Here's me with my grandparents, ready to head to an elementary school concert. I'm guessing that I'm 11 years old because I appear to be post-perm (that was age 8), but pre-babybangs (that was age 12). Clearly, I'm also pre-braces (age 13). It's a great photo; you're welcome, Internet.
Think back -- what were you doing at age 11? I was playing outside, reading books, hanging out with my friends, and writing cheesy poems. So, not much has changed, except at least now I know my poems are cheesy, while at that time I thought they were fine literature. ("A fallen log has many uses/ A bridge or a balance beam...")
Think about your family and friends. What are your neighbors, nieces and nephews, cousins, and children doing at age 11? What sports do they play? What technology are they into?
...Are any of them getting sold into slavery?
Because if they are elementary age children, and especially if they are minorities (Christian? Yeah, that's me...), and especially if they are girls, they are not that different than the children now being kidnapped and sold by ISIS.
Here's a screenshot from a Google search I just did on "ISIS+children+slavery." Many of these sources are reputable, and recent. This is actually happening.
This is actually happening.
Last week I read an article from blogger Ann Voskamp, who visited with Yezidi women who had been displaced from their homes and terrorized by ISIS. Here's a little bit for you to read:
But we’re not about to cover up their stories with trite and flimsy distractions, we won’t act like what’s happening with ISIS isn’t the story of our times, isn’t the story that defies geography, isn’t the story that threatens the cradle of civilization.
How do you just sit on the floor of a shipping container and just let these women carry this kind of terror alone — how do you turn away and go back to your neat little life of wheaties and news reels and how does the church not stand up and howl?
That's the question I'm aiming to answer in this post: "How does the church not stand up and howl?" How does anyone not stand up and howl?
Most of us are good at rallying around our communities when times are tough. I recently went to the 9/11 memorial in the church across from Ground Zero. There were posters, signs, and notes from around the country that had been sent to encourage the city. There were even thousands of paper cranes that had been sent from schoolchildren in Asia. (Are Yezidi families getting paper cranes?)
I remember being so proud of my community when the whole town turned out to sand-bag during the flood of 2008. (Would your whole town turn out for an anti-ISIS march?)
Just today, Amber Alerts called us to be vigilant so that we can intervene in a child abduction case. We want to help each other; we want to keep children from danger; we want to support those in pain. So why don't we seem to care much about the Middle East?
I think the answer is that we don't consider "them" a part of "us." We don't see these men, women, and children as part of our community. So we can't make ourselves care.
And if we don't care, we don't pray. We don't advocate. We don't give. We don't go. We don't act.
(I include myself in this.)
What do you think? How can we change?