Download The Christian Winter/Spring 2015
WEEK OF COMPASSION
In her arid region of Kenya, Matee Kakoo and women in her community had to walk over six miles in order to collect water, wait in line for four to five hours to draw the water and then start the journey home. Their chil-dren could not attend school. Often, families went hungry as there was no water for cooking, watering the crops….the most vulnerable suffered the most.
Together, Week of Compassion’s partner DWS and the people of Mbangulo built a sand dam and shallow well. The community worked hard to collect local materials. And, they banded together and built the sand dam within a month. One month and their lives were changed forever.
Children are now attending school regularly and do not even have to carry water with them to school. They are drinking safe, clean water from the well dug by their classes. There is now water for vegetables and fruit trees. Families’ nutrition is improving and the younger children are thriving. This is truly your compassion put into Action.
REGIONAL MINISTER’S MOMENT
All Lives Matter
When I was growing up, I learned to love football. It was the family pastime. I had four older broth-ers, and a father who would wake us up for church with “Rise and Shine,” and make sure we made it home for a beef roast dinner, prepared by our mother, and the Lions game. It wasn’t just the De-troit Lions; we also followed the Friday night High School RP Rocket football team, and the Saturday Michigan games. There was a lot of yell-ing at the TV screen in my house. I was among the loudest. (I have been in recovery for a long time.)
Among the important lessons learned from foot-ball and my father—it’s important to support your team, but when they lose (which they often did) you give your support to the team that beat them. So, if the Ohio State Buckeyes, nemesis on the last Saturday in November, beat our beloved team we supported them as they entered the Rose Bowl to play the Pac 10 Champions. We were taught to admire good effort and outstanding play no matter who the winner was. It would have been easy to fall into hating those other guys (trust me, it would have). Instead my father taught us to cele-brate the well-played game no matter the uniform. It was about raising the level of play and most im-portant—sportsmanship.
It seems old fashioned these days. There are too many people who want to vanquish the opponent, hurt and humiliate the other, or are unwilling to see the value in differences, who target the uni-form. This failure to recognize the “God-image” in each other, to simply be good sports, to seek the well-being of our neighbor tears at the com-mon good we need to live the abundant life Christ offers us.
“Black Lives Matter” is a cry in the midst of this common un-good season. It comes from a daily experience of embodied hatred, fear, mistrust, and unwillingness to recognize the good in the other. It comes from a competitive worldview in which there is only room for a few at the top. It comes from either or thinking that posits that there can only be one right way; my way or my groups way. It comes from seeking after privi-lege for ourselves at the expense of others. It comes from a history and system of favoring some and dishonoring others—for no good rea-son. When you favor and favor and favor one group, while un-favoring, un-favoring and un-favoring the other groups, even assuming a level playing field at the start, the outcome is going to be a gap that is unbearable. We are living in that gap time today. (Read Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow.”)
As old-fashioned as it is, what if we started to see each other as part of a well-played game where the intention is to do our best while also seeking to be our best? What if we celebrated the best effort in one another? What if we began to see that the outcome of the game depends on each other as partners, not just those on our team, but those who play against us? What if we learned to see the God-image in each other, and sought to be good sports? What if we remem-bered the game ends, and what matters most to the Host of the awards ceremony and banquet feast is the way we played the game? What mat-ters most to our Host—justice, mercy, faithful-ness and righteousness—working together as a team for the outcome of peace.