Reflecting on This Weekend’s Violence in Iraq and My Poor Fantasy Football Teams’ Peformance

Primary Audience – Those who play fantasy sports and enjoy other trivialities
Secondary Audience – Those interested in missional living

By now most have heard about the horrific violence in Iraq that occurred in the past few days. On Sunday there was a standoff between police and what is believed to be Al Qaeda militants inside the Our Lady Of Salvation Catholic Church.

Here’s a clip from a NRO post – “While this has been little-noticed in the West, it is an explosive issue in Egypt, where threats against the Copts, about 10 percent of the population, have increased in a year that began with a massacre of Copts in Nag Hamadi on Christmas Eve.” Part of the background is the increasing abduction and forced conversion of Coptic women. On April 19, 2010 … (more)

Today CNN posted this story … “All Christians in the Middle East are now “legitimate targets,” al Qaeda in Iraq announced Wednesday …”

And of course yesterday, (Tuesday), 64 more were killed in a series of explosions in Baghdad.

It’s pretty overwhelming.

I go through different seasons of how much I want to be informed on the affairs of the world. They take a toll on the human heart after a while. For instance, as much as I am grieved by the evils of human trafficking, I find it extremely difficult to read all the emails and RSS Feeds that I have subscribed to on a daily basis. This goes for other causes as well like clean water, hunger the AIDS crisis, etc. How does one respond to all of the pain in the world?

I got back to doing my church office work and it occurred to me thatI had not check how my fantasy football teams faired over the weekend. It takes me a little while because I’m in three leagues which is about what I need to balance all the reality of my life. (The truth is, it’s a great way to stay connected to friends. It’s funny that something so trivial has brought out some incredible life moments. In fact, last year, one of our leagues grieved a loss of a loved one. This league happens to be filled with believers and I have to say, it was an absolutely touching experience that brought us all closer. But I will be the first to admit, that a lot of fantasy sports is much game-oriented.)

Anyway, two of my teams ended up doing very poorly. I lamented (even tweeted), looked ahead to next week, deliberated some decisions and realized, “Wow, an hour ago I read about the loss of 100 people and now I am thinking about which RB to start”. In an act of guilt, I closed the browser and spent some time reflecting about this.

Life is filled with so many trivialities that consume us and so many tragedies that grieve us, again how does one respond? Further, for many of us, our lives are structured in a such a way that it becomes very difficult to make a consistent, profound change to the pain around us. Even further, some of us are in too much pain to offer any substantial help to others who hurt.

What does one do?

That said, here’s a little of what I do (feel free to contribute yours):
I keep myself connected to the pain because it keeps my heart broken and that’s a good place to be. I cannot read every email or RSS Update, nor can I remember the details of every story but I can remain broken because when I do, not only am I less egotistical and self-absorbed but it keeps me focused on some really important themes of life like mercy, justice, and love. I of course approach these from the Christian perspective.

I pray for my enemies, for the angry, for the hurting, for the apathetic, for the strangers, and for my loved ones.

I pray for the strength to resist the urge of saying, “What’s the use?” and when I am overwhelmed, I remind myself that I only add to the pain when I stop caring.

And among other things, I try maintain some balance in my life by spending time with my family, being diligent in my ministry responsibilities, trying to be a good steward of relationships and opportunities, exercising, and participating in silly hobbies like fantasy football.

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