Friday, November 20, 2015

The Christian mindset needed to stop the modern holocaust

An undone research project sits on my desk and the laundry pile in the corner of my room would be giving me a blaring glare if it had eyes. 

However, there is a holocaust going on. And I can't change it. So I'm speaking up instead. 

WWII was a six-year-global war and frankly, horrific. No, I was not alive during the time. But my father was in the country when the wall was torn down and I've heard the stories. During the war people were identified, categorized, isolated. Although this is genocide is often remembered, we have failed to stop genocides since then. In Sudan alone, 2 million people died, 4 million more during their civil war. 

Unfortunately, it sounds like today's society. 

The attack on Paris proved that ISIL operatives can, slide right into the midst of thousands of refugees fleeing the havoc of certain death. Mind you, they found that the Syrian passport on the suicide bomber was fake, a plant. (Here's a little context about ISIL if you're just getting informed. It's explained very simply and clearly.What truly appalls me is the coldness coming from so many Christians. I was raised as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where I learned about charity, courage and compassion. 

I learned about the Good Samaritan, apostles and prophets that sacrificed everything they had for others, and most importantly, Christ's sacrifice which categorized not one person as anything other than beloved children of God.

So why are we differentiating between those that need help? How is that any different than the self-centered men that walked past the mugged man lying on the side of the road? 

We've already been the Priest. We've already been the Levite. It's time to be the Samaritan.

I'm not saying that as a country, we don't have people who need help. There are plenty of homeless people, but they are given resources. There are homes, there is always food for them. And if there aren't what are states doing to help? Homelessness Veterans are no more in the State of Virginia. They are the first state to functionally end homelessness. I'd love to see more people follow in their footsteps. 

But these refugees are driven from their homes and literally left with nothing. And, I'm sorry, who are WE to say that this person deserves better care than another. We as Christians are not just concerned about our country. We are concerned about our brothers and sisters. 

I'm also not saying that all refugees will accept my kindness. I offered one homeless man conversation and a banana. He threw it at my car. Did that stop me from helping the next person because of one man's cynicism? No. 

I was recently told a story about a man who was deployed in Iraq. A Muslim suicide bomber entered a crowd intending to kill Shiite pilgrims, but a Muslim policeman recognized what was about to happen, tackling the suicide bomber. His body absorbed almost all of the impact, shielding a few instead of dozens. He was married and had children.

Take a moment to think about how you are here today. The majority of us have ancestors that came from other European countries. We, ourselves, were refugees. What if the Native Americans said, "sorry, we don't want your diseases," or "there's probably some bad apples in the mix, so we can't accept any of you." 

The U.S House divided the President's own party with a 289-137 vote to require new FBI background checks and a sign off from three high-ranking U.S. officials. It already takes months, and it will now probably take years. A total of 31 state Governors have declared they will not accept any Syrian refugees. (Note: the federal law actually prevents these states from blocking refugees, but they will probably refuse to provide additional assistance. The good news is that other states are willing to take these refugees.) We've only accepted 1,500 refugees, although the Obama Administration committed to accept 10,000 more. With 318 million people in the United States, a few thousand is like offering one lick of a lollipop. Out of about 800,000 refugees that have settled here since 2001, not one has resorted to terrorism. The screening we have has been considerably useful. Not to mention, only allowing "proven Christians" into the United States is against America's core values. 

Yet, even after 129 deaths in the Paris attacks, French President Francois Hollande has committed to take in tens of thousands of refugees.

My heart aches. 

France is still accepting refugees, because they know there's something more important. If they stop accepting refugees, ISIL wins. This group is literally driving these people from their homes. Obviously, they don't want everyone to leave. They want us to hate the refugees, disavow them, segregate them. They want us to be scared, to be angry. Don't let them win. As this now single father says, "don't give them the gift of hatred."

We are letting them win.

How I see it? 

Dear Syrian refugees, 

We don't want you. We don't want to help because we have to worry about ourselves, and our self comforts before we can help other people. Yes, we know how desperate your situation is. We've heard from the A21 people, and plenty of refugees themselves. But we've also heard from news sources that you'll be OK. That the actual majority is part of a mass terrorist group, so we don't want to take the chance. We'll send some food over for a little bit. Stay clear of human traffickers. 

Good luck to you. God bless. 
The unUnited States of America

We cannot fight hate with hate. Insult them with happiness and compassion instead.

The Golden Rule isn't just a nice suggestion from Jesus, it greatly simplifies foreign policy. 

Donald Trump himself is even saying he's all for making all Muslims identify themselves. Excuse me? Sounds like Adolf Hitler's personal method applied in our modern society. Do we really want to relive that horror? The answer is a resounding no.

Now, I am different than every person in this world. I'm the girl that stops to talk to almost every homeless person on the street. My husband will occasionaly advise against it. Sometimes, he finds it silly that I try to help everyone, even though they could maybe hurt me. It's important to be careful, but it's just as important to be Christlike. Everyone deserves Christ in their life. Everyone deserves to be loved. Innately, I trust people. I trust that when I help someone out, they will appreciate it. I trust that these refugees really do need help. 

Christ never categorized a group of people. The sinners, he helped. The sick, he healed. 

He trusted Judas, knowing that he would one day betray him. 
He trusted Peter, knowing that he would soon deny him.

So the question comes, what WOULD Jesus do? I think you know the answer.  

If you really delve into the depths of your soul and take a look at humanity, you know. He loves every one of his children equally. The LDS Church has donated more than 5 million dollars to the cause. They have encouraged there members over and over to provide whatever support we can offer why? Because they know what Jesus would do.

Once, a dear friend hung off the edge of a cliff during a backpacking trip. I stooped down to offer my assistance, putting my life at risk for a greater cause. In the end, we were both OK. But not until I had risked my life, for hers. Christ actually gave his for yours.

I'm not denying that ISIL may throw in some 'bad apples'  in the mix, but in no way is that a majority. Daily, people are beaten down in our own country, murdered. We are not rid of crime. But let me ask you, did Christ care when they took him and beat him? No. There was something more important to be taught. He knew he had a role to help, to take responsibly provide an aid for the world: The atonement. Since the 1800's, Syria has helped refugees, never closing their borders, and doing so much to accommodate others. And now? We look away. Like WWII all over again. We looked away until it was so bad, we had no other choice but to help. What happened when we finally rallied to help? We stopped the war. 

I'm not scared. Helping the vast majority is worth the risk

I'll admit that this particular topic has me a bit emotionally stirred. Now, if you can open up the scriptures and show me how Jesus wants us all to be safe more than love others and "mourn with those that mourn," go for it. The gospel, and it's light and love, trumps everything. 

Unless you have personal experience, you can only take what the media has covered and what you morally believe to draw your own conclusions. 

I'm not saying "OK everyone, we're all quitting 'life' and heading over to help." But they are coming to us. And we're rejecting their pleas? No. I will not.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Let's Say I Died: Home-written Obituary

Let's say I died. 

What would be remembered about me? What would be said about me? I'd like to think that they're will be plenty of good things remembered, and plenty of honest mistakes to be learned from. 

Honestly, I didn't want to think about my "real" obituary for whenever I really die. It'll be too sappy, and most likely extra cheesy (knowing my goofy family, that's for certain).  Instead, I took the liberty of writing my own obituary, from a more....impersonal and amusing point of view. Then you don't have to worry about writing some sappy story. You know, just in case I die. 
NOTE: It's fake.
A special thanks to everyone that helped, in any way, in obituary.

Alex “the Great and Terrible” Williams had many passions.

Passions that permitted blood to pump through her arterial passages. Passions that drove her more than Kevin Harvick could drive his Ford EcoBoost in the NASCAR championships. They made everything ordinary burst into sudden flames, breathing new life like dying coals receiving small puffs of oxygen from a paper plate.

She was born on April 1, 1993, in Wet, Washington. She was the firstborn to Christopher Johnson born in Funky, Florida and Lisa Johnson born in Away, Alaska who both died in 2040 on a fly fishing trip on the eastern side of Washington.
Alex died on August 18, 2065, after living an eccentric life till the solid age of 72, but her trademark quirks and fiery personality shall not be forgotten.

Amiably known to many as Alex the Great and Terrible, she was a journalist by profession, an artist and an adventurer. She filled her time with everything imaginable, and a pleather of things unlikely plausible. Although she could be found reading a book or playing the piano, she would more likely be found on a hike or a bike up a mountain, or kayaking down a river to find the perfect fishing spot. When she wasn’t on a personal adventure, she was spending time absorbing the other two things that brought her joy: sports and her family.

After graduation from Brigham Young University with degrees in Communications and Art, Alex went on to invoke joy to sports fans as a reporter for several sports entities, later becoming an Editor for the ESPN magazine.

Which is how she was able to happily marry Sonnny Bill Williams from the New Zealand rugby team and adopt six children, all from different countries but not All Blacks. Although her daughter Leilani Herlin (55), and her five sons Oliver Williams (52), Augustin Williams (46), Nigel Williams (45), and Agatha Michelson (42) were adopted, all referred to Alex as ‘dearest mother.’

Her death devastated friends and family from around the world. She was found in her house covered in paint with Christmas music navigating its way through Cars paraphernalia. Her death made the headline of the Wet Washington Post that read: “Artist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.” As an activist of world peace through clever puns, the title seemed fitting.

The death was surprising after a struggle with skin cancer for the last four years during which Alex had been effected by cancer on her foot, which quickly spread to her right leg. The stroke was completely unexpected, but so was the news for the release of Cars 3. After hearing the announcement, she had a stroke in the midst of a very colorful art project.

An extraordinary death, for particular individual.

Alex really was particular about some things. She despised the sound of people chewing their food, hated people named Keith and the smell of tuna. But what upset her most was the improper use of affect and effect. That, and an unclean house.

What she lacked in grace, she compensated for with determination, charm and spunk. Alex had a few unwavering convictions: The movie Cars could make anyone smile on any given day; ranch dressing does not belong on a salad and less on a pizza; and the oxford common most definitely was one of the most annoying things to ever have been regrettably invented.

Admittedly, the blood that pumped through her vitals have ceased to function, but not because of lost passions. Her passions live. Her memories breathe, even without the use of a paper plate. Her life will be forever cherished.

The viewing service will be held at the Finally-Over Funeral Home at 9 p.m. on Saturday, located next to Mt. Reiner at 2234 Wildlife Road. The actual Funeral Service will be held on 9 p.m Saturday at the Crafted Commentary located next to Mt. Reiner at 2234 Wildlife Road. Only those dressed in attire from the eighties will be admitted to the funeral, as there will be an epic dance party following the service. The dance party will be held in honor of Alex the Great and Terrible, since she is most likely dancing barefoot on a grassy field to the water of the broken sprinklers.