It is so easy to pick on immigrants from a majority white congressional district. It is so easy to blame “the other” when you’ve never sat down with someone “in opposition” to you and had an actual conversation. These are the challenges… and too often we are not up to these challenges. (And social media makes it SO much easier to stay in opposition without getting to know someone else of a different status or opinion.) What we don’t know, or WHO we don’t know, we fear. Then, we create hyped up scenarios to then generate hyped up solutions.Read more
“Our busyness can blind us to other people or at least make us feel less guilty for turning the other way and walking past someone who needs help. When we create margin, we give ourselves the opportunity to notice and truly see people. The way we spend the margin we have affects the people being pushed to the margins themselves.” — Terence Lester, I See You
Sometimes, we want to be blind.
“Privilege has a way of blinding us to the realities faced by those society has made invisible, and in true incarnational fashion, Terence takes us with him on a journey to uncover the true experiences of our most vulnerable neighbors.” (Chad Wright-Pittman)Read more
We may have heard these generalizations about the poor, or held them ourselves. (Or, still hold them.)
— They are lazy and uneducated.
— They chose to be poor. They could pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get out of it if they really wanted.
— The poor are the government’s responsibility.
— It’s their own fault they are poor.
A couple of weeks ago the president raised the issue of immigration and where immigrants should come from in a meeting with Congressional leaders. What was just plain silly was the talk about his use of a particular word. It missed an entire conversation that needed to happen… but what am I thinking? We’re Americans! We’re good at avoiding tough conversations. Read more
Now people were bringing little children to him for him to touch, but the disciples scolded those who brought them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” After he took the children in his arms, he placed his hands on them and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16, NET Bible) Read more
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Cor. 8:9)
We spend a lot of time thanking the Lord for his gracious mercy. We are thankful he DID become poor for us.
And we spend so little time considering how we might actually imitate Christ in this way. Too often we are the Levite or the priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. We are thankful for God giving us so much grace… but then miss the opportunity to extend grace to those in need.
We need to imitate Christ rather than just give thanks WE have been lifted out of the pit. How do we make ourselves poor for the sake of others? How do we give out for the sake of others… regardless of their status… because Christ came to us and poured in his mercy regardless of OUR status.
We need THIS spirit working in our hearts: to give out in mercy. To live in mercy. To look to others with hearts that bless instead of curse. This is the way of our Master.
Just perusing headlines on a news site reveals the incredible polarization of our world and wealth.
One headline said this: “Couple in China ‘sell’ their daughter for an iPhone.”
A couple of headlines down was this: “HSBC unit ordered to pay about $2.46B in lawsuit.”
The vast differences between “worlds” pricks my heart and causes me to pray a bit more when I think of the incredible discrepancies in our world. We have so much ability to tackle so many tremendous issues… but so little desire.
Our church youth and adults participated in something incredible last night. Feed My Starving Children is an organization that packages food to send to the neediest places on earth. They get the food to organizations on the ground and let those organizations distribute meals to kids who get no other chance to eat something nutritious.
In the Twin Cities, this is a huge organization that gets hundreds of volunteers every day to come in and package the food. Last night, 25 of our church combined with several other groups to make a 1.5 hour shift of 114 volunteers. Each bag of food we prepped would provide 6 meals on average. Our shift packed 115 boxes. Each box contained 36 bags. If that were rationed out in the way Feed My Starving Children would prescribe, we fed 67 kids for a year with 1.5 hours of work.
Everyone who was involved last night was deeply touched by the need of the world. The statistics are overwhelming. The developed world produces enough food every year to properly feed the world. Every man, woman, and child on the planet could have enough food to take in enough energy to survive for a day. But in a world that produces that much food and has that much capability, hunger is on the rise, not decline.
We were part of something incredible that touches the heart last night. It was an amazing privilege.