Evil and Grace
Detours in Life
Mega Post 13
Recently I have been silent on my blog out of respect for those who lost their lives in natural and manmade disasters. A Middle Eastern earthquake was unavoidable, although loss of life might have been prevented with better housing and warning systems instead of monies spent of war. Then in the United State of America there was yet another instance of a mentally ill white male obtaining too much firepower for his fragile mental state, resulting in injury and death to innocent people. If we treated the threat from active shooters like we do from pesticides … well, suffice it to say that we have less threat from dying from DDT than we do at the hands of an angry gun owner.
Evil is a nebulous term and we have a better chance of defining a black hole than a definitive answer to what evil is. Over the weekend it was announced that convicted criminal Charles Manson had died. The response to this news did not speak well for the faith community. Many see Manson as an evil man, the very definition of what a devil would be living in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Their faith that bespeaks of all mankind being children of God seemingly flew out the window, much like those politicians who want rules for everyone except themselves.
The world can be a tumultuous place at times. How we respond determines what we really believe. Maintaining grace in all times is not easy but very necessary. While others are ranting and raving, someone needs to carry on the good fight, do the good works. A good person is not the one with the loudest voice. A good person is the one that does the most good.
Sometimes people are just good people. In 2015 the James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award was awarded to John and Tashia Morgridge. John became a part of Cisco Systems as president and chief executive officer in 1998 and quickly led the company into becoming a publicly traded company that was known as a technological powerhouse. Tashia had studied at the University of Wisconsin and was a special education teacher. As a couple, they became known for their charitable giving.
Quoting from The Tech.org website which announced this award, given each year by the Tech Museum of Innovation, the Morgridge’s philanthropically have sought to improve education worldwide, “and they have done much of that giving through the TOSA Foundation, named after the high school where they met. The Morgridges have supported the University of Wisconsin’s research facilities, special education programs and scholarships, founding the Morgridge Center for Public Service and establishing the Morgridge Institute for Research, a biomedical institute. They are also generous supporters of literacy programs in East Palo Alto, Calif.; Tashia has long devoted herself to improving educational opportunities in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Internationally they donate principally through CARE, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty, and The Nature Conservancy.”
Other people need a wake-up call. Jon Huntsman, Sr. is well known as the founder of a global chemical manufacturing company. What might not be as well known is that he gives away a great deal of his income. He became a serious humanitarian in 1992 after a diagnosis of prostate cancer. En route to the hospital, he wrote a one million dollar check to a homeless shelter, another to a local soup kitchen feeding the homeless and poor, and half a million dollars to the clinic that first diagnosed and discovered his tumor. He later began his own cancer foundation at a cost of over one billion dollars.
This humanitarian has long been giving away his money, which totals well into the billion dollar range. Founder of a global chemical manufacturer, his serious giving days began in 1992 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. On his way to the hospital, he gave a one million dollar check to a homeless shelter, another million to a soup kitchen, and $500,000 to the clinic that first found the malignancy. Huntsman would go on to found his own cancer foundation, which cost him more than one billion dollars alone. His donations have even gone so far as to knock him of the Forbes list of wealthiest individuals.
We have already discussed ways to help with local educational projects on this blog in the past three years. Volunteering to be a mentor or, if you do not feel academically capable, volunteering to help behind the scenes at such locations, is a perfect start to living your beliefs and helping your local community. Baking or providing cookies is an easy first step. Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is another and these programs have training sessions to help you get started.
If making hats or weaving plastic bags into water proof mats is more your style, your local homeless shelter would be happy for donations of your handiwork. One of the easiest ways to make a blanket is to purchase a yard of flannel and then fringe each end. That is done by cutting slits five inches long on either end. The strips become fringe and the blankets is an easy yet warm addition to any homeless person’s bedroll, lightweight yet a good layering insulator for cold nights.
Our faith and spirituality is really put to the test when someone like Charles Manson dies. Do we simply say we are glad he is no longer a drain on the coffers and our psyche or do we respond with the faith we profess to have? Where was the resounding “May the Lord have mercy on his soul” that one cannot argue he desperately needed? Evil done by others should not be our compass. We all have the ability to help another and when we live grace, we receive grace. Life is really just that simple and we all should exercise the grace to do whatever good we can.