The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) has just announced that there are over 65,000,000 refugees that have fled their homeland. That’s the highest number in history. Over 12,000,000 of these refugees are from one country, Syria.
At issue is not only their future, but the future of the world. How this part of our human family is received, how they are treated, and how they are accepted will determine not only what will ultimately happen to them, but exactly who we are and the values we truly espouse.
I have watched families fleeing their burning homes while dodging sniper fire. I have had the privilege to visit dozens of refugee camps and camps for the internally displaced, and have seen firsthand the fear, the anguish and the heartbreak of those driven from their homes.
In the end, it boils down to opening our arms to others in need, even as we would hope arms would be opened to our families if in the same tragic circumstances. We cannot go too far wrong just hewing as closely as possible to the Golden Rule.
Real leaders demonstrate their vision, their plans, their commitment and their power, through action. They consistently work to empower those around them through encouragement, coaching and positive reinforcement. Real leaders are definitely not perfect, but they are always committed to making a positive difference in the world and for the world.
Then there are others, like the #BLOTUS, who just seek power to enrich themselves. Their vision extends only as far as their mirrors and their checkbooks. Fake leaders are easily recognized by their whining, their sensitivity to criticism, and their pathological inability to accept responsibility.
No one is obliged to follow a fake leader. No one is required to respect a fake leader.
The good news is that there are real leaders who care and are willing to make a real difference. They are the ones who provide true hope for the future of our world.
We can ignore the fake leaders. Their is hope. All we need to do is to follow the real leaders.
“If your house is on fire, you don’t comfort yourself with the thought that houses have been catching fire for thousands of years. You don’t sit idly back and think, ‘Oh well, that is the way of nature.’ You get going, immediately. And you don’t spring into action because of an idealistic notion that houses deserve to be saved. You do it because if you don’t, you won’t have a place to live.” ~Bill Nye, Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World, 2015
We have a president that ignores and dismisses anything that is not profitable to himself in some way or another. His entire focus is power and wealth. But like most men wrapped up in themselves, he is a disgustingly small package.
At a time in history when climate change demands strong, determined action from global leaders, the #BLOTUS, thumbs his nose at science and turns his back on responsibility. He has bet the devil his fiddle of gold won’t melt in the fire. Then the little man paused, smirked, and said, ” to hell with the rest of them.”
Jesus’s “lack of moral principles.” He sat at meals with publicans and sinners, he consorted with harlots. Did he do this to obtain their votes? Or did he think that, he could convert them with such “appeasement”? Or was his humanity rich and deep enough to make contact, even with them, with that in human nature which is in common to all men, indestructible, and upon which the future must be built? — Dag Hammarskjöld in Markings
Jesus demonstrated a radical disregard for the social and religious mores of his day. He ignored social boundaries and appeared completely at home with those normally shunned by the “respectable class.”
Hammarskjöld asks us to ponder the motivation behind this seemingly calculated behavior. Why did Jesus appear to be far more comfortable with the dregs of society than with those who publicly professed the correct religious beliefs of his day?
Jesus didn’t ignore those with prestige, power and wealth. But it’s this class that were consistently the target of his harshest criticism. Why?
Could it be because, as he said, that those who are well don’t need a doctor? Could it be that the self-righteous who know they are on the right track would be too blind to accept the help they actually need? Or, might it be that Jesus just demonstrated that the message of God’s love finds far more receptivity with those whose need is the greatest?
Every week a tsunami rips through poor towns and villages all over the world.
It claims 25,000 lives a day, 173,00 a week.
It sweeps children from the arms of their mothers, robs hundreds of millions of any hope for the future.
That tsunami is hunger.
Global hunger is the perfect storm. We don’t need to tune to the weather station to get an early storm warning. It hits every day, and kills thousands. And the only shelter necessary is for us to share the abundant resources already available.
But for some reason, even in the midst of this ongoing tsunami, we don’t care enough to act. I wonder what single word might best describe our apathy.
I am torn between two choices. I think our lack of response to the cries of the hungry is either “pathetic” or “repulsive.”