We Can’t Pretend We Don’t See Aleppo

We Can’t Pretend We Don’t See Aleppo December 17, 2016

I sit here, in the early morning hours, staring at my Christmas tree.

 

It’s beautiful.

 

It’s covered in peaceful white lights, and there is already a small pile of presents beneath it. There is a cat — cute, fuzzy, slightly annoying — sitting on the arm of my chair, casually touch my arm with his paw while I type, a quiet bid for attention. The family is asleep upstairs; outside there is white snow falling like manna from the sky.

 

And all I can see in my mind is Aleppo.

 

Worse? All I can hear is the silence of American Christians.

 

Oh, I get it. I know. We’re all busy. It’s Christmas, after all! We have presents to buy and cookies to bake and family to organize and sing-a-longs to survive attend. And a few years ago, I would be annoyed by a blog post like this, thinking it intended to make me feel guilty.

 

Guilt is not the point. Guilt is useless.

 

This is about an invitation to participate in God’s Kingdom. It’s about Love God, Love Your neighbor. It’s about following Jesus in that Jesus freak kind of way.  I’m saddened that more of us have not spoken out in a really big way; that we have not joined our voices in unison to demand some sort of action.

 

I’m angry that there’s a Russian government run amok, hacking our elections and bombing the crap out of Syrian children, massacring civilians on site. And I’m so beyond pissed off that quite possibly, that tampering, combined with our uniquely FUBAR’d electoral system, a narcissistic, orange demagogue with unusually small fingers is now practically offering a spare room in the White House to Putin, and nobody seems to be speaking up for the Syrian children, least of all the American Christian machinery.

 

There may have been a time in our past — before television, internet, the iPhone, Facebook — when we could at least have an excuse. Oh, sorry Jesus. I didn’t know. 

 

But that time is gone, precious friends. We can’t un-see Aleppo. And if we turn away, that’s on us. So look, for a moment. Just look and see with the eyes of Jesus. Keep company with Him while He weeps. Then, after you’re done, scroll down for some ways you can get involved.

How you can help.

Support TOGETHER RISING.

TOGETHER RISING is Glennon Doyle Melton’s non-profit, and they have partnered with organizations on the ground in Aleppo. Glennon has promised that 100% of the proceeds donated will go directly to these organizations. This is from Glennon’s Facebook page:

WE HAVE A PLAN TO DO MORE. DO NOT SHUT DOWN. STAY AWAKE, PLEASE. WE ARE THE ONES WE’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.

With the funds raised this week, Together Rising will use 100% of what we receive to:
• purchase and fully equip two ambulances with medicine and medical supplies for 6 months, and enable The White Helmets to rescue children and vulnerable people trapped in the rubble;
• equip the mobile hospital with medicine and supplies and allow Independent Doctors Association to serve the injured and help fund the planning of the only pediatric hospital in the region; and
• continue to fund the work of Help Refugees volunteer network devoted to delivering people to safety.

You have raised $217,000 for Aleppo since Tuesday night. Please continue to give. Every penny of your tax-deductible gifts that we receive will go DIRECTLY TO AID GROUPS ON THE GROUND. Zero wasted. There is no time, or energy, or love to waste. Please read, give and share.

FOLLOW THE MIDDLE EAST COUNCIL OF CHURCHES ON FACEBOOK

When I was in Jordan, I met with Wafa Gousous of the Middle East Council of Churches and learned about their work with Syrian refugees. Their website is currently under construction, but you can follow them on Facebook and learn about their efforts to care for the refugee. I have not been able to find a donation link yet, but when I do, I’ll post here. At the very least, MECC is a great place to get informed about what it’s really like to be a refugee.

RESIST.

Whether you call your congressperson to demand action in Aleppo, or whether it’s simply to combat xenophobia when you see it in front of you, resist. This is a time for defiant love to move into action. The time for silence is over. Speak out. For some of you that may be some very uncomfortable situations. Do it anyway.

PRAY.

It’s the only way we’ll get through this. When our hands are emptied of everything else, the throne room is all we’ve got left.


 

Love, I know it’s a lot. These images — they’re hard. And me, calling us all out, is hard. It’s the thing I’m called to do. But I get tired too.

I started something called The Pause Lifestyle. It’s about pausing in our busy lives to make more room for God. Because God’s the only thing that works. I hope you’ll come and check it out. We’d love to have you come. Be sure to join our Facebook group, too. We’re just getting started over there.

 

 

 

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Sten Gunnerman

    The Christian community in Syria is 100% in support of Assad’s Ba’athist government in Syria.
    The Ba’ath Party was founded by a Christian, and it protects all religions in Syria from religious fanaticism under a non-denominational state.
    The people you are supporting are US-Saudi-Turkey-Qatari sponsored Al Qaeda terrorists who want to overthrow the Ba’athist government and install a medieval Islamic caliphate like Saudi Arabia (only worse) in which Syria’s Christians would be either killed or forced to convert to Islam.
    That is why Syria’s Christians are celebrating the liberation of Aleppo from violent Al Qaeda terrorists: http://www.ibtimes.com/christmas-syria-pictures-war-rages-aleppo-assad-supporters-share-christian-holiday-2458048
    I am concerned that you really don’t see Aleppo.
    You see Al Qaeda propaganda.
    Please don’t spread their evil in the world.

    • jekylldoc

      Saddam Hussein was a Ba’ath leader. They are hardly the knights of tolerance and non-denominationalism in the area.

      What I really hate about Aleppo is the ruthless use of violence to pursue power. But the related effort to cover it up with ideological justifications and finger-pointing is certainly disgusting.

      Can we agree that making war on civilians is wrong? And that the community of nations should oppose it, investigate it, expose it and condemn it? Or will people forever be trying to justify it by blaming the faction being attacked?

      • Sten Gunnerman

        I fully agree that making war on civilians is wrong and must be opposed.
        However, as the primary aggressor in the Syrian conflict (via its radical Islamic proxies) the US is in no position to condemn those who are trying to defend the vast majority of Syrians, including its Christian community, from being slaughtered.
        Christians are risking their lives on the front lines of this battle to do what is right https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTKIqc6vQXI
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ATslcZZ0g

        • jekylldoc

          Sten, if I was facing ISIS as a potential threat, I would also go with whomsoever seemed to have the most firepower to oppose them with. However, it is a sign of disingenuous propagandizing to finger the U.S: as “primary aggressor” in Syria.

          Perhaps the U.S. should have given no encouragement to the Arab Spring or to Syrian rebels, but the notion of “radical Islamic proxies” for the U.S. in Syria is not even close to the truth. The U.S. would always have preferred, and still would prefer, that Syrian leadership be determined by free and fair elections. It’s main intervention was to oppose the use of chemical weapons on civilians, and that went badly only because Putin intervened heavily to protect Assad.

          I am not really too interested in the assignment of blame. I do care that facts not be distorted, because the lesson of Aleppo is clearly, once again, the lesson of collective security. If we do not put together international institutions capable of protecting democracy, including the rights of minorities, we will continue to see civilians sacrificed to the worship of violence.

          • Sten Gunnerman

            You lie prostate at the altar of violence.

  • Guthrum

    There are Christian relief organizations helping the Syrian people. Lutheran World Relief, Baptist Global Relief, Catholic Services, World Vision.
    The Syrian disaster is the result of a vacuum of leadership involving many countries.

  • Thank you so much for this! I have been deeply troubled by the silence on the part of American Christians in particular. I simply cannot understand how we can watch the horror and violence happening in Aleppo and not, at least, speak up. You are absolutely right, this is not about guilt, this is about following that call that demands we stand for and with the oppressed, brutalized, and forgotten. It can be so hard to know WHAT to do, and so I am very grateful for your practical suggestions and encouragements. Thank you.

    Nick