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Getting Personal and Getting Angry


Folks, there is a problem – a huge problem – a growing problem and The Church is standing on the sidelines.

18 veterans a day are committing suicide, 1 active duty military person is choosing to end their own life every single day.  Think about that for a moment.  Over 550 men and women per MONTH are taking their own lives.  I’m angry.  I’m angry that for the most part our government wants to sweep it under the rug, for the most part the media isn’t talking about it.  There have been a few articles exploring the active military side in these past few days.  One article from the Boston Globe is here.  There still isn’t much coverage of veteran suicide rates.

But here is what really pisses me off.  The Church talks about mission – but seems to be missing a huge mission opportunity in ministry to these men and women who are hurting so badly.  The Church talks about hope and grace and life – but it seems to me that there is not nearly enough action to go with the talk.  We spend so much time trying to define ourselves, of arguing about the color of carpet, trans vs consubstantiation, or which side of a sexuality vote we are on that we are missing a huge cry from a hurting world.

A few years ago I attended a conference led by Paul Rajeshekar and spent most of the time being very unimpressed.  However, something he said has stuck with me all of these years.  He talked about The Church’s mission is to “Saturday people.”  He said there are people in this world who are Good Friday people, they mill around in the market place never really experiencing the pain of betrayal, death, the cross and hurt – then there are Easter people who know full well the joy and power of the resurrection.  His treatise, as I recall, is that the Friday group isn’t really interested and the Sunday group is already involved.

He went on to talk about a group he called “Saturday people” – those folks who fully understand the pain of death and misery, the reality of betrayal and the cross – but haven’t yet experienced or because of their tomb can not experience Sunday.  He argued, “This is our mission field – these are the ones crying out for hope, grace, love, and promise.”  Friends, we are the ones carrying that message.

550 people a month, an average of over 10 per state per month are so lost in Saturday they are ending their own lives – statistics show that probably 1000 more attempt to kill themselves without success.  How many of those  soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines live in your community?  Could you make a difference?

I have been waiting on something to be said from some denominational body – so far, silence.  In many ways because of The Church’s stance against war and aggression we have become silent about the suffering of those who are sent to those places.  Folks, these men and women did not start wars, I have never known a soldier who started a war – politicians do that and then send these men and women into hell.

On Saturday I stood with men and women, veterans from wars and police actions.  I was asked to speak to Purple Heart recipients from WWII all the way up to our current conflicts.  I looked into their eyes, heard their stories, and listened to the numbers and I can no longer wait for a denomination to speak – I will speak.  I can no longer wait for an administration to act – I will act.  I can no longer wait for the news to tell the story – I will tell the story.  I can no longer wait… can you?


One Comment leave one →
  1. 11June2012 18:36

    Thanks for this reminder… now on my Twitter and Facebook!

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