Friday, January 29, 2010

Relational Time

Racing down the motor way (faithfully keeping my speed at 100 km, the legacy of my mother who taught me that at 101 km God left the car, thanks mum), I changed lanes frequently, ducking and diving only to arrive at the same red light at the same time as the cars I had passed.... A familiar thought entered my headspace.... what's the hurry? why the rush?

I sit on a committee (the evidence of hell on earth) that sponsors a campaign to "End Poverty Now" and at donning the hip new bracelet (every campaign needs a bracelet, a catchy slogan and celebrity endorsement), I had that same strange thought... what's the hurry? why the rush? I can think of many good reasons why to hurry up and end poverty... the 24 000 kids who die everyday from poverty-fueled and preventable diseases... or what of the 800 million people who go to bed hungry every night... there's some good reasons why... And then I entertained the thought a little longer, what if poverty only continues to exist because we're continually looking for a fast fix? The quick solution?... A done deal by tea time?... what if we were to take the time needed to really close the gap, to form real relationships with the poor?... There is no doubt that it would take longer, but wouldn't the time spent in reciprocal relationships mean a more dignified and sustainable lessening of poverty?... And wouldn't that lead to a change in us?... The change we desperately need, that I definitely need, the deep change that is missed when we're hurrying and rushing...

Stanley Hauerwas has this to say on time (it is deceptively deep):
"We have all the time we need to do what needs to be done... The alleged democracies in which we live run on speed, necessitating technologies designed to help us become the sort of people who do not need anyone. It seems to me that democracies want to produce people who do not need to rely on trusting one another" (Living Gently in a Violent World).

The eradication of poverty will only happen when we become trustworthy... when we can be depended on and trusted to deliver on our grand promises... when we take the time to consistently and faithfully be there for and with others.... when we honestly embrace the poverty of our relationships.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Standing for and with

The alternative we've inherited from Scripture and from the early days of The Salvation Army compel our movement and our faith to be framed by what we stand for and, dare I say it, more importantly, who we stand with. What could this mean for where you're at? What could this mean for the people who you share a neighborhood with? What does it really mean to be in solidarity with the poor? Is that still how we think of ourselves? Is that what people actually see in us?

Share your story...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The NEXT 365

A couple of disquieting and hopeful little thoughts that I'm going to carry with me wherever I go in 2010:

"When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed" (Mother Teresa).

Isn't that the real plight of Haiti...?

“Contemporary Christians have an enormous opportunity to use politics to shape a better world. A few basic facts underline this truth. More than a third of the world’s people claim to be Christians. That one-third of the global population controls two-thirds of the world’s wealth. If even a quarter of the world’s Christians truly followed biblical norms in their politics, we would fundamentally change history” (Ronald J. Snider, 2008, The Scandal of Evangelical Politics).

Isn't that our real struggle? How will you frame the next 12 months? What thoughts will you make your companion story this year?