I was, and still am, excited to finally watch Batman: The Dark Knight Rises this weekend. To celebrate the occasion, I was gonna post my all-time favorite Batman movie spoof in the hopes of getting a good laugh out of the two or three Batman fans out there who have not seen it yet.
But then I heard the shocking news when a gunman armed to the teeth opened fire in a Colorado movie theater during the midnight premiere of said movie, killing 14 people and injuring dozens others. There goes the Batman spoof post…no way can I post that after what had just happened.
As I read the news, I was overwhelmed with such anger and grief. It blows my mind how someone could be capable of doing such a barbarically evil deed.
As a shell-shocked dad blogger trying to process what just happened, my reflections on the Colorado movie premier shooting incident drifted to two main ideas, which are basically: “a slippery slope, yet there is hope.”
For the slippery slope part, allow me to show you snapshots from a video teaching module that I have, made quite a long time ago, which cited a USA Today article comparing the biggest problems in US public schools in the 1940’s with the same in the 1980’s.
So, here’s the problems schools had to deal with in the 1940’s:
Now, here’s what schools had to deal with in the 1980’s, just 40 years later:
Slippery slope? Uh-huh...and the 1980's were a long time ago. What can you add now, being in the 2nd decade of the new millennium?
By the way, the "slippery slope" idiom came into my mind when I was reading another post on today’s dysfunctional times (I can’t remember what it was) and a reader comment said something like this:
“We’re going down a slippery slope that would’ve shocked a generation ago.”
How true. I remember a Facebook status update that I posted once, one of my rant moments, and it went, “I wish we still lived in a time when married couples stayed married, parents still parented, and we’d be sure that the lovely ladies we admire at the malls are truly indeed female.” (Don’t ask me what moved me to write it, let’s just say it was the latter part of that message and leave it at that)
I could go on ranting about the slippery slope we're on, but this is not what this entry is about.
Instead, this is what this entry is about: while I don’t want to think of what would be listed down if the USA Today article’s survey would continue another forty years, like it or not, it’s gonna be the world that my kids and grand-kids will inherit. Therefore, there has to be a way that we be part of the solution.
I’m now going into the second train of thought that I have: “yet there is hope.”
For this part, I’d like to show a video clip of renowned author and speaker Bill Hybels, talking about an incident when he witnessed, like what the rest of the world witnessed on that dark night, a senseless act of violence…but this time it was between two small children. Check the video out to see why I say there is yet hope:
I totally agree with Mr. Hybels. Why? I have seen the church, my church specifically, do so much healing and so much heart-forming in so many lives.
• I’ve seen countless married couples inches away from calling it quits get very valuable counseling because friends who attended church cared enough to bring them to our pastors (who are fantastic family men and fantastic communicators of God’s Word) and small groups, not to mention the wonder-working marriage retreats.
• I’ve seen many troubled teens be reformed by youth group. Some were like the child above, beating up people (one admitted he did it for the fun of it), others had very terrible relationships with their parents and peers. Their hearts are now filled with love for God and for people.
• I was honored to be a part of an event where 90 kids learned virtues like compassion, mercy, and forgiveness while having a wonderful time doing so.
• I’ve seen so many people be released from the bondages of porn, smoking, drugs, and other addictions…all after their best efforts of quitting under their own power proved futile.
• I’ve seen so many people, after learning how Christ has forgiven them and showed them grace, finally let go of years-long grudges and unforgiveness (the most touching one I can think of off the top of my head is my coworker who, after she started worshiping at CCF, finally forgave her mom who tried to abort her and eventually abandoned her as a child).
• Last night I saw over 200 girls, including my own daughter, get vital (and very entertaining) advice on how to be a virtuous young lady. (See slideshow vid of the Becoming His Girl event here)
• If course, I have to include what happened in my own life. I was a frightened university student with a baby on the way, but it was a pastor friend of mine who cared enough to take out to lunch and, well, basically change my life.
But it can only work if the church is the right kind of church; one that’s dynamic, loving, relevant, and life-changing; not one that is dull, impotent, and er…impotent. I mean, most of the Filipinos are church-going folk in some way or form…but why is there still so much evil and pain?
Now I bring it to you, because the “hope of the world” can only work if the people in it realize so and go out to build its influence in any way shape or form. Is your church relevant or impotent? What are you doing about it? Please do something about it. If you feel a “God tap” on your shoulder, asking you to take our part in building the hope of the world, please respond to it. God’s tap on me deals with children, teens, young couples, and this blog. I’d like to think that I’ve taken the ball and ran with it. It is my prayer that you would too, because although we’re running down a slippery slope, there is still hope…it’s the local church that you support.
Allow me to close with the closing minute of the Bill Hybels message. Enjoy.
Recommended reading for those who've been hurt:
Recommended reading for those who'd like to counsel hurting people:
Recommended reading for those who'd like to make their church the hope of the world that it should be: