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My Journey to Justice

This journey of mine began in January when our pastor began a six week series of messages based on the book The Hole in the Gospel by Richard Stearns, CEO of World Vision.  The subtitle of this book is What Does God Expect of Us?   God answers that question in Micah 6:8:

He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

 

As I heard the stories and statistics of the poverty and disease that are so common around the world, I felt uncomfortable.  I’m a sensitive sort, and I don’t really like to hear about the seedy side of life.

This book and our pastor’s sermons forced me to see the extent of the suffering that is “out there” and both the book and the sermons challenged me.  As I thought of what I could do, I began to feel overwhelmed as if nothing I could contribute would make a difference.

When billions of people are starving and dying for want of a cup of clean water, what is $10 or $100 or even $1000 going to do to fill their stomachs or quench their thirst?  The inclination to throw up my hands and do nothing, to put the pictures of those brown faces and scrawny limbs and bloated bellies out of my mind was tempting, and would have been easier to do than I care to admit. But that’s not what I really wanted to do.  I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know what I could do that would make a difference.

This quote by Bob Pierce became my motto:

 “Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything.”

When I feel overwhelmed with the vastness of the needs and with the complexities of the problems, I remind myself that justice and mercy and humility are personal. This journey to justice is about who I am.  Do I care more about myself than others?  Am I willing to sacrifice in order to see justice and mercy fall on those who are hurting?

This past weekend, I attended a women’s conference at a church in Ohio with my friend and her two daughters.  I enjoyed a fun time with friends, meaningful worship, challenging messages, and one very enlightening workshop about Radical Justice Everyday. 

I’m excited to share what I learned with all of you and with people around me.  I’m planning to begin by teaching the ladies in my Adult Bible Fellowship class about Fair Trade from a Biblical perspective.   Fair Trade is about so much more than coffee!  Fair Trade is about using our purchasing power to break the chains of slavery and exploitation.

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No Water! A Not-So-Uncommon Problem

Imagine my horror when I got out of bed this morning (which will be yesterday by the time you read this) to hear Grandpa say, “No coffee this morning.”  No coffee???

What’s worse than having no coffee?

Having no water.  That’s worse than having no coffee!Our water pump was dead.

Grandpa called our plumber while I poured drinking water from the fridge into a saucepan for tea.  I would have to put off my shower until later, brush my teeth with icy cold water,  and wash my hands with hand sanitizer.  Oh, the inconvenience of being without our usual comforts!

 “Nearly one billion people lack a source of clean, safe drinking water.”

My pastor is in the midst of a series of sermons based on this book, The Hole in the Gospel, about our responsibilities as Christians to do what we can do to meet the needs of the suffering ones around us and around the world.  Our pastor is a great guy and a great preacher, but these sermons and the accompanying videos are a little hard to hear and see.

I don’t like to see people who are suffering or in pain.  I most certainly don’t like to see children who are dying because of starvation and disease.  And it’s not easy to deal with the idea that I am responsible to do whatever I can to alleviate their suffering and pain.  Turning away from the plights of others doesn’t erase their pain or their suffering or relieve me of my responsibility.  It just makes it easier for me to pretend that everyone enjoys the same blessings that I do.

As I was reading my Bible and praying this morning, and waiting for our plumber to arrive, I was thinking of the billions of people around the world who have no clean water ….. EVER.  Not just until the plumber arrives, but they never, ever have a drink of clean water.  How can this be?  What must it be like to live without clean water?

The bigger question is … what can I do about this?

It’s easy for me to bury my head and say, “Nothing!” in response to that question.  But the fact is, I can do something.  Other people … other individual PERSONS like me have done something.  They have gone to these places where there is no clean water.  They have set plans in motion to change these situations. They have given time and money.

They have loosened their grip on all that I hold so tightly, and they have made a difference.

I did some online research and found several charitable organizations (some Christian, some not) which are actively meeting the need for clean drinking water.

Samaritan’s Purse is one of my favorite charitable organizations because of the good works they do in the name of Jesus.

Here’s a link to their website and their plan to “Turn on the Tap Water” for those who have none. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Water

Here’s another Christian organization that is all about the water.  http://thewaterproject.org/

Our plumber just arrived …

Soon we will be taking showers, drinking clean well water, flushing our toilets, making coffee.  Business as usual at Grandma’s house.  Would that this were so for everyone.

What will we do to help?

You have this grandma’s word that we will do something.  If we can pay the plumber to fix our pump, then we can share what we have with those who don’t even need a pump because they have no water.

 

Please …  leave a comment and tell me what causes stir you to action.