to pray for the people of Syria, and for our elected leaders, but I also pray for clarity of my own beliefs.

I pray to know not just “What Would Jesus Do”, but perhaps the more pointed question, “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”

I think I need to know where my red line is. Do you?

One thing is for sure,

that line becomes more and more blurry

when it seems the whole word is seeing red.

Have a good week,

Mitch

image_452

Images from http://images.cryhavok.org/ and http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/title/452