“They shot the children in each chair. I couldn’t watch it. When I grow up, I will destroy their world, I will destroy their children — I won’t let them be.” An unidentified child survivor of the massacre in Peshawar, Pakistan. (Italics mine.)

It chilled me to the bone when I read these words in this article in the Huffington Post. I can wrap my head around a father talking this way, as much as I recoil at the thought of such an act; but when I realize that these words are coming out of the mouth of a child the impact of the horror is so much greater. It staggers my mind and tears at my heart.

This is where hate is born; and it is why blood feuds, jihad, and crusades continue generation after generation. No one would deny the need for the men who did this to be punished, least of all me. These men must be found and brought to justice; swiftly and publicly. But these words are not about justice, they are about revenge.

I will destroy their children“—an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The lure of revenge is strong, seductive even, and not without a certain level of justification. It seems only natural that the way to end the pain is to visit it upon the ones who caused it. I dare say that if I was in their shoes I would feel the same way myself. But it seldom works that way.

It has been said that every human weakness is a human virtue gone out of control. It starts as seeking justice for the victims, a good, proper and righteous act. But it seldom stops there. The quest for justice is wrapped in righteous indignation and morphs into vengeance. Vengeance unrequited quickly devolves into revenge, which is fuelled only by hate. This is because revenge cares not who pays the price as long as somebody does, and even then it is rarely enough. The hate continues long after the perpetrators are dead. The cycle continues.

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:27-28 English Standard Version (ESV)

This is hard—really hard. In fact, some would say it’s next to impossible; especially in this context. But there’s simply no other way to break out of the cycle of hate. For generation upon generation human beings have sought revenge to no good result. In these words Jesus shows us the way out. Now understand, he is by no means saying the guilty go unpunished. That is never the intention if this passage. But it must never go beyond seeking justice. “Vengeance is mine,” says the Lord and for good reason, we aren’t equipped to resist the lure of revenge. But to the one who burns with indignation Jesus words answer the question, “But what am I supposed to do?”

We must never return evil for evil, hate for hate, cursing for curses. It has never worked in all of human history and it never will. The solution is clear; battle evil with good, counter hate with love, return blessings for curses.

It is not easy, never has been. Not for me, or for you; nor will it be for the child who speaks of killing other children. My prayer for him/her and for all of us is that one day, when the physical wounds are healed, they and we will find the strength to turn aside from the way of hate and walk a better path.

Shalom.

star is bornWell, that’s another “Christmas Show” at Guelph Little Theatre wrapped up and put away. We call it the Christmas Show because it’s usually aimed at kids and because of it’s chronological proximity to the Holiday Season; even though more often than not it isn’t about Christmas. I really get a kick out of doing these pantomimes each year. It’s a present in a very real sense of the word.

It’s a present to me because I get to do a host of audio gags that just don’t fit into productions like Doubt, or Death of a Salesman (although I suppose there are a few places in Shakespeare where a well places rimshot might work.) It’s a chance to do a few things I don’t normally get to do as well. This time around I got to figure out how to make an unplugged microwave “cauldron” light up and beep on cue. It’s just a whole lotta fun!

It’s a present to the Guelph Little Theatre as well because it’s the best type of show to introduce a whole new generation to the joy of live theatre. The pantomime is always youth and kid heavy and this year there was a lot of kids I’ve never seen before, and a few adults actually. Their youth and energy is absolutely contagious. Though, like any show, it can be tiring spending 3 moths working on a production, this year I was just a little less tired, and a little more pumped about the season. The best part though is knowing that some of these kids will be back. They’ve caught the bug and will be around on other more serious productions to bring their energy and enthusiasm to bear on those projects as well. I can’t wait to see it!

It’s also a present to the community, as is every production we mount at Guelph Little Theatre. It’s easy to get caught up in the big screen experience. I won’t deny it. However, some of my most emotionally touching and compelling experiences have been had sitting in a small intimate theatre watching the unfolding of the human condition happen live, right there in front of you, only a few meters away. And while Bill Murray and Meryl Streep aren’t going to climb down off the screen and ask you how you liked the film; these wonderful local actors, who work just as hard I think, on their own time, for no money (it’s all volunteer folks) but rather just for the love of the art, are happy to meet with you after the lights go down and share a few thoughts over a drink in the lobby.

But unlike a lot of Christmas presents this one gets “wrapped up” after it’s been enjoyed. We put everything away and sweep off the stage until the next show. Which you can get tickets for here!

Community theatre has become the second biggest part of my life after faith and family. It’s an incredibly rewarding experience and working with this wonderfully crazy cast and crew on “Once Upon a Witch” has only served to re-enforce that. The list of who to thank for that is as long as the full list of everyone involved. I owe each and every one of them for the gratitude I feel.

But as usual two stand out: our Director Tim Campbell, and my personal little “Morty” (stage manager) Beth Freeth. Thanks to you both so much for including me!

See you next year!

Number 7 on my Turning 60 List goes as follows:

Outliving your friends really sucks. It’s happened too often. Lately it’s been happening more and more. The longer I live the worse it’s going to get. Like I said, it sucks!”

Today offered up more evidence of this.

I first met Gary Chapman working on the set for “Death of Salesman” at Guelph Little Theatre in 2006. He and his wife Lin were in charge of building and decorating the set. When we went on to WODL  Festival that year he was the one who coordinated moving what was essentially a two-story house from our stage to the one in Sarnia. To put it frankly – he impressed the hell out me! One of the most amazing experiences of my life.

That experience was re-enacted in part when Gary and Lyn served as technical directors when Guelph Little Theatre hosted the WODL Festival a couple of years ago. It was such great fun. One of the best March Breaks ever. Gary proved once again why he was so loved and respected by so many.

You noticed the past tense right? Yeah, Gary died this morning. He’d been sick for a while. Cancer–what else?  He and Lyn were scheduled to host the 5th Annual Arthur Awards Gala back in September. He couldn’t make it because of surgery. I guess it was too little, too late.

To describe him as warm, friendly, talented, and dedicated is understatement. He was all you could hope for and more. The theatre community in Guelph and area has lost a tremendous friend and talent. To say he will be missed is to engage in more of the aforementioned redundancy. But, it needs to be said.

It’s gonna take a while to process this, but for now…

Goodbye Gary, gonna miss you pal.

Gary Chapman

 

Suicide in the Bible

Posted: September 30, 2014 in Personal

Dennis Gray:

Given the number of cases of suicide that have made the rounds in social media of late I will be following this series with interest. I have often found Dr. Mariottini’s insight of benefit and share this article for others who may have a similar burden for the suffering on their hearts.

Originally posted on Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament:

Every society and every culture has to deal with the problem of suicide. Taking one’s life is, in general, a phenomenon that most societies have rejected, and yet, the reality of suicide is present in every society, past and present.

Since suicide happens every day, people have taken different views about suicide and the eternal consequences for people who take their own lives. Ethicists and theologians differ on their views about suicide because neither the Old Testament nor the New Testament explicitly condemns suicide.

Most Christians are highly influenced by the views of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas on their view of suicide. Although the early Church Fathers allowed the taking of one’s life under certain circumstances, Augustine believed that suicide was not allowed in any circumstance. He believed that anyone who took his or her own life was beyond repentance because that person had violated the sixth commandment which clearly…

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Dennis Gray:

Very interesting article. I’ve heard similar from the people I know in the Parti Quebecois. It’s discomforting how much idealism can resemble less popular forms of governance.

Originally posted on wakeupscotland:

 Ewan Morrison is an award-winning Scottish author and screenwriter.

how one word silencedFour months ago I joined the Yes camp out of a desire to take part in the great debate that the Yes camp told me was taking place within their ranks. Being a doubter I thought maybe I’d failed to find this debate and that it was exclusive to the membership of the Yes camp, so I joined hoping I could locate it and take part. But even as I was accepted into the ranks – after my ‘Morrison votes Yes’ article in Bella Caledonia, I noted that 5 out of the meagre 20 comments I received berated me for either not having decided sooner or for having questioned Yes at all. Another said, and I paraphrase: ‘Well if he’s had to mull it over he could easily switch to the other side.’ That comment in Bella Caledonia worked away…

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