Do Unto Others …

The photo above was on the “front page” of the digital edition of the October 6 issue of the New York Times, and it took my breath away. My first cursory glance had me thinking: My granddaughter is in the NY Times! I have cropped the picture a bit. I looked at it only a few seconds and my heart beat faster and tears came to my eyes. It does look like Julia! Am I wrong to be grateful that it isn’t? The little girl in the photo has burns on her body from a bomb that was made up of chemical components. And she is in pain.

So … there we have it. Another shooting in a school in America and people post to Facebook that what is needed is sympathy. “Don’t politicize this.” The expectation from some is that our president should tell the victims’ families how sorry he (or she) is and leave it at that.

A little boy’s body washes up on shore; but let’s not politicize it.

The three-year old girl in the NY Times photo above – it’s tragic – but let’s not politicize it. (Does it matter that ISIS is the outfit that dropped the bomb?)

American planes strike a hospital in Afghanistan; but let’s not politicize it.

Whose side is Russia on as their warplanes carry out their sorties over Syria? Oh … wait a minute … let’s not politicize this.

Hurricanes come ashore, devastating lives and property; but let’s not politicize how our elected officials respond.

And of course, there is the classic when it comes to church – We don’t want to hear about “politics” when we hear the gospel.

“Politics” is a word derived from the Greek πολιτικός – “politikos“. The word means: relating to citizens; the practice and theory of influencing other people.

The pictures I see and the articles I read do influence me. I was influenced the other day to spend considerable time talking to a person who is most definitely unstable. Actually, I didn’t do much talking. I listened. What if the individual ever decided to get a gun and go shoot all the people they are angry at? If we, as a nation, are unwilling to treat the mentally ill, can we at least listen to them?

That little girl in the picture is not my granddaughter – a fact that in no way diminishes the horror of the deed or the pain she must bear. I just can’t believe the people responsible for this would ever encourage anyone to do the same to their little girl. We are “doing unto each other”; but we seem to have forgotten the other part of that maxim – the part about what we would have them to do us.

NY Times Article: ISIS Chemical Strike


Mark Demers

Want to talk about sex, politics, spirituality? So do I. I grew up in a religious home in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Our country was reeling from assassinations and the devastation of the Viet Nam War. Looking for something beautiful, I got a degree in music, married the love of my life and had children. Looking for God, I then went to seminary. Looking for something that might transform the world, I became a local church pastor. Now, I’m always looking for people who want to talk about important things. I cherish conversations with emerging leaders, people who are antsy to try an idea they believe would change the world for the better. I’d would love to hear from you.