Loss of Hope: Perspectives on Death – Part 2/6

In stark contrast to my first post in this six part series, this article takes the time and space to explore the emotions that individuals go through when they lose a loved one, especially when it is a tragic death that takes a young person’s life. For an introduction to my six part series, click here.

The second perspective on death that I am going to be exploring is the loss of hope.

On Feb 21, 2011, Laura Chee’s life came to an end. Click here to read about her story. When reading through this story, I’m sure you picked up on the dehumanizing/humanizing theme that underlines this story, especially when Judge Day refused to use the word accident to explain the death of 23-year-old Laura Chee. He told the court that Stephanie Gaylene Beckley, a 27-year-old mother of two, who had been free on bail, and who didn’t attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after her previous charges, “killed Laura” while driving with a blood alcohol level that was twice the legal limit. Judge Day called her actions “grossly selfish.” Although Beckley did kill Laura, the author tries not to dehumanize Beckley by including a few sentences on her remorse over the situation. The author’s attempt is quickly forgotten when he goes back describing the “despicable” actions of Beckley at the police station. As a result, the article ends with the author dehumanizing Beckley. In contrast, it begins with the author humanizing Laura by providing a look into the hurt that her parents, sister, and friends have experienced and will continue to experience for a very long time.

Another theme that is found in this story is the loss of a part of each family member’s identity that came with the loss of Laura. Her father told the court, “My identity was taken from me that evening.” Her mother wrote, “Nothing can mend my broken heart.” And her sister expressed how “a part of me died with her.” The pain that the family is experiencing is so deep that it has hit the core of each of their beings – they are disoriented and are, so far, without hope for the future.

Join me next time as I explore another one of our culture’s perspectives on death.

Desensitized: Perspectives on Death – Part 1/6

Over the next while, I am going to explore the various perspectives on death that our culture holds by examining news articles, blog postings, and various social media outlets.

After all, death is one of the hardest things to deal with, as it really is one of the only final things that we have to deal with these days, especially since through the Internet it is very easy to stay connected with pretty much anyone. However, what makes death even more difficult is when it is not expected and very tragic. We hear of these stories very frequently on the news.

What makes this such a close topic for me is because I am still processing the death of my seven year old niece who passed away last year so suddenly. As a result, through these next six postings, my hope is to learn as much as I can on this topic. After all, are we not all most open to questioning our views on life when we encounter such tragic deaths?

Here’s the first perspective on death that I will explore: the desensitized perspective.

As I was driving home from work last week, I was listening to the 5:00 newscast on CBC Radio-Canada. Just before the news ended and the reporters were going to report on traffic and weather, there was a brief 15 second mention of how a 38 year old roofer died falling off of a roof in one of the new developments in Edmonton. They said that he was wearing a safety harness, but that the rope was too long. That was it – there was no mention of his family or any other detail. When looking on the Internet, the following news articles were the only ones that I found, and each only had a mere paragraph or few sentences about the situation. There has been no other news report on the situation following the incident.

The brevity of the reporting on this situation, or the lack of information thereof indicates how our culture has become desensitized to tragic death. There was no commentary given on the news to this situation and the number of social media shares recorded on those news sites numbers less than 15. On the CBC article, nearly half of the words were given to the job site, occupational, health, and safety concerns, which sends the message that those issues are more important than this single man dying.

[Read more…]

Gripped by the Greatness of God (A New Season)

I’m writing this in my new office, in a new city, with a new position (Groups Pastor), in a new church (Beulah Alliance Church). In short, my family and I moved to Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) 2 weeks ago to start this new chapter in our lives.

It’s amazing how God’s grace is so real and just how his timing is absolutely perfect. After leaving Korea, we had no idea where we were going or what we were going to do. That, in and of itself, was stressful enough, but on top of that, we had only a limited amount of money left in our savings. Thank God that we were able to stay with my parents and Christina’s parents in the meantime.

Upon leaving Korea, I was hoping that I would find a position right away and start our new life immediately, but God had different plans for us. It was really a whole bunch of silence for the next couple of months, and that time proved so valuable and crucial for God to do the work he needed to do in our lives. Plus, our daughter had the opportunity to spend months with her grandparents – something that she wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise.

All that to say, I am absolutely loving Edmonton, Beulah, my new position, and this whole new chapter in our lives.

Now that the introduction is done, let me get to the meat of what I wanted to share with you. Right now, our church is going through a series entitled – “Griped by the Greatness of God.” As I was spending time reading the Bible this morning, I just wanted to share the passage that popped out to me.

He (Jesus) was supreme in the beginning and – leading the resurrection parade – he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross. (Colossians 1:18-20 The Message Translation)

Why don’t you read that passage again and realize just how great our God is?