Call it irony, or a sign that I should comment directly on Rosangel Cabrera, Miguel Cabrera and the plague of domestic violence. An hour ago I added a post about a woman I met in a coffee shop who died last Friday at the hands of her husband – a murder suicide. Check it out below. Now news comes across the wire that Miguel Cabrera, the Detroit Tigers slugger showed up at the game on Sunday with bruises on his face. Police reports reveal that officers arrived at the Cabrera’s home Saturday night responding to a call of “family trouble.” The complainant was Cabrera’s wife, Rosangel. Coincidence?
The prayer I offer at the end of the last post is pertinent for the Cabrera’s and the many others like them. Yes, domestic violence is an epidemic. Let’s again pray for God’s peace in every home, especially those where fears and threats are all too common.
My friend Art finished the Twin Cities Marathon yesterday. He’s now accomplished this fete 26 times (one for every mile of the grueling course). This year he’ll run six different marathons around the country. I won’t tell you Art’s age, but suffice it to say, his commitment is impressive! Last year Art dragged me across the TCM finish line. I had a knee strain this year and couldn’t join him again. But today I’m remembering his faithfulness to see me through to the goal!
After I read the results in this morning’s paper I called Art and we had a good time remembering our adventure last year. Running 26.2 miles with a friend is probably the only way I could have done it. The weather in ’08 was horrid. It rained the first 11 miles and around mile 17 I developed a spasm in my right hip. Believe it: I wanted to quit every step of the next 9 miles! But Art kept me going. He coaxed and prodded and encouraged and pushed me when otherwise I would have given up. I finished the race – not with any record time, but with Art going every step beside me!
Art is more than a running friend. He’s also one of my most faithful prayer partners. Art prays for and with me, and without his spiritual strength and wisdom I know there would be times I’d fall short of God’s best. Art is a marathoner on the streets, and he’s a spiritual marathoner as well. I’m thankful for his partnership in both ventures. My relationship with Art reminds me how much we need the support of friends in all areas of our lives – prayer included. Jesus said that the prayers of “two or three agreeing together” have great power.
I encourage you to find an “Art” in your life – someone who will run with you with Jesus, and not let you quit along the way in your marathon relationship with God!
Shocked, sickened, grieved….
At the moment I’m sitting in my Caribou Coffee shop trying to collect myself. I come here most Monday mornings, and over the months have struck up friendships with several regulars. Five minutes ago Gayle, who works behind the counter walked over to me and pointed to the front page of Friday’s St. Paul Pioneer Press. I’d read the article over the weekend but the name and face hadn’t registered. “Do you recognize her?” she asked me. I paused and looked at the pictures of Pamela Taschuk and Allen Taschuk beside the headline, “Lino Lakes man kills his wife, then himself.” “She comes in here all the time, and talks and laughs with that group of retired guys who always sit around the fireplace. Can you believe it?” she said, shaking his head. Suddenly, the woman’s face looked vividly familiar to me; the tragedy hit home. “God, help her son, Gayle mumbled as she walked back to pour another cup of coffee for the next person in line.
I read the article again, this time with a sickened heart and far more focus. The report said that Pamela Taschuk had recently complained to officials that she feared her husband who had a violent history might kill her. “Allen is like the guys in the stories you (hear) where the wife leaves the husband and then he kills her,” Pamela Taschuk told police the day she filed for divorce. On Thursday last week, she stopped by the Anoka County attorney’s office to check on the legal case against her husband. Later that evening, she attended a support group for domestic-abuse victims and within two hours of arriving home was dead. The Taschuks leave behind a sixteen year old son.
I’m prompted to pray – for this grieving and confused young man, for their extended family and friends, and then for all the women suffering in similar situations. Domestic violence is epidemic. Let’s join together now and ask for the tempering peace of God to intervene – at this moment – in the thousands of individual relationships poisoned by the threats and fears of violence. Please join me in this prayer. If you know of someone personally who needs God’s saving hand, add your own words below…
“God of peace, there are many places and many people who do not experience your peace. Right now there are many, many women and children who live under the dark weight of the fear of violence right in their own homes. We pray for your protection, and for wisdom for friends and officials to help bring that right protection to them. We pray for the many men who themselves feel powerless and confused about their relationships. We ask that you would help them find healthy ways to work out their frustrations and to find hope without resorting to destructive impulses. God, work in our country to stem this epidemic. We ask for your perfect peace…”
Today is Mahatma Ghandi’s birthday. Ghandi, the spiritual and national father of post-British India is renowned for his none-violent strategies of revolution that led his nation into independence.
In my new book, The Karma of Jesus I tell a story of Ghandi recounted by the Christian writer E. Stanley Jones. Here’s that excerpt.
When the bell sounded at 3:45 AM the pilgrims who had come to Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Sabarmati, India rose and silently processed to the river bank to say their prayers. In 1927 Stanley Jones stayed there with Gandhi eight days, and each morning joined the prayer march under the stars. The experience had a profound impact on him. In Christ at the Round Table Jones recalls listening to the droning chants, then the quaint, sad voice of Gandhi expounding on the Bhagavad Gita. He marveled that such a slight man, wearing only a loin cloth of cotton spun on his own wheel wielding nothing more than his own personal discipline, good will and a strategy of non-violent civil disobedience could command such power, a power he imagined might one day bring the mighty British Empire to its knees.
Following one of these prayer walks Jones approached Gandhi to tell him about the “Round Table” gatherings he had initiated across India where people from many faiths came to share how their religious faith impacted their personal experience. Gandhi seemed intrigued and agreed to have a similar heart to heart conversation with Jones. Jones kept confidential most of the intimate details of their discussion, but he did relay one telling exchange.
Gandhi began. “The more I empty myself the more I discover God,” he confessed. “The world is a well-ordered machine and we may discover God in obeying its laws, but no miracles are to be expected, and it may take ages.” Gandhi then went on to acknowledged that he hadn’t yet found spiritual enlightenment. Jones recalled reading a steely determination and what he named “noble despair” in the pundit’s eyes, as if he had braced himself for a long uncertain struggle.
When Stanley Jones returned to his own cottage near the compound’s spinning room, Gandhi’s words haunted him. “The world is a well-ordered machine… No miracles are to be expected… No miracles are to be expected…” Was this the best hope from the best of men? If the Mahatma, the “Great Soul” had not found enlightenment, what hope had an ordinary man?
Jones recalled his own experience. 25 years before he too had felt bankrupt and despaired of every reaching God. Then he’d given his soul to Christ, a person, not a machine. At that moment a miracle had happened. He knew it. It had not taken ages. It had taken only a moment of surrender, a simple exchange of life for life. The next day Jones met Gandhi again and he shared this story. The two men walked and talked and wept together, yet each out of very different state of heart.
Karma exists, Jones concedes. The world is in fact a “well-ordered machine.” But mechanics need not define the baseline. The “Karma machine” might have a Designer, Someone with a will independent from the design itself The “Everything” behind everything could be a Person. Seeing things this way gives the world a very different look and feel.
God is personal. We can meet him and know him and relate through prayer to him personally. E. Stanley Jones’ challenge to Gandhi is also a challenge to us… A challenge to pray!