Archive for June, 2012

How do you see it?

Okay, by now you’ve all heard about it.  Miami made world news headlines.  Last week a nude man tore the clothes off a homeless man, and after a struggle ate the homeless man’s face.  New reports used words like grisly, cannibal, and sick.  This didn’t happen in some back alley of an impoverished neighborhood of our city.  (Not that that would make it any better!)  It happened along the MacArthur Causeway, the scenic highway passing in front of cruise ships that connects Miami Beach with the mainland.  Now if you are like me, I don’t want to see pictures or hear news accounts.  Our response to depravity reveals our hearts.  Surprisingly, one of the opinion writers for the Miami Herald, Fabiola Santiago, said that this is good news for Miami.  She doesn’t call this unspeakable horror.  There’s not even a hit of embarrassment.  Instead, she remarked:

The wackier the news, the wider the reach, the more people develop the sense that we’re just a happening kind of town. Makes them want to be part of the scene.

Yes, we are a happening kind of town. Far from being bad news, this adds to the reputation of Miami as being a pretty cool place… In her words, it’s wacky.  Am I wrong, but wacky is a kid eating silly putty like chewing gum, or deciding to die your hair green for St. Patrick’s Day.  This isn’t wacky. It’s sick.  It left me wondering if there really is anything wrong in the world, or if some acts are just a bit wackier than others.
Contrast the response of Santiago with the response of Israel, the people of God when unspeakable things happened in their land.  The community experienced heartfelt grief because they knew what happened reflected on the state of affairs for everyone, not just the ones guilty of sin.  Events like this pushed the people to deep soul searching to consider why such a thing would happen among them.  The goal was not to beat yourself up or wallow in guilt but to seek God for grace.  The churches would be filled with people seeking the face of God.  O for hearts that are sensitive to sin and are able to repent!  I was glad when a few days later, a man wrote the Herald to question Santiago’s view.  Mr. Willerton said in part:
I usually enjoy reading this clever journalist, but on this occasion she got it horribly wrong.

Calling Miami “crazy” and using quotes like “Miami zombie alert” while writing in a tone that implies that this gruesome incident somehow makes Miami more popular is way off base.

This incident is a blight on this city and nothing to laugh about. A wildly psychotic man is dead and another seemingly harmless, homeless resident is fighting for his life. And, let’s not forget the possibility of serious mental-health damage done to the medics and police at the scene and anyone who was unlucky enough to have seen this barbaric event.

Anyone else having nightmares?

I think we should all have nightmares.  How should we respond?  We should draw near to God.  I love Miami, and grieve for her.  She is beautiful and there is such wonderful opportunity here.  I reminds me of the way Jesus wept over the city because he loved the people and he could see the way they were going.  Within a few days time, he died for the city.
Miami provides for me pictures both of hell and heaven, of paradise and immense pain and brokenness. The beauty reveals what can be and should be, the grief and sadness what is.  What can we do?  Please pray for us and our city.  Remember, we can’t make others repent, but we can repent ourselves. So how do you see it?