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  • Brett Parks

Train Whistle Blowing



Many years ago, I was a senior in High School at Miami Palmetto Senior High. I was the captain of the football team and a 2x “Outstanding Wide Receiver”, winning the honors in my junior year as well as my senior year. I would get recruiting letters from colleges like LSU, Nebraska, Penn State, Carson-Newman and Liberty. I was president of the “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” (FCA) and we’d have weekly meetings at my house. My wife later told me (Who was in the same school and class as me) that I was like the “Dave Matthews” of our school. Too cool to hang out. I would never go to parties, never drank, always stood up for the Lord (I am going somewhere with this, I promise). I had everything going for me and had the ear and eyes of everyone if I wanted that kind of attention. What people did not know is that I was struggling HARD with anxiety which was not really a thing to be diagnosed at the time, not that my parents could pay for that kind of medication at that time. I did not go to parties because I did not think ANYBODY liked me. I had one class that I would act out and show my clownish side, but that was the class that had all my brothers in it i.e. my teammates. I was SURE nobody knew of me or wanted to. I carried this up to New York when I would be throwing-up outside a building where auditions were being held for the next Broadway show. Most of the time, I wouldn't audition. It was only years later (and many anxiety- ridden days) where I finally got over the hump. Fear is a horrible feeling but, at times, it is necessary for growth or epiphany.

I remember towards the end of my Senior year; I signed a scholarship letter from Carson-Newman College to fulfill my lifelong dream to play on the same field as my brother. One day, as the last class was being released and we were all walking to the parking lot (or locker room), there would always be some sort of shenanigans going on. Some of the stuff was playful fun while others were quite malevolent. Unfortunately, I came across the latter that day. As I was walking in the hallway, I noticed the “weird kid” walking in front of me. I believe he was a few years younger than me but looked even younger than that. He was the kind of kid who had to lean forward in an extreme manner for him not to fall back from the weight of all the books in his backpack. He was walking a in front of me when I noticed a group of guys crowded around and whispering. As the weird kid got in arms-length of them, one of the kids turned and hit the kid right in the face. I saw this kid get hit so hard that he LITTERALY flew out of his shoes. Seriously, I witnessed this with my own eyes. As he hit the fence and his papers flew out of his backpack, the group of guys ran away laughing.

Witnessing this crime, I did what anybody who was the captain of the football team and president of #FCA would do. I ran up to the weird kid, helped him come back to his senses, pick up his papers and shoes and help him to his car… right? Nope! I did not do that. As I walked closer to him and up to him, I just about stepped over him and continued walking towards the parking lot to get home. As I was walking further and further from him, I became more and more uneasy about what I was doing or, did not do. There was a pit in my stomach that stuck with me until I went to bed that night. In my bed, I opened to The Lord in shame, crying as I begged for forgiveness. I promised Him that I would never walk by when there is someone who needs help ever again. This promised followed me when I saw a man being mugged in NYC and forced the two people off the train before they could take the old man’s wallet and a homeless man passed out in the street due to what I could suspect was heat exhaustion. This promise even followed me in the Navy when I saw another nerdy kid being bullied by a few other kids. Eventually, the promise followed me to October 17, 2012 where I was shot and left for dead after helping a man being robbed at gunpoint.

Let me be clear, I have never felt such shame in my life than I had when I stepped over this semi-unconscious kid my senior year in high school. That kept me up hundreds of nights following and keeps me up to this day. I do not remember his name. I do not even know how to contact him to prostrate myself at his feet and beg for forgiveness. It STILL keeps me up. I made that promise years ago to protect those who were unable to protect themselves. This mentality eventually led me to serve this great country of ours in the United States Navy which ended up being the second most important decision I had ever made (just below becoming a follower of Jesus Christ).

Psalm 82:3-4 says

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Its clear that our Father, Jesus, went out of His way to protect those who were the “weird kid” and the other outcasts of the time. We are called to be perfect like out Father in Heaven is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Can we be perfect? Not at all. Not in this side of Heaven. Therefore, we need the forgiveness from the Son (Jesus) and what He did for us on the cross. Listen to me, loved ones, we cannot do this on our own. The bible clearly says that no man is good; not one (Romans 3:10). When we walk around this society, be it in America, Australia or even Syria, we tend to identify ourselves as good because we point to another’s behavior and justify our actions as “not as bad” as said person. But it was told to me a long time ago that if we compare ourselves with the other boats in the water, we fail to see how far we have gone from the shore. I believe this is where we at in this world as I write this. We point at Muslim extremists or pedophiles and think that we are not them, so we are good. Listen, we are not. NO man is “Good”.

We look back at Nazi Germany and think about the Christians living in that land at the time and ask ourselves what they could have possibly been doing during the annihilation of the Jews and others who rebelled against the party of death. Where there mass protests or some kind of Righteous guerrilla warfare at the time? Surely, they made their voices known. Well, there voices became louder and louder, but it is not what you think.

Dr. Erwin Lutzer was a Christian at the time of the Holocaust, and he writes in his book about this very thing. Here is a passage from his book talking about what they did while they were in their Sunday service. I must warn you, this will make you sick to your stomach as you read what our fellow brother and sisters of Christ were doing.

“I lived in Germany during the Nazi Holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. We heard stories of what was happening to the Jews, but we tried to distance ourselves from it, because, what could anyone do to stop it? A railroad track ran behind our small church and each Sunday morning we could hear the whistle in the distance and then the wheels coming over the tracks.

“We became disturbed when we heard the cries coming from the train as it passed by. We realized that it was carrying Jews like cattle in the cars! Week after week the whistle would blow. We dreaded to hear the sound of those wheels because we knew that we could hear the cries of the Jews en route to a death camp. Their screams tormented us.

“We knew the time the train was coming and when we heard the whistle blow we began singing hymns. By the time the train came past our church we were singing at the top of our voices. If we heard the screams, we sang more loudly and soon we heard them no more. Years have passed and no one talks about it anymore. But I still hear that train whistle in my sleep. God forgive me; forgive all of us who called ourselves Christians yet did nothing to intervene.”

What a disgusting thing to read. Here are these human beings, our mission, screaming out in fear and pain. Dying of thirst and cold. Suffocating in the boxcars that were well past maximum capacity. What did the church members do when they heard the train whistle blow? They sang louder. I cant help but to think of God and what He thought about this. We are called to make a joyful noise, but when that noise is to drown out a clear and present evil, that joyful noise turns into an accomplice yell.

Once World War 2 ended and the smokestacks in the death camps were halted, 17 millon people were rubbed out of existence (6 million Jews and 11 million other “Undesireables”). 17 million. We can look back now and say that something on this level would never happen again. That was back then where people weren’t as educated as we are now, never mind that Germany was the most intelligent and prosperous people in the history of the world at that time. Still, it would not happen anymore. I wish that were true, but there’s a proverbial train whistle that blows outside of your church to this day, and yet, we sing louder just to drown out the screams.

If you are trying to wrap your head around who could possibly be screaming in todays boxcars, I will save you a few brain cells and go ahead and tell you who they are. These screams come from the unborn babies who are desperately trying, in vain, to find a rescuer.

Since 1973, there has been over 59,902,500 babies aborted (2019 statistics). Most of us have been alive for the better part of this Infanticide. We’ve sat in our pew at church, sipping our white mocha macchiatos and watching the praise band jump around with fog machines and strobe lights singing “I’ll give everything to you, Lord” and pay no attention to the mass death that’s happening just across the street. When the boxcar passes, we sing louder. All we seem to care about is our own life and not the lives of others. My hope for you after reading this article is that your stomach would develop a pit so deep and dark that you collapse to your face and beg The Lord for forgiveness. To justify abortion as a “woman’s right to choose” or trying to ignore that a child in the wound is just as alive as you and me, completely disregarding what The Lord says about unborn children in Jeremiah (1:5):

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…”

What are we doing?! How can a person claim to be a Follower of the MOST HIGH yet dismiss this issue as just that, an issue for politicians to debate about. This is about life and murder. It is said that the most dangerous place to be as a black baby is in his/her mother’s womb. How did we get here? Why are we even considering voting for a platform that not only accepts abortion but encourages and applauds it? It is CLEAR to me that the people who are ok with this infanticide and also claim to be Christians are anything but Christians. This is not a “woman’s right” issue or even a “For the woman’s health” issue. This is about taking what God has done and telling Him that He made a mistake. Listen, folks, God. Does. Not. Make. Mistakes!

It has taken me a long time to get to where I am spiritually. For YEARS, I have been on the spiritual diet of milk only recently moved on to spiritual food (1 Corinthians 3:2). I had to be chewed up and spit out by this world to the point of almost certain death before I could finally see the truth of this world. That truth was that what seems good or what is dressed up as good is evil. Many people who attend church regularly and sing the loudest during praise and worship time and also runs down the aisle for every “alter call” are the very ones who hear the train whistle yet does nothing about it.

Jesus gives us this warning during His 3-year ministry on the earth. He said clearly in Matthew 7:21:

"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

If this very verse does not scare you, you are not paying attention. This verse terrifies me! I am terrified that I might be singing louder when a train whistle blows. I fear that I am not doing enough when it comes to serving The Lord and standing up for good and hating what is evil.

Most resistance I get from the “Pro-Choice” people are the women who are kind and gracious people but have had one (one a few) abortions in their past. They try and bully me by calling me a “man” therefore not qualified to give an opinion or they try and split hairs when it comes to the title “Pro-Choice” and what that means to them. Make no mistake about it, “Pro-Choice” means “Pro-killing babies”.

Now that I ticked a few people off so far, let me say something that might help you understand a little bit. For those of you who went through the procedure and “terminated” your baby, I am so sorry. I hurt for you and the physical and emotional pain you have been through during that ordeal and maybe even to this day. I cannot possibly understand the emptiness you feel. I know that many of you who support abortion and have had one are, deep down, drowning in sorrow because of your actions. But our God is a merciful one. He meets you at your sin and picks you up. If we have repented and confessed our sin to Him, He will not just turn towards you, but He will RUN to you! He is merciful and just. Fortunately for us, God’s justice falls on Jesus Christ Himself. We all deserve to die and spend eternity in Hell, buy as John 3:16 says:

“God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son so that whoever believes in Him, will not parish but have everlasting life.”

The word is out. Jesus came to die once and for all. He was raised from the dead 3-days later and told us to be ready for His return. Time is running out and there is a whistle blowing in the distance. The question is not if the train is carrying victims, but what we are going to do about that train. If we just chose to sing louder, we are not God’s people, we are only accomplices in this dying world.

I am going to close with a quote from Abraham Kuyper that I believe is extremely relevant in this time:

“When principals that run against your deepest convictions begin to win the day, then battle is your calling, and peace has become sin; you must, at the price of dearest peace, lay your convictions bare before friend and enemy, with all the fire of your faith.”

The whistle is blowing. What is your move? I know what mine is and I hope we all will dwell in the house of The Lord forever.

Amen.

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