Forgotten Voices' Mission:

"Demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ by equipping local churches in southern Africa to meet the physical & spiritual needs of children orphaned by AIDS in their communities."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

10/23: Injustices eh? -- So?

One of my childhood heroes Martin Luther King, Jr. once penned: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere". It became a staple part of his speeches and the embodiment of his life's legacy, some historians say.

Today, as I listened to Al Gore talk about Climate Change, Global Warming, etc at Harvard University's Sustainability Project launch, I was impressed at how VP Gore used MLK's message of injustice to call people to action.

This idea of injustice anywhere being a threat to justice everywhere is SOOOOO true. It is a motto worth living around. Over and over, Christ calls us to task for NOT looking out for widows and orphans and the Bible tells us that we risk not fulfilling "true religion" in James 1. Or when Jesus shows us how to stand up for prostitutes when the world is ready to stone them in John 8. And on and on. There are so many.

It got me thinking. Why is it that we hear things in our world that are so outrageously unjust that we somehow come to the conclusion we can just go about our day as if nothing is happening? How do we arrive at such conclusions? On what grounds do we press on with our lives, ignoring the great injustices in our world? Or perhaps worse still, draw other people to the injustice with calls to action, but then take no action ourselves?

When I see a homeless man cursed out by a passerby, or a woman get shoved out of the way by a drunk man on a bus, or a fellow student gossiped about by another student with malice ringing from their mouth... I'm sad. When I see a child dying from starvation in Zimbabwe or talk to a leader in Zambia and hear them say that a woman is being forced to have sex against her will to fulfill some backwards tribal custom endorsed by no other leader in the community...but no one will stand up and be a champion for the woman....Or an "orphan" belittled by her peers because AIDS took the lives of her parents... Or a businessman in the USA scoffing at the idea that it is a great honor to give money away to help those in need... I fear we are forgetting what life is about...and remembering too much what life is NOT about.

Just this month, I saw a report about a person that was randomly beaten severely by a stranger on a subway train in Philadelphia, then dragged out on to the platform and beaten some more. No one did anything on the train or on the platform. They just got out of the way. No one did a thing.

I'm hearing lots of stories like that lately... in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and in the USA. What's up with that?

Recently, I had the good fortune of talking with some college students. While I LOVE the passion students have for pointing out all the things "you adults" are doing to "screw up our world for us to clean up later", we are ALL to blame (including me - one of those adults - and even you students and kiddos out there). We are all capable to make things right in our own small way.

But I cannot help thinking that we still are WAY too complacent. Tomorrow, I will make a call to Zimbabwe to talk with a pastor to talk through a decision I hate having to make...who should go without food this month because there isn't enough money to feed all the people caring for orphans in one particular community?

As a leader of a non-profit, I fail everyday to remember that my life doesn't belong to me, but our God. My life, my beliefs, my passions, my desires, my time, my money, all of it... it all belongs to God. Not for my desires, but for His. Not for my wishes, but for His. Not for my glory, but for His.

As I think about the legacy of my childhood hero, MLK Jr., and his call for us all to look out for the injustices anywhere and to take ACTION... I think of Jesus and I think of us. How did He respond to the injustices around His world? How are we doing? How can we get better?

Tough questions. But no one promised us easy... But I am tired of complacency and letting ourselves off the hook. You?

I see heroes in some of you. But many of us are quietly sitting on the sidelines and letting injustice happen in Zimbabwe, Zambia, our work places, churches, communities, families, etc. And I'm wondering why.

Big questions that require big answers. Ready to start trying? I am. Join me. In?


Anonymous said...

Thanks for naming it. We are all too darn comfortable, complacent and complicit in our "grace" as Christians. The way I read God's word (and I do beleive the Bible is God's word) we are clearly not saved by works but we sure as hell (quite literally) should be motivated by God's love, goodness and forgiveness to likewise engage in tangible kindness, love and forgiveness, especially to the "least of these". Thanks for what you are doing and thanks for the challenging words.
God bless,

Amy Zheng said...

What a delight it is to stumble upon your blog Ryan. Been meaning to talk to you about your journey with Forgotten Voices and how I can pray for you and the organization.

It's truly wonderful to know that God has placed so many of His extraordinary children at this School.

Hope we'll chat soon.

God Bless.