Click to Stop Kony  

Posted by Brock Booher

We live in a new age. In days past we knew who the outlaws were by looking at the wanted posters in the post office. A gritty lawman with a big iron on his hip would bring the villain to justice at high noon with a lightning-fast hand. Apparently today we can stop evil with the click of a mouse.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a digital rock for the past week, you know about the Kony 2012 campaign. It is a clever attempt to raise public awareness about an international war criminal through social media and bring him to justice. Judging from the number of friends who posted the video on their walls I would say that they achieved their goal of raising awareness. I am bit more skeptical of the second part of their campaign.

As best as I can tell, the campaign’s plan goes like this: Use a well crafted video and social media to spread the word about an evil warlord in Uganda that is forcing children to be soldiers. Encourage those who watch the video to spread the word and contact policy makers about stopping this evil warlord. Then policy makers will send materiel and military support to the good soldiers trying to stop the evil warlord. The good soldiers, now better supported and equipped, will bring justice down on the head of the targeted warlord. The video even shows how the dominos will fall after you click the mouse. Brilliant!

Except that awareness and action are not the same thing. Knowing does not always translate into doing.

During the first Gulf War a journalist asked an A-10 driver a probing question that went something like this, “Doesn’t it bother your conscience when you drop your bombs or fire your missiles and know that you are killing people?”

He shrugged and answered, “You don’t need a conscience, just coordinates.” (Coordinates are the numerical equivalent of a specific target's location.)

He understood that armed conflict requires a certain measure of cold, calculated application of deadly force in order to survive, and win. Dealing with an “evil warlord” requires the same measure of detached thinking. If you clicked in favor of the Kony 2012 campaign, would you also be willing to pull the trigger if you had him in your sights? Is it a cause you would be willing to risk your own life to support?

I applaud anyone that raises our awareness of injustice in the world. We tolerate way too much of it. But ultimately catching Kony (or other evil warlords) and bringing him to justice requires someone equipped and trained with deadly ordinance, the clear conscience to employ it, and coordinates.

You can’t stop an international war criminal with a click of a mouse, unless of course the computer is controlling a UAV with Hellfire missiles or GPS guided bombs. In that case clicking is much more than just liking a status.    

The Merry-Go-Round of Insomnia  

Posted by Brock Booher

A few weeks ago, I saw the crescent moon hanging in the evening sky and worried that I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. The waxing moon casts a sleeping spell on me and brings insomnia to my pillow. I went to bed on time, but by 3:00 the shadows from my neighbor’s overzealous security light were dancing on the ceiling overhead. Insignificant worries circled my head like some surreal merry-go-round full of pale horses of woe.

I got on the merry-go-round when I began to beat myself up over a scheduling mistake that could potentially cost me a few hundred dollars. That led to fears of not having enough money for an upcoming trip I wanted to make with my wife. Then I worried about the arrangements of said trip and its details. Those details reminded me of things I still needed to prepare for an upcoming church assignment. The preparation I needed to complete reminded me that I needed to rearrange my schedule. Rearranging my schedule made me stress about the mistake I made, and it started all over again twirling around in my head with some macabre music playing in the background.

After about thirty minutes on that fruitless merry-go-round, I decided I wanted off. I slipped out of bed, put on a robe, and went downstairs. As I quietly closed my bedroom door, I heard the icemaker dump a load of ice in the fridge downstairs. It struck me as odd that I noticed it. I padded down the stairs and stood before the fridge. The neighbor’s security light bathed the kitchen in enough light that I didn’t need to flip on the overhead light. I yanked open the door to fridge and pulled out the milk. The jug wasn’t very full so I twisted off the cap and chugged the rest of it down, hoping that it would help me sleep.

As I waited for the lactose to lull me to sleep, I decide to sort my mail. I grabbed the stack from my box and plopped down on the stairs to shuffle through the stack of insurance advertisements, credit card offers, and home mortgage refinance offers. While I sorted the mail, I heard one of the dogs scratching himself vigorously at the top of the stairs. Almost everything in the mail had something to do with money. Of course all of those advertisements about money reminded me of my expensive blunder, and the merry-go-round of inconsequential worries started up again.

By 3:30 am I had sorted all of my mail, and my dog was still scratching. I could hear the tag on his collar jingle every time his foot thumped against the floor as he tried to relieve his itch. I figured that it was his form of insomnia, but when I checked on him I saw that he had scratched himself until his fur was red with blood in several places. I petted him and tried to calm him. Some troubles are like his itch. They aren’t serious, but we can’t stop scratching them. So, we scratch away until we draw blood over nothing.

After he calmed down and stopped scratching, he took a drink and came back to sit beside me. I petted him until he fell asleep and I could put something on his paws to prevent further damage. I calculated his age. He was getting old, but then again, so was I. Here we both were wasting our night away scratching at an itch that we could never satisfy.

I slipped away from him and threw away the junk mail.  Then I went back to the fridge and found a chocolate malt protein drink hiding in the doorway. I wondered if it might help. I read the label and laughed. The words, “contains no milk” were plastered below the brand name that included the word “milk.” It was almost as ironic as me losing sleep over worrying about losing sleep. I checked the date and chugged it on down. Then I made a list of all the horses on my merry-go-round so I could deal with them in the morning and slipped around my itchy dog now fast asleep on the stairs to my comfortable bed in hopes of going back to sleep.

As I finally drifted off to sleep again, three thoughts stuck with me: Life is too short to worry about losing sleep. If the only problem you have is a money problem, you don’t have a problem. Some itches can never be scratched.

Celebrating Womanhood  

Posted by Brock Booher

People often comment that my wife I look alike. I always respond that, in spite of the similarities, it’s the differences that really matter. Men and women are different. In a world where lines of gender roles and gender identity are becoming fuzzy, I would argue that the feminine arts of womanhood are dying, and that is not a good thing.

Now I’m not advocating that we need to go back to the days of June Cleaver, but I am suggesting that womanhood should be celebrated, not subjugated; That being feminine is a strength, not a weakness; That behaving like a woman is not something to be a scoffed and ridiculed, but something to be admired.

I have been fortunate to have several strong and capable women in my life. From my mother who brought ten children into the world and raised them, to my beautiful wife who makes a friend everywhere she goes, and various other successful women throughout my life, I have been surrounded by countless examples of womanhood at its finest. I have watched them nurture the sick, organize large gatherings, and perform manly tasks in a man’s world, without losing the hallmark characteristics of womanhood such as warmth, kindness, and compassion.

Throughout history women have been subjugated to subservient roles or minimized by tradition or even the legal system of a given society. Perhaps men have done this out of fear or a sense of insecurity, but the long-reaching result is that women, and womanhood, have been marginalized or treated as an inferior station.

Women don’t need to be placed on pedestal to be worshipped or admired from a distance. They don’t need to be segregated and locked away like some hidden treasure. They need to find their place alongside someone that celebrates their differences, honors their virtues, and values their contributions. Womanhood should be celebrated.

Men (speaking of the gender as a whole) are physically stronger than women, but that doesn’t mean that women lack strength. Femininity comes with its own set of strengths. By nature, women multitask better, nurture more, and resolve conflict in constructive ways. Because they lack the physical strength, and oftentimes the ego, of men, they are more likely to use their head to tackle a problem instead of brute strength. My mother can accomplish most tasks that a twenty-something male body builder can do. She just uses her head, leverage, and tools instead of muscle. The best part is that women can do all this while wearing a dress and heels. Feminine is also strong.

Behaving like a woman should be admired, and I don’t mean the glossy-magazine type of admiration. A woman’s touch can brighten a room or event and make it more enjoyable. A woman’s charm can soften even the hardest of hearts. A woman’s courage can carry her, and sometimes her entire family, through the valley of the shadow of death. A woman’s virtue can inspire us to reach for loftier heights. A woman’s love can transform us and encourage us to make the woman in our life proud. Womanhood, with all its endearing behaviors, should be admired.

Women today, in their attempt to be more like men, are losing the feminine arts of womanhood. When women downplay their feminine features they are also minimizing the inherent strengths that come with being a woman. The very qualities that make a woman feminine also make her strong and talented. They overlook the intrinsic value of their womanhood in an attempt to be like a man, and in the end they find that they are neither a capable man, nor a desirable woman.

My wife and are a lot alike, but ultimately it’s the differences that really count. In many ways I strive to be more like the women in my life. They inspire me. They encourage me. They transform me.

I’m a better man because of them.