by Marisa Fraley, Staff Writer
As religious leaders, it is important to be aware of what is going on in our world. Below, I have compiled a mix of other stories that are also relevant to the work that we do.
Two teens were beaten during a counseling session because they wanted to leave the church. While I believe none of our reactions would be as severe as this, how do we react when someone wishes to leave our church for another? Are we thinking about our own churches or the spiritual needs of the person?
The White House has done research into how many kids have been bullied because of their religious beliefs or cultures. Bullying in general is an issue, especially in middle and high school. We’ve grown into the custom of “othering” those who are different than us. As religious leaders, we need to find ways in which to change this script. When it comes to other religions, we must seek to educate our communities and emphasize our similarities, not our differences.
This is an uplifting story about a doctor who provides the homeless with free medical care and a space to tell their story. While seeking to heal them physically, he also lets them know they are not alone. He is living out the Golden Rule and reaching out to those many deem to be the “least of these.”
Once again a sacred place has been attacked. Places that once were protected from the violence and destruction the rest of our world are no longer protected. Sacred spaces have become places that are attacked in attempts to make the pain and loss greater for one’s opponents. Sacred spaces are being attacked seemingly as a way to decrease one’s feeling of security and safety.
We often say, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Pictures seem to make realities hit closer to home. To see someone’s anguished and pained face seems to evoke stronger emotions then reading about anguish and pain. So take a few moments, look through the images, and let’s all hope and pray these images do in fact inspire the world into action as the photographers hope they will.