Archive for the ‘Culture’ category

Remembering Septemer 11

September 11, 2012

I remarked to a couple friends that today marks one of the first anniversaries of September 11 on which many of the current  college freshmen would barely remember the events of that tragic day.  In previous years, 2009 and 2010, I have put together tributes based on some of the videos, speeches, and songs related to that day.  I wanted to take this moment to recall some of the memories of a young 11 year old from that day.  We began watching the news not long after the second plane hit the tower when my grandmother called to tell us what happened.

The scariest moment of the day was when the camera panned to the smoke at the pentagon.  My heart sank, and there was this fear, “Where will they hit next?”  The thing that confused me the most throughout the day was how America could let people grow so strong that they could launch such a devastating attack.  As a young child I was astounded by how quickly the commentators could identify that the attacks had to coordinated by Osama Bin Lade and Al Qaeda.  Why a superpower like America would let people in the middle of nowhere grow and organize till they could launch such a sophisticated attack made no sense at all.  One of the happiest moments was knowing my uncle and the many other friends we knew from New Jersey were all safe.  My uncle came into the second tower on the train shortly after the first tower was hit, and was immediately rushed outside.  I remember as well playing soccer that night.  Al Bedrosian was the head of our homeschool soccer league.  He decided we wouldn’t let the terrorists keep us from playing.  We played, and then we went back to being glued to our tv.

I remember countless stories of heroism by ordinary people.  I remember a nation who was no longer red and blue, but united as President Bush and Mayor Giuliani courageously lead us.  We were a nation brought together by suffering.  The bitter partisanship of Bush v. Gore was driven away.  Americans had been attacked, and we would do whatever we could to support the victims, and avenge the dead.

I remember how baseball united us.  When baseball returned, especially to New York City, normalcy and healing began.  While the attacks were not enough to bring the nation to rout for the New York Yankees in the World Series, a couple less people referred to them as the Evil Empire that year.  With the delay of baseball that year, Derek Jeter became known as Mr. November, and President Bush’s World Series opening pitch in New York City inspired a nation.

I remember the red American flag t-shirt with a bald eagle on it that I bought days before and how I treasured it for years.  I remember tracking every movement of our military operations in the newspaper and the radio.  I could tell you what happened at every one of the early military encounters at the time.  We were a different nation after that day.  The crash of the planes brought the nation face to face with the brutal face of terrorism.  For a young boy growing up this shaped how I viewed the world.  It woke me up from my naivete and showed me that there was evil in the world, and that we must stand up to it.

What do you remember?  How has it affected you?  Will you join me in making sure that those everyone remembers what happened on that day?

Here is a very good video tribute of news clips documenting the day.


A Time to Mourn and a Time to Depoliticize

July 22, 2012

Almost as tragic as the Aurora Theater massacre was the response.  When a senseless act of tragedy occurred, people immediately made it about politics.  In one of the first reports that morning, ABC news tried tying the tragedy to the Tea Party.  People on both sides of the gun control issue tried using the tragedy to further their argument.  Some argued that allowing people to carry weapons into the theater would have stopped or lessened the tragedy, others argued tougher gun control laws could have prevented it altogether.  Amidst the questions of could a gun stopped a surprise 90 second rampage in a dark smoke filled room, and whether a criminal would have obeyed the law when purchasing his arsenal, something important was forgotten.  Innocent people were suffering and needed our prayer, care and support.  Also law enforcement was still trying to understand what had happened that day.  Hours after a tragedy that took the lives of about a dozen and wounded dozens more, is making your political point really the most important thing to do?  At a time when law enforcement is still trying to figure out critical parts of the tragedy, is it really the right time to decide what could have prevented it?  We still don’t know how a broke grad student can afford and purchase a shotgun, automatic rifle, two pistols, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, full body tactical gear, canisters of tear gas, and explosives?  We also don’t know why he simply turned himself in without a fight right after the shooting spree.

I hope some day people will realize the insensitivity and irresponsibility of politicizing a tragedy as soon as it happens.  Let us also start praying that Colorado will be spared this kind of tragedy for quite a while.  In the meantime there are things that can be done to help.  The cost from medical bills related to this tragedy are going to add up, and the family of Petra Anderson are rallying to help raise money for these unforeseen expenses.  Please watch the video by Chloe Anderson and watch, share, and donate to help the families of the victims.

Where is God During Senseless Evil?

July 22, 2012

The senseless evil that occurred in Colorado this past Thursday during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises forced many to ask one of the age old questions, how can a good God allow evil to exist?  People have wrestled with the answer to this question for years.  No one will be able to answer this question fully.  As you wrestle with this question again, I would encourage you not to immediately jump to saying that this is probably a form of God’s judgement.  There are many possible explanations.  Jesus even makes a point of saying that judgement of sin is not always the reason the cause of tragedy. (Luke 13:1-5)  While tragedy should be a reminder of the brevity of life, no warrant exists to assume that tragedy is necessarily an act of God’s judgement.  Quickly jumping to this conclusion also needlessly burdens the victims of a tragedy.

However, I would like to point you to two people who wrestled with the question of evil when they experienced terrible evil in their own lives.  The author of the first article, Where is God in Tragedy, dealt with the brutal death of his young newly married cousin.  The author of the second article lived through the Colorado shooting.  I hope these two articles help you as you question the existence of evil in the world in light of the recent tragedy.