Monday, August 23, 2010

Fund Raising

I wanted to let people know where I was regarding fundraising. It appears that I have raised $2750 of $5200. This presents a problem for me as I will be responsible for the difference when I return if it has not been raised by then. So here is how you can help... PLEASE SEND SUPPORT TO:
Word Made Flesh
P.O. Box 70
Omaha, NE 68101
Please don´t write my name on the check but on a note attatched to the check. Thanks!

check out the web site, see what we´re doing. Read my stories. Sorry that none are up yet. I´m still getting my barings, not much free time.

email me with specific questions, I respond to those more quickly.

Much Love, stories to come!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Word Made Flesh Bible reflection

This is the last of my pre-departure reading responses. That means that at least one thing is now complete for take-off. I still have to change my address on accounts and services because when I return from Rio I will not be staying in the Chicago area. That means that I am working on two moves at once. Fun! Thanks for reading.

The Bible and what God has to say about the poor

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me, declares the Lord” Amos 4:6.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” Matthew 25:34-40.

Recently I had a conversation with my spiritual mentor, a professor at Lubbock Christian University. He is redesigning his intro to missions class and planning a new Old Testament class. We discussed some of the changes he would be making to these standard courses it is was words from God, exactly what I needed to hear as I was preparing to write this reflection and put thought into action in Rio.

We discussed the grand narrative (creation through redemption) and our purpose at this point in the story. Generally our theology has been shaped by concepts of heaven and hell, physical and spiritual, and the separation of these things. I highly suspect this was not the paradigm that Moses, Abraham, Jonah, Jesus, or even Paul operated from. Through my reading, reflection, and conversations I am learning to see God as a Creator of creators redeeming His creation through us. This means that I have a role in the redemption of this world. My role has been demonstrated through the life of Christ.

Christ lived to redeem (make perfect) this world. He healed the sick, threw parties for the poor, fed the hungry, hand-selected people to love, develop, and value. That is my example and I am trying to mimic the life Christ demonstrated. That means in Brazil through prayer I will seek to have eyes open and heart softened to see the people that I can be like Jesus toward. I am not the savior and I don’t want to be misunderstood but I do believe that it is the believers’ role to redeem God’s creation until heaven is fulfilled.

The Good News About Injustice

Good News About Injustice: A Witness of Courage in a Hurting World
Gary A. Haugen

Gary is the International Justice Mission founder. He thinks like a lawyer and has seen terrible brokenness all over the world from the Rwandan Massacre to thirteen year olds in brothels to child bonded labor in Indian mudalali cigarette factories to many other situations of terrible oppression. His writing is orderly and logical (he is a lawyer after all) and the book serves to remind the body of Christ that we all play a role in fighting global injustices. The book includes the anatomy of injustice and what you can do to combat it.

“Overtime I have come to see questions about suffering in the world not so much as questions of God's character but as questions about the obedience and faith of God's people" (pg. 100).

Haugen’s book is intentionally encouraging. He recognizes frequently the overwhelming power of suffering to freeze and numb people while reminding his readers that God goes before us, he is the firm ground beneath us even as we venture into chaotic and dangerous territory. If we are to be God’s hands and feet, we must go to the people Christ healed and comforted.

"Why O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? God may be asking similar questions—not of himself but of his people: 'And the LORD looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene.' 'Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' (Isaiah 6:8; 59:15-16)" (pg. 140-141).

Haugen reminds his readers that the first step in bringing justice is to remember the suffering people. So many of us live in comfortable, controlled places that disconnect us from real suffering in the world. We could read in a newspaper about a terrible war crime or assault but neglect to remember the victim as uniquely created in God’s own image until we step out of our comfortable world into the world of suffering armed with the lovingly powerful heart of God.

I had forgotten how powerfully inspiring and convicting this book is, having not read it in nearly three years. I realize that in my own life, even knowing people that have personally experienced tremendous oppression I may remember them fondly for the friendship created but still I neglect to remember daily and petition for justice to reign for these dear friends. How quickly we forget even the most profound spiritual lessons when we live comfortable lives of detachment from unjust suffering.