Thursday, November 08, 2007

Iraq's children

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.---James 3:17-18

I believe I'm a Christian first, and American (a distant) second. Lately I've felt terribly sad that so many Iraqi men, women, and especially children have been maimed, killed, and displaced on account of actions my country has taken. I don't care to debate whether we should be there or not (honestly I have no clue, if I did I guess I'd be working at the pentagon or as an advisor to the president!). However, I feel terrible that our Iraqi brothers and sisters are suffering and scarcely anyone mentions them. For some reason I get the impression that it's unpatriotic or unChristian to care about people from Iraq.

As Christians I think Christ compels us to care, and to love, and to remember that the kingdom of God looks and works differently from anything here on earth. In God's kingdom, we love our enemies, love our neighbors, give food and drink to those who need it regardless who they are or what they believe.

World Vision has worked in Iraq for some time. They have put together these videos that I hope you'll take the time to watch. What an opportunity the church has right now, to reach out and bridge the gap between Christian and Muslim, rich and poor, to put Jesus' love into action. Anyway, please watch these clips and pray for these children (and maybe consider contributing towards Iraqi relief efforts!)


Anonymous said...

Throughout the months I've been reading your blog, I have noticed that you preface a lot of your issues-of-the-moment with "For some reason I get the impression that it's unpatriotic or unChristian to...". This is noticibly prevalent surrounding many of the more typically "liberal" causes, such as AIDS in Africa. I want to tell you, as a fellow Christian, that your tone of voice (writing?) in conveying this impression seems so incredibly holier-than-thou and self-righteous. I am almost positive that you don't mean it thusly, but it almost sounds like you're saying to the rest of Christianity, "Hey, look at me. I care about the things you don't and I think I am awesome for doing so."

I think you're very wrong that Christians don't care about some of the things you accuse them of not seeming to care about; it may be, though, that they go about caring for and loving in very different ways. With the Iraq situation, it's an especially tough and touchy issue since a lot of these people are wanting to eradicate us as a nation and as a Christian nation specifically. Prayer is powerful, as you mentioned, and it is the most Christ-like thing we can do for our "enemies".

In any case, I enjoy your blog and just wanted to ask that you maybe temper your tone a bit in such things.

Brianna Heldt said...

first of all, to all my lovely blog readers, i'm going to borrow my friend andy's soapbox :) and say--please, if you're going to cast stones, have the decency to post your name. i post mine.

sometimes i post general observations--not necessarily observations of MY church, or ALL christians, just general observations. these weren't accusations, in my opinion--i can honestly say i've not once attended a group where someone mentioned the children/civilians we've hurt in iraq, and i DO think it's considered less-than-patriotic to do so by many people. do i think these people are bad christians? no way. do i think i'm awesome for being concerned about these children? goodness no! anyway if you took it personally, i'm sorry. i'm in no place to judge you or anybody else, and hopefully you won't judge me either.

you call AIDS relief or helping children "liberal" causes--i wish they were just Christian causes (which is my whole point.) i really don't think the issue of helping hurting children should be touchy. if it is, then i would ask, why? i guess that was my point too. i'm really grateful that world vision is helping.

i suppose my thinking was, that we've made political issues out of things that could just be good samaritan type issues. i think your reaction is almost proof of this--you're a good american or christian if you're waving a flag or praying for our "enemies", and self-righteous and liberal if you post about the hurting iraqi children that have been displaced.

if the tone of the blog bothers you, i'd encourage you not to read it. these days i mostly post about my life and my kids, but i found the work world vision was doing, and thought i'd post about it, because you don't hear that side very often, and i think it's a story that needs to be told. not necessarily by me because i think i'm really "awesome", but by anybody, and i thought world vision's interviews were great. i included my feelings about it b/c i wanted to be real and honest and not just stick the link up. though next time i may just do that! :)

Joy said...

brianna, it's your blog and i think you should be able to post what you want in whatever type of tone you want. if you want to sound self-righteous (which you don't) then i think you should be able to. i encourage people who may be offended by the content of anybody's blog to stop reading if it's so offensive. do we have to be politically correct and walk on eggshells on a personal blog now? that's funny--i thought we lived in America, a land which defends freedoms of speech and press. hmmmm...

Jeannett Gibson said...

I'm totally laughing out loud right now! This is great!

About the topic...I agree that many times we don't talk about the people of Iraq...and that IS a shame. One of the ways I find that we don't talk about the people there is even to discuss the ways they are being benefitted by our military presence at all (whether you agree or not). I have no firsthand experience, but from every person I know who has served overseas, they all come back with stories of whole villages cheering as they drive through town, of children showing off the little English they know, of mothers crying in gratitude. Weird to think of when you consider their war torn state. I also think there is a lot of despair and sadness, as I'm sure is the case anywhere war is waged. I just know that I see the heavy hearts of soldiers back from tour who are so saddened that only the "bad" news is reported. Never the stories of my friend's platoon who rationed their water for months to be able to fill one of the local swimming pools (that had been drained while Saddam was in power), in exchange that they be able to swim in the pool once a week privately and the rest of the time it was open to all the kids.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the place is a mini-heaven. Certainly it isn't...just that the fact that we don't talk about the people at ALL is sad. (YOu think that maybe the reason is that in order for people to be at war...whether just or not...they have to almost dehumanize the population? Not because it's unchristian or unpatriotic, but just the way our brains work?)

Anyway, keep up the blogging...see you tonight!

Kate said...

Love it Brianna, my heart is with yours. I loved the videos, I had seen them before. So moving. Sometimes I start to think that the primary thing I need to do with my life is to just evangelize, but seeing these videos reminded me that just being a friend, helping the hurting physically as well as spiritually is very important and can probably reach their souls more deeply than just "preaching the word". Although, it is the Lord that softens hearts....whoa, these are whole other topics on their own. Sorry to ramble off on your blog...these were just some of my thoughts from watching and reading. Thanks for the encouragement.

Joy said...

you make a good point that hardly anyone mentions the how the people have been affected. i think jeanett also makes a good point that not keeping people faceless makes it "easier" if you will to wage war. i agree with you that there aren't any answers other than the ones the Bible provides that you mentioned of caring for people. thank you for talking about a hard issue.

Lara said...

Brianna - PLEASE don't just post the link next time! I love your thoughts and I am always encouraged and challenged by them. I also loved your response to anonymous.
I think it's good to grieve when we see sin in the church and to encourage each other to become more like Jesus. Paul didn't keep his mouth shut for fear of sounding self-righteous, he wrote letters and called his churches to something better and more in line with Jesus.
So Brianna, please don't be discouraged. Thank you for having the courage to follow the example of Paul and call us all to be more like Christ.

Laura said...

Wow, I came here to leave a comment and was really surprised by the "anonymous" comment and glad that you responded as you did.

Now, my comment was "well said." I said to someone like 2 weeks ago who was very flippantly discussing issues in Iraq and I finally just said, "you do realize that everytime you have 12 killed in a car bomb" that is 12 people, and those 12 people have families and friends and they meant something to someone..." I mean they are more than a "statistic." Thanks for bringing this issue to the forefront -- regardless of where anyone stands on the issues of this war the lives of the Iraqi people are real.

graceling said...

Brianna, as I have discovered with blogging (and as my Grandma used to say) "you can make some of the people happy most of the time and you can make most of the people happy some of the time, but you can't make all the people happy all the time." To which I add "and if you try to make God happy all the time, you WILL end up stepping on toes!" But you should still have that focus:)

I agree with you- often I do get the feeling that "The Church" feels one way about a political issue, an I feel that the most Christ-like response is maybe just the opposite (for me, as a nurse, some of the things I think of are healthcare, eldercare, abuse, and abortion.) I really believe that Jesus saw people... he saw faces... he knew names, not just country of origin, ethnic group, disease status, or race. He knew John, He knew Sally. He healed John. He touched Sally. Yes, He affected nations. He was undenialby a political figure. But He mostly was a guy who loved individuals.

I think our need to be people-oriented in our service to God sometimes does get lost by the over-religionization and over-politicalization of what are essentially human needs. In short, I am glad you posted what you did, and I am glad you responded as you did. And I agree.

Anonymous said...

My comment was not directed at anything World Vision does or does not do, nor was it directed towards the issue(s) themselves, only your attitude.

graceling said...

It makes me smile that anonymous is still anonymous... :)

Kristen Borland said...

brianna, your attitude is beautiful. we all know you, unlike anonymous. do not stop writing or giving your opinions. we love you, and i personally am so glad you posted on this and brought it to my attention. your heart for children everywhere is such an encouragement to me. you are always trying to do more, and i can sense genuine sadness in you that you can't solve all these problems.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love your blog and as a Christian I would agree with your observations. I am currently an expat living in Europe, I notice a BIG difference in the news, here there is so much more focus on the number of children dying becuase of the war. You are right, we forget this, people get caught up in the politics of "I'm X" (insert country here) instead of "I'm a child of God" WAY before anything else. As a child of God, I care about ALL children and people. How can you not if you are Chritian?

What a great post you wrote! Ignore the negativity, sometimes those who are most offended are those who know in their hearts they have misguided thoughts or aren't putting their Christianity ahead of bias!

Your family is lovely! I hope you are all feeling better soon!



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