Esther–The Bible Project

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Columbus Day — and its Enemies By Charles Lipson

You don’t have a buy a party hat or uncork the champagne. It’s a minor holiday. But Columbus Day is still worth celebrating, and those who attack it are worth rebutting.

The focus should not be the navigator himself. He was a courageous, if misguided, explorer, who set sail for China, thinking the globe was much smaller and not knowing a vast landmass would block his journey. When he died 14 years later, he still believed he had landed in Asia, still thought baseball and football teams should be named “the Indians.”

What the holiday really commemorates is a much larger event that forever changed the world: the opening of the Americas, North and South, to a permanent connection with Europe. That has continued unabated for over 500 years and led to momentous achievements, from mass democracy to mass prosperity.

The Vikings may have landed earlier in Newfoundland, but they did not begin a continuous stream of trade and migration. The Chinese may have made it as far as the West Coast, as some speculate, but then they stopped all seafaring. Whatever the archeologists may discover, the voyages produced nothing enduring.

Columbus’ landing did. His discovery, coming soon after the printing press was invented, was quickly publicized and soon followed by explorers from all Europe’s maritime powers. Their quests for gold, silver, and souls began an unbroken stream of contact and cultural exchange, which made our hemisphere and, later, our country a creative offshoot of European civilization. As citizens, we may trace our family’s ancestry to India, Iran, or China, but our civilization is, at bottom, rooted in Europe’s history, religions, peoples, and culture.

It is a living heritage. American courts still rely on common law doctrines forged in medieval England. Our religious heritage came from Jerusalem, by way of Rome, Wittenberg, and Geneva. We read Bibles translated for the court of King James. Lincoln’s speeches grew out of its daily readings. We read Plato in Athens, Georgia. We study the fall of the Roman Empire with a shudder of foreboding about our own future.

It was these cultural connections that America celebrated at its greatest World Fair, in Chicago in 1893. The “Columbian Exposition” celebrated the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage (and Chicago’s own recovery from its devastating fire two decades earlier).

If the 400th anniversary was big, you might expect the 500th anniversary to be even bigger. It wasn’t. There were no big celebrations and, of the plethora of books marking the occasion, many were sharply critical.

America was—and still is—embarrassed by Columbus’ “discovery” of America. That’s why radicals have attacked Columbus statues across the country. Antifa has called for more attacks this year. It’s their way of celebrating the holiday. Still, those noxious attacks are less important than the quiet confusion and awkwardness many Americans feel about celebrating Columbus’ voyage of discovery.

They are right to feel some ambivalence. The rose-tinted histories of an earlier generation glossed over two overwhelming tragedies. The first is that European viruses arrived with the people and their animals. Local populations had no immunities and as many as 90 percent died. It was the horrific, unintended effect of two isolated biosystems meeting.

The second tragedy was deliberate: the enslavement of millions of Africans, transported to dig mines, harvest sugar cane, and farm cotton and tobacco across the Americas. The middle passage from Africa was a deadly one, the work crushing, and the treatment as chattel slaves inhuman.

We can—and should—recognize these terrible dimensions of our past without consigning the whole of that history to the ash heap or romanticizing the pre-Columbian Americas as a bucolic paradise. They weren’t.

To take just one example: The Aztecs practiced human sacrifice on a gargantuan scale. Hundreds of thousands of human skulls, many of infants, were the detritus of their religious festivals. In some, the victims’ hearts were eaten as prizes. The Aztecs treated conquered tribes with such lethal contempt that, when the Spanish arrived, they found eager allies en route to Tenochtitlan.

Sentimentalizing this harsh world has been a standard feature of Western thought since Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s rhapsody for the “noble savage.” In reality, nearly everyone lived short, brutal lives of crushing poverty, hovering at subsistence level.

A clear-eyed view of Columbus Day should cast aside this mirage of a pre-Columbian Eden. And it should face the bitter facts of disease and slavery.

Still, we can face those truths and celebrate the achievements begun by Columbus. The European voyages of discovery forged a trans-Atlantic world. It is a world in which America and its European partners have created unprecedented levels of human freedom, material comfort, and longevity. That’s a legacy worth remembering—and reclaiming.

 

 

RCP contributor Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, where he is founding director of PIPES, the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He blogs at ZipDialog.com and can be reached at charles.lipson@gmail.com.

 

 

Posted: October 9, 2017

 https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2017/10/09/columbus_day_–_and_its_enemies_135210.html
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Some Advice for Writers By Samuel James

Recently a few friends of mine have asked me about writing, and for some perspective and/or advice on how to get started doing it seriously. I’ve given the same advice enough times that I figured it might be helpful to put what I most frequently say here as a kind of reference.

As always, none of this advice is gospel, and don’t be surprised if some of it doesn’t end up working like I say. In a real sense, the best “advice” I can give anyone who wants to write is to immediately stop looking for writing advice, and just write. If you’re an aspiring writer, and you’ve read more books in the last month on how to be a writer than other kinds of books, you’re doing it wrong, and you may be in a lamentable state of mind where what you really want to do is be known as a writer–instead of, you know, actually writing.

Nonetheless, there are some helpful things you can do. Here they are:

-Read, read, read.

This is always my #1 piece of advice. There’s no such thing as a writer who doesn’t read. If you don’t particularly care for reading, the actual craft and discipline of writing will elude you. If you enjoy reading but you don’t read widely–say, if you read a handful of books every year, mostly all in the same genre/author/length/etc–your writing will reflect this.

Read widely, and read, as Alan Jacobs says, “at whim.” Reading and relishing 1 good book by a talented author will probably do more for your own writing than reading 3 books on how to write. It’s been said that “leaders are readers.” It’s even more true that writers are readers.

-Write, write, write

It’s exactly like it sounds. Try to write every day. Register a free blog. Or just open Word on your computer and start writing. Glean writing ideas from your own reading (don’t put too much stock in artificial “prompts,” like the ones you find inside journals; they can be useful, but focus more on prompting yourself through interacting with what you’re reading).

-Figure out what you’re most interested in, and write more about that.

One of the mistakes people make when they try to start writing regularly is that they think being a good writer means being able to write about anything and everything. Not so. Most of the best writers are not really “generalists” that can churn out solid essays on everything from politics, to movies, to literature, to fashion. There’s nothing wrong with having thoughts about a lot of topics, but don’t fear the beat. Embrace the fact that you don’t have unlimited time or (most importantly) unlimited thoughtfulness. Find the one thing you want to talk about more than others, and sharpen it.

-Pitch your ideas to editors, not robots

In general, don’t bother wasting your time with “Submissions” portals. Find editors who work for places you admire and introduce yourself. Do as much “networking” as you can think to do (but don’t network at the expense of your actual craft). This will do 2 things for you: It will greatly raise your chances of having a pitch accepted, and it will put you in contact with people who can improve your writing.

-Go analog

The demise of paper and pen has been highly exaggerated. Invest in some analog writing tools and use them to capture ideas. Physical writing tools come with much fewer distractions, which is nice, but even better, they reduce the process to the essentials of the craft. The literary life is beset with temptations to vanity. Even writing itself can become more about announcing to the world that I’m a Writer than about the word. Analog processes can help you do some self-accountability. If you’re not willing to write unless you can tweet out your stuff within seconds, you may not be in it for the right reasons.

-Embrace failure and inferiority

Your pitches will be rejected. Your blog won’t be Retweeted. Your writing won’t catch the eye you hoped. You will feel like an impostor, like a joke, like a horribly misled little soul that has deluded itself. You will wonder with disgust and anxiety why you can’t write like your favorite authors.

Embrace it. Live with it. You’re not the world’s greatest writer. You probably won’t write a bestseller. That’s OK, because words are valuable and beautiful and worth it even if they don’t fly off a shelf or garner a big advance. You’ll keep coming back despite all the frustration, not because you love attention, but because you love to write. You need to write. Those words have to get out.

If that’s you, then congrats: You’re in the right line of work.

 

http://blogs.mereorthodoxy.com/samuel/2017/06/01/some-advice-for-writers/

 

Posted: June 1, 2017

 

Samuel D. James is associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books.

 
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Off The Wall: Take Comfort in Her –Mike Rowe

Mike – I live in Las Vegas, and I’ve seen you here often. Once, in the lobby at Mandalay Bay. We’re all shattered here, obviously. A comforting word from you would go a long way…

Molly Carr

Hi Molly

I’m not surprised you saw me at the Mandalay. I cleaned their shark tank back in 2006, and I’ve stayed there at least thirty times since. Maybe that’s why my initial thoughts about this latest tragedy were so random and strange. Even before I imagined myself in the thick of the chaos, (as I always do,) and even before I thanked God that I wasn’t, (as I don’t do enough,) I found myself wondering if I had used the same elevator as the killer.

Isn’t that odd?

As people were being murdered in the most cowardly way imaginable, by a creature I can barely think of as human, I lay in my bed at home, stunned and horrified – wondering if I had stood in the same box and pushed the same buttons as the man now destroying countless lives and families. Since I’ve ridden all the elevators at Mandalay, I determined that the answer was yes.

I then wondered if the killer and I had shared the same barstool in the lobby? Had we swam in the same pool, or chatted up the same bellman, or played a hand of blackjack at the same table? Had we slept in the same bed?

It’s not a stretch. I’ve stayed on the 32nd floor of Mandalay before. I remember looking down at the sprawling, empty space 300 feet below my window – the same sprawling space that was recently filled with thousands of people having a good time, right up until they weren’t, courtesy of a monster.

Yesterday, I was struck by how unknowingly we rub elbows with evil. How we share the highways and bi-ways with hollowed-out men and craven women whose capacity for wickedness knows no bounds. It would be convenient if such people all looked the same, but alas, they don’t. They look just like us. And so we dine with them in restaurants, unknowingly. We walk by them in shopping malls, sit next to them in theaters, and maybe even hold the door for them as they smile and nod in thanks.

I’m sorry, Molly. I know these are not comforting words. The world is as uncertain as the people in it, and we share this rock with some very uncertain folks. But we also share it with living proof that hope will never die.

Take comfort in men who threw themselves over other people’s children. They are no less real than the killer, and they are still with us.

Take comfort in the woman who loaded wounded strangers into her car and drove them out of harm’s way.

Take comfort in the hundreds of first responders who risk their lives every day, and the hundreds of anonymous citizens who stood in line to give their blood.

Take comfort in the fact all good people are shattered, and that you are not alone.

There are no words, Molly, at least in my vocabulary, to bring you the comfort you seek. But there are people among us who restore my faith in the species, even as others seek to rob me of it. I can introduce you to those people. That’s what I’ve tried to do with my little slice of cyber space, and that’s what I can do today. The same thing I do every Tuesday.

This is Momma Ginger. Momma and her fellow Soup Ladies spend their lives waiting for disaster and tragedy to strike. When the unthinkable happens, they drive to the scene with a trailer filled with homemade soup, and feed the first-responders.

It sounds like a small thing. It isn’t. When it comes to kindness, there are no small things. And when it comes to keeping hope alive, our first responders are the best example there is. This is the woman who takes care of them.

Take comfort in her.

Posted: October 3,  2017

 

http://mikerowe.com/2017/10/otw-rtf-take-comfort-in-her/

 

 

 

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How Baseballs Are Made

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The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe by Natasha Geiling

edgarallanpoe

It was raining in Baltimore on October 3, 1849, but that didn’t stop Joseph W. Walker, a compositor for the Baltimore Sun, from heading out to Gunner’s Hall, a public house bustling with activity. It was Election Day, and Gunner’s Hall served as a pop-up polling location for the 4th Ward polls. When Walker arrived at Gunner’s Hall, he found a man, delirious and dressed in shabby second-hand clothes, lying in the gutter. The man was semi-conscious, and unable to move, but as Walker approached the him, he discovered something unexpected: the man was Edgar Allan Poe. Worried about the health of the addled poet, Walker stopped and asked Poe if he had any acquaintances in Baltimore that might be able to help him. Poe gave Walker the name of Joseph E. Snodgrass, a magazine editor with some medical training. Immediately, Walker penned Snodgrass a letter asking for help.

Baltimore City, Oct. 3, 1849
Dear Sir,

There is a gentleman, rather the worse for wear, at Ryan’s 4th ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress, & he says he is acquainted with you, he is in need of immediate assistance.

Yours, in haste,
JOS. W. WALKER
To Dr. J.E. Snodgrass.

On September 27—almost a week earlier—Poe had left Richmond, Virginia bound for Philadelphia to edit a collection of poems for Mrs. St. Leon Loud, a minor figure in American poetry at the time. When Walker found Poe in delirious disarray outside of the polling place, it was the first anyone had heard or seen of the poet since his departure from Richmond. Poe never made it to Philadelphia to attend to his editing business. Nor did he ever make it back to New York, where he had been living, to escort his aunt back to Richmond for his impending wedding. Poe was never to leave Baltimore, where he launched his career in the early 19th- century, again—and in the four days between Walker finding Poe outside the public house and Poe’s death on October 7, he never regained enough consciousness to explain how he had come to be found, in soiled clothes not his own, incoherent on the streets. Instead, Poe spent his final days wavering between fits of delirium, gripped by visual hallucinations. The night before his death, according to his attending physician Dr. John J. Moran, Poe repeatedly called out for “Reynolds“—a figure who, to this day, remains a mystery.

Poe’s death—shrouded in mystery—seems ripped directly from the pages of one of his own works. He had spent years crafting a careful image of a man inspired by adventure and fascinated with enigmas—a poet, a detective, an author, a world traveler who fought in the Greek War of Independence and was held prisoner in Russia. But though his death certificate listed the cause of death as phrenitis, or swelling of the brain, the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death have led many to speculate about the true cause of Poe’s demise. “Maybe it’s fitting that since he invented the detective story,” says Chris Semtner, curator of the Poe Museum in Richmond, Virginia, “he left us with a real-life mystery”

 

1. Beating

In 1867, one of the first theories to deviate from either phrenitis or alcohol was published by biographer E. Oakes Smith in her article “Autobiographic Notes: Edgar Allan Poe.” “At the instigation of a woman, ” Smith writes, “who considered herself injured by him, he was cruelly beaten, blow upon blow, by a ruffian who knew of no better mode of avenging supposed injuries. It is well known that a brain fever followed. . . .” Other accounts also mention “ruffians” who had beaten Poe senseless before his death. As Eugene Didier wrote in his 1872 article, “The Grave of Poe,” that while in Baltimore, Poe ran into some friends from West Point, who prevailed upon him to join them for drinks. Poe, unable to handle liquor, became madly drunk after a single glass of champagne, after which he left his friends to wander the streets. In his drunken state, he “was robbed and beaten by ruffians, and left insensible in the street all night.”

2. Cooping

Others believe that Poe fell victim to a practice known as cooping, a method of voter fraud practiced by gangs in the 19th century where an unsuspecting victim would be kidnapped, disguised and forced to vote for a specific candidate multiple times under multiple disguised identities. Voter fraud was extremely common in Baltimore around the mid 1800s, and the polling site where Walker found the disheveled Poe was a known place that coopers brought their victims. The fact that Poe was found delirious on election day, then, is no coincidence.

Over the years, the cooping theory has come to be one of the more widely accepted explanations for Poe’s strange demeanor before his death. Before Prohibition, voters were given alcohol after voting as a sort of reward; had Poe been forced to vote multiple times in a cooping scheme, that might explain his semi-conscious, ragged state.

Around the late 1870s, Poe’s biographer J.H. Ingram received several letters that blamed Poe’s death on a cooping scheme. A letter from William Hand Browne, a member of the faculty at Johns Hopkins, explains that “the general belief here is, that Poe was seized by one of these gangs, (his death happening just at election-time; an election for sheriff took place on Oct. 4th), ‘cooped,’ stupefied with liquor, dragged out and voted, and then turned adrift to die.”

3. Alcohol

“A lot of the ideas that have come up over the years have centered around the fact that Poe couldn’t handle alcohol,” says Semtner. “It has been documented that after a glass of wine he was staggering drunk. His sister had the same problem; it seems to be something hereditary.”

Months before his death, Poe became a vocal member of the temperance movement, eschewing alcohol, which he’d struggled with all his life. Biographer Susan Archer Talley Weiss recalls, in her biography “The Last Days of Edgar A. Poe,” an event, toward the end of Poe’s time in Richmond, that might be relevant to theorists that prefer a “death by drinking” demise for Poe. Poe had fallen ill in Richmond, and after making a somewhat miraculous recovery, was told by his attending physician that “another such attack would prove fatal.” According to Weiss, Poe replied that “if people would not tempt him, he would not fall,” suggesting that the first illness was brought on by a bout of drinking.

Those around Poe during his finals days seem convinced that the author did, indeed, fall into that temptation, drinking himself to death. As his close friend J. P. Kennedy wrote on October 10, 1949: “On Tuesday last Edgar A. Poe died in town here at the hospital from the effects of a debauch. . . . He fell in with some companion here who seduced him to the bottle, which it was said he had renounced some time ago. The consequence was fever, delirium, and madness, and in a few days a termination of his sad career in the hospital. Poor Poe! . . . A bright but unsteady light has been awfully quenched.”

Though the theory that Poe’s drinking lead to his death fails to explain his five-day disappearance, or his second-hand clothes on October 3, it was nonetheless a popular theory propagated by Snodgrass after Poe’s death. Snodgrass, a member of the temperance movement, gave lectures across the country, blaming Poe’s death on binge drinking. Modern science, however, has thrown a wrench into Snodgrasses talking points: samples of Poe’s hair from after his death show low levels of lead, explains Semtner, which is an indication that Poe remained faithful to his vow of sobriety up until his demise.

4. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In 1999, public health researcher Albert Donnay argued that Poe’s death was a result of carbon monoxide poisoning from coal gas that was used for indoor lighting during the 19th century. Donnay took clippings of Poe’s hair and tested them for certain heavy metals that would be able to reveal the presence of coal gas. The test was inconclusive, leading biographers and historians to largely discredit Donnay’s theory.

5. Heavy Metal Poisoning

While Donnay’s test didn’t reveal levels of heavy metal consistent with carbon monoxide poisoning, the tests did reveal elevated levels of mercury in Poe’s system months before his death. According to Semtner, Poe’s mercury levels were most likely elevated as a result of a cholera epidemic he’d been exposed to in July of 1849, while in Philadelphia. Poe’s doctor prescribed calomel, or mercury chloride. Mercury poisoning, Semtner says, could help explain some of Poe’s hallucinations and delirium before his death. However, the levels of mercury found in Poe’s hair, even at their highest, are still 30 times below the level consistent with mercury poisoning.

6. Rabies

In 1996, Dr. R. Michael Benitez was participating in a clinical pathologic conference where doctors are given patients, along with a list of symptoms, and instructed to diagnose and compare with other doctors as well as the written record. The symptoms of the anonymous patient E.P., “a writer from Richmond” were clear: E.P. had succumbed to rabies. According to E.P.’s supervising physician, Dr. J.J. Moran, E.P. had been admitted to a hospital due to “lethargy and confusion.” Once admitted, E.P.’s condition began a rapid downward spiral: shortly, the patient was exhibiting delirium, visual hallucinations, wide variations in pulse rate and rapid, shallow breathing. Within four days—the median length of survival after the onset of serious rabies symptoms—E.P. was dead.

E.P., Benitez soon found out, wasn’t just any author from Richmond. It was Poe whose death the Maryland cardiologist had diagnosed as a clear case of rabies, a fairly common virus in the 19th century. Running counter to any prevailing theories at the time, Benitez’s diagnosis ran in the September 1996 issue of the Maryland Medical Journal. As Benitez pointed out in his article, without DNA evidence, it’s impossible to say with 100 percent certainty that Poe succumbed to the rabies virus. There are a few kinks in the theory, including no evidence of hydrophobia (those afflicted with rabies develop a fear of water, Poe was reported to have been drinking water at the hospital until his death) nor any evidence of an animal bite (though some with rabies don’t remember being bitten by an animal). Still, at the time of the article’s publication, Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House Museum in Baltimore, agreed with Benitez’s diagnosis. “This is the first time since Poe died that a medical person looked at Poe’s death without any preconceived notions,” Jerome told the Chicago Tribune in October of 1996. “If he knew it was Edgar Allan Poe, he’d think, ‘Oh yeah, drugs, alcohol,’ and that would influence his decision. Dr. Benitez had no agenda.”

7. Brain Tumor

One of the most recent theories about Poe’s death suggests that the author succumbed to a brain tumor, which influenced his behavior before his death. When Poe died, he was buried, rather unceremoniously, in an unmarked grave in a Baltimore graveyard. Twenty-six years later, a statue was erected, honoring Poe, near the graveyard’s entrance. Poe’s coffin was dug up, and his remains exhumed, in order to be moved to the new place of honor. But more than two decades of buried decay had not been kind to Poe’s coffin—or the corpse within it—and the apparatus fell apart as workers tried to move it from one part of the graveyard to another. Little remained of Poe’s body, but one worker did remark on a strange feature of Poe’s skull: a mass rolling around inside. Newspapers of the day claimed that the clump was Poe’s brain, shriveled yet intact after almost three decades in the ground.

We know, today, that the mass could not be Poe’s brain, which is one of the first parts of the body to rot after death. But Matthew Pearl, an American author who wrote a novel about Poe’s death, was nonetheless intrigued by this clump. He contacted a forensic pathologist, who told him that while the clump couldn’t be a brain, it could be a brain tumor, which can calcify after death into hard masses.

According to Semtner, Pearl isn’t the only person to believe Poe suffered from a brain tumor: a New York physician once told Poe that he had a lesion on his brain that caused his adverse reactions to alcohol.

8. Flu

A far less sinister theory suggests that Poe merely succumbed to the flu—which might have turned into deadly pneumonia—on this deathbed. As Semtner explains, in the days leading up to Poe’s departure from Richmond, the author visited a physician, complaining of illness. “His last night in town, he was very sick, and his [soon-to-be] wife noted that he had a weak pulse, a fever, and she didn’t think he should take the journey to Philadelphia,” says Semtner. “He visited a doctor, and the doctor also told him not to travel, that he was too sick.” According to newspaper reports from the time, it was raining in Baltimore when Poe was there—which Semtner thinks could explain why Poe was found in clothes not his own. “The cold and the rain exasperated the flu he already had,” says Semtner, “and maybe that eventually lead to pneumonia. The high fever might account for his hallucinations and his confusion.”

9. Murder

In his 2000 book Midnight Dreary: The Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, author John Evangelist Walsh presents yet another theory about Poe’s death: that Poe was murdered by the brothers of his wealthy fiancée, Elmira Shelton. Using evidence from newspapers, letters and memoirs, Walsh argues that Poe actually made it to Philadelphia, where he was ambushed by Shelton’s three brothers, who warned Poe against marrying their sister. Frightened by the experience, Poe disguised himself in new clothes (accounting for, in Walsh’s mind, his second-hand clothing) and hid in Philadelphia for nearly a week, before heading back to Richmond to marry Shelton. Shelton’s brothers intercepted Poe in Baltimore, Walsh postulates, beat him, and forced him to drink whiskey, which they knew would send Poe into a deathly sickness. Walsh’s theory has gained little traction among Poe historians—or book reviewers; Edwin J. Barton, in a review for the journal American Literature, called Walsh’s story “only plausible, not wholly persuasive.” “Midnight Dreary is interesting and entertaining,” he concluded, “but its value to literary scholars is limited and oblique.”

For Semtner, however, none of the theories fully explain Poe’s curious end. “I’ve never been completely convinced of any one theory, and I believe Poe’s cause of death resulted from a combination of factors,” he says. “His attending physician is our best source of evidence. If he recorded on the mortality schedule that Poe died of phrenitis, Poe was most likely suffering from encephalitis or meningitis, either of which might explain his symptoms.”

 

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Prayer in the Face of Evil By: Joni Eareckson Tada

Prayer in the Face of Evil

 

Our country has suffered, yet again, an act of pure evil and civil unrest – and as Christians, we are dropping to our knees, asking for God’s mercy, healing, and grace.

This morning I woke up to the news that at least 58 people were killed, and over 550 were wounded in a horrific shooting in Las Vegas. A gunman turned a concert into a killing field Sunday night from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, using at least 10 guns to rain down a steady stream of fire in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history. I was still in bed when I heard this – my two girlfriends who got me up this morning shared it at my bedside when they came to help me get ready for the day. I was stunned. Shocked. And the first thing we did was to stop and pray.

But how do you pray at such a time? First, you grieve – just as God grieves, just like His heart breaks. You mourn and lament over the devastation that sin has brought into this world. You feel sorrow and sadness and cry out to God for mercy, for His healing and help. And so, as I was still lying in bed, my friends and I did just that. And I am still praying, as I know you must be. In fact, join me now and together let’s go before God humbly, mournfully, and ask for His healing, not only on our deeply troubled nation, but for the families and loved ones. Let’s pray…

God of all mercy, we are heartsick over the ruin and desolation that sin has brought upon our world, upon our nation. Have mercy on us. And please, have mercy on the families of those who lost their lives in this terrible tragedy. Comfort them in their grief, and show yourself to be the God of consolation that you are. You are the healer of broken hearts, and families and loved ones are utterly crushed by this senseless tragedy – draw them to your side, and show yourself to be the answer to their anguish. And please touch the lives of the many hundreds who lie wounded, and yes, even those who survived. Quiet their anxieties and fears, and heal their wounds. Cause them, as they lie on their beds, to seek you and turn to you with their concerns. And please, Lord, restore them and heal them.

Finally, Lord, we do not attempt to search for meaning in this massacre. You are sovereign, and you are the only one who can bring good out of this wretched evil. So, bind families together; unite Christians in prayer; help churches be salt and light in their neighborhoods; aid us in overcoming evil with good. Help us be vigilant in promoting peace, demonstrating love, and helping to change the divided climate in our homeland. We praise you for your sovereignty, even over this awful tragedy. For you have judged it better to bring good out of evil than to arrange it that no evil should exist. Men cannot be made good by laws; good can only spring from a change in peoples’ hearts. So please turn hearts toward Jesus Christ, the only one who can save us from ourselves; the only one who can rescue us from ruin. May this historic tragedy turn the history of this country so that one day we may, indeed, be crowned in brotherhood from sea to shining sea. In the powerful name of our Savior, Amen.

 

 

 

http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/prayer-face-evil/

 

Posted: October 2, 2017

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