the weblog of Alan Knox

My charade is the event of the season

Posted by on May 15, 2008 in love, service, synchroblog | 16 comments

This post is part of the May Synchroblog on the topic of “Human Rights” and part of a global blogging event known as Bloggers Unite for Human Rights. While many bloggers will be writing about specific human rights abuses, my post will be a little different. I think it is important to point out human rights abuses, and I think it is important to think about solutions to those problems. But, that’s not the way that I’m going with this post.

“Carry On My Wayward Son” – one of the biggest hits for the band Kansas – includes the following lyrics:

Masquerading as a man with a reason
My charade is the event of the season

I recently heard this song while I was driving to work, and these two lines stuck in my head. I repeated them over and over again to myself over the next few days. In fact, it got to the point that I could remember those two lines, but I couldn’t remember exactly which song they were from. God used these words to point out something about my own life…

And, I have a confession – I don’t love people. Oh, I love some people – especially those people who love me back. But when it comes to people in general, I don’t love them. How do I know? Because I don’t demonstrate that love. The test of love is not what I say about people but what I do about people.

In the same way, the test of whether or not I care about human rights – the rights that all people have because they are children of God – is not in what I say or teach or write, but in what I do. And, I don’t do much. Even what I do something, I usually simply throw a little money at a problem, hoping that “human rights issues” and other problems will simply take the money and go away like a stray dog with a bit of food.

Yes, I’m sure I’m being tough on myself, and I should probably just forget about this for a while and hope the convictions go away. Or, I can accept these convictions of proof that I am part of the “human rights” problem. And, as I’ve written before, God is changing my heart in this area. At least now I recognize that the love that I have been demonstrating remains a selfish love. That old “love” was not based on a person’s worth as given by God, but it was instead based on my association with the person.

Recently, God has been teaching me to care about other people through many different means… even modern rock songs. For instance, God has pricked my heart with this lyric from “Hands Held High” by Linkin Park:

In my living room watching but I am not laughing
Cause when it gets tense I know what might happen

The world is cold the bold men take action
Have to react or get blown into fractions

Ten years old is something to see
Another kid my age drug under the jeep

Taken and bound and found later under the tree
I wonder if he thought the next one could be me

Do you see the soldiers that are out today
To brush the dust from bullet proof vests away

It’s ironic, at times like this you pray
But a bomb blew the mosque up yesterday

There’s bombs in the buses, bikes, roads
Inside your market, your shops, your clothes

My dad he’s got a lot of fear I know
But enough pride inside not to let that show

My brother had a book he would hold with pride
A little red cover with a broken spine

On the back, he hand wrote a quote inside
“When the rich wage war it’s the poor who die”

Meanwhile, the leader just talks away
Stuttering and mumbling for nightly news to replay

And the rest of the world watching at the end of the day
Both scared and angry like “what did he say?”

While the song may condemn leaders and talking heads who are more concerned with sound bites than dealing with problems, I have to include myself in the condemnation. Failure to take notice of “human rights issues” and failure to respond to “human rights issues” is just as bad, if not worse, than leaders who use “human rights issues” for sound bites and political gain.

People are important to God, and they should be important to me. If they’re not, then there is a problem between God and me, and I am somehow hindering his work in my life.

—————————————–

Click the link below to read the posts by other synchrobloggers who are taking part in “Bloggers Unite for Human Rights“:

Sonja Andrews on Human Wrongs
Adam Gonnerman on Guantanamo Bay in the eyes of God
Julie Clawson on Human rights and Christian comfort
Steve Hayes on Human rights and Christian faith
Steve Hayes (again!) on Human Rights and Amnesty International
Sally Coleman on “If”
Alan Knox on My Charade is the event of the Season
Bryan Riley on Bloggers Unite for Human Rights
Janice Fowler on Voiceovers Needed (Or Wake-Up Speak-Up)
Cobus van Wyngaard on Christianization and Humanization and our task in Zimbabwe
Mike Bursell on Human rights (and Christian responsibilities)
Prof Carlos Z on A new examination of human rights
KW Leslie on For those who say Christians have no rights

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Here some other bloggers whose blogs I read who are not part of the synchroblog, but are taking part in “Bloggers Unite for Human Rights“:

Heather on What can we do?
Michael on Uniting for Human Rights: Blog!!!
Glenn on Confessions


16 Comments

Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 5-15-2008

    Really like your blog. Music is a big part of my journey as well

  2. 5-15-2008

    Great post, Alan. I took a similar slant on my blog. Thanks for your transparency!

    Your last paragraph is especially true!! But where have we gone wrong in thinking that it’s either not our problem or that we don’t have to care??

    ~Heather

  3. 5-15-2008

    Thanks for this post Alan.
    You have given me yet another challenge to live out what I believe.
    One of the things I am learning, as the Linkin Park songs reminds us, is that there are people being hurt by what we do everyday, whether we realize or condone it, we are still responsible. (I’m not just talking about wars but also about the products we buy, the people we elect and the pastimes we enjoy)
    Great thoughts.

    ~tim

  4. 5-15-2008

    emjaydee,

    Thanks for the comment.

    Heather,

    You asked: “But where have we gone wrong in thinking that it’s either not our problem or that we don’t have to care??” I’ll think about this question. I don’t think there’s one easy answer though.

    Tim,

    You said: “I’m not just talking about wars but also about the products we buy, the people we elect and the pastimes we enjoy”. Yes, exactly.

    -Alan

  5. 5-15-2008

    Excellent post Alan. I sense that we are saying the same thing from different angles, I too was challenged over my own responses.

  6. 5-15-2008

    Thank you for this post. I read it with tears in my eyes. As a Christian, I have been broken hearted over the “Church’s” response to human rights issues — or better said, the lack thereof. Your willingness to be honest with the work God is doing in your heart brings so very, very much hope to mine. THANK YOU. THANK YOU for this post.

  7. 5-15-2008

    Yes, too often we try to insulate ourselves with layers of protection, like sometimes I am reluctant to open the car window to give something to a beggar, because I don’t want to let the cold night air in, but there is the beggar, outside in the cold night air.

  8. 5-15-2008

    Alan,

    I am reminded of a rather poignant statue which stands in the Australian tablelands inland town of Orange. The statue is of a pastor (if I remember rightly, a Presbyterian).

    The statue portrays the man on one knee reaching out with his right hand offering his coat. The statue also has bare feet.

    The story goes that it was in the middle of a severe winter that the man was walking down the street. There, in the snow, he saw a poor man, without coat or shoes. He promptly removed his own coat and shoes giving them to the shivering man.

    He obviously shared your thoughts in your last paragraph.

  9. 5-15-2008

    Sally,

    I haven’t had a chance to read your post yet. But, I look forward to reading it soon.

    Penny,

    Thank you for your comment. Its not easy admitting to I don’t love people the way that God desire me to love people. But, there’s no reason to hide it… God already knows.

    Steve,

    Yes, its easier to remain in my comfortable world. But, I think God wants me to enter their world, even if only in letting some of the cold air in.

    Aussie John,

    That’s a great story and great memorial of God’s love! Thank you!

    -Alan

  10. 5-16-2008

    Hey, Alan … you’re listening to some great music these days. It’ll tear your heart out if you’re not careful …

  11. 5-16-2008

    Thanks for your thoughts on human rights. As the Preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us, “…recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

    Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds

  12. 5-16-2008

    Sonja,

    There are many lyrics in rock music that “tear my heart out”… and many lyrics that are just fun to sing along with.

    Dave,

    Thanks for the comment. I agree that all people should be treated fairly and justly and be able to live in peace.

    -Alan

  13. 5-17-2008

    Alan,

    I’ve long struggled with the knowledge that I love some people, but not all people. Life, for all its challenges, in the Western world is incredibly safe and easy compared to what billions face in other parts of the world. Trouble is, even knowing this, I go right on worrying about the light bill or hoping I have time to read after work. What am I actually doing other than identifying the problem and then not doing anything about it?

  14. 5-17-2008

    Adam,

    Yes, you’ve described my current situation perfectly. I feel like the son in Jesus’ parable who says he will work in his father’s field, but then never does.

    -Alan

  15. 5-17-2008

    This has been an interesting article. I have been especially concerned about domestic violence and how the church has responded to this issue…and yes, this is considered a human rights issue. Having grown up in a home with domestic violence I seen first hand how others (especially those in the church) had ignored our situation. God freed me from that life and I have been living in peace for about 5 years now. But there are still others out there, they are hurting, they are scared, and they need hope. I wrote about my feelings about this so I hope it’s ok to post it here.

    A Letter From A Survivor

    I am a survivor. I spent years struggling to survive a world of violence. This violence was in my home. It was an everyday existance for me. It became a matter of life, or death, for me. I wanted to live and I didn’t know how to break away from this life I was living. And I looked for help. I looked in my church because it seemed like a safe place. I thought I would be accepted there, and ministered too. I was wrong. I only found guilt and shame. I was told of the things I needed to do to make it stop. But it didn’t stop. It got worse. I went back to the church, and they sent me back into the world. Why did they do that? I needed hope, and I left hopeless. Is there no place for me in the church? You say that you cannot get involved, because if I left my abuser, it would lead you to believe that you are condoning divorce. So you condone violence in it’s place. You tell me to stay. Maybe if I prayed more, acted more loving, then things would get better. Now he wants to kill me. But you don’t want to get involved. Just ignore me, and maybe I will go away. That is the plan, because you don’t really want to say it. So I will leave, and pray that I don’t die. After all, you may be sending me to my death, and you wouldn’t want to live with my blood on your hands. So send me on my way, and I will pray for you, that God opens your eyes.

  16. 5-17-2008

    Anonymous,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I think it is a story that needs to be told, and a story that followers of Christ need to think seriously about. No, I would not encourage anyone to remain in a violent situation. I praise God that he freed you from that violence in spite of the apathy of the church.

    -Alan