I came across this post today on Facebook: If only 7% of the 2 billion Christians each cared for one orphan, the orphan crisis would be ended.
I read this in my Environment, Development, & Sustainability book discussing global inequality: “In principle, incomes can be provided for these marginalized communities through the redistribution of the fruits of increased growth and productivity, but realpolitik stands in the way–the rich will not pay the taxes required to fund this redistribution, and they are increasingly able to avoid the taxes in a world of liberalized financial flows.”
I think its safe to say that those reading this blog are in the rich category, including myself. This challenged me: how much do I think of short-term tax refunds as opposed to viewing my contribution as a part of redistribution? I won’t argue that the government is redistributing well, nor will I argue that as the body of Christ we don’t have our own responsibilities to redistribution on behalf of the Church. But am I avoiding both? What excuses are we–collectively–making to avoid this redistribution? To avoid our role in the orphan crisis?
What role–collectively–can we play in the solutions?
The same book later questioned, “How might these issues be attended to and by whom? Is it just ‘them’ out there or is it also you/me/us? Or should we just resort to fatalism, nurturing a general sense of apathy and blame?”
Surely, if anyone, the church shouldn’t be a part of the apathy or the blame, but a part of the you/me/us that is participating and attending to the issues.
It is so easy to feel that something miniscule–my small taxes, my inconsequential donation, my life–won’t make a difference in the whole. But if so many of us–us, myself included–hadn’t been neglecting our small role, perhaps the whole problem wouldn’t be so big.
This quote of Vandana Shiva concluded the chapter, “The big transformations always seem to move in the direction of destruction. But if you look at the small actions, the hundreds of people saying ‘I will speak against human rights violations, I will be a part of the voice’…that’s where change is happening, and that change will continue to grow.”
We have also been listening to The Verses Project as of late, and this verse has been following me:
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
Romans 15:1-2, ESV
In what ways am I avoiding this obligation, and in what ways are we collectively avoiding such an obligation? In what ways are we seeking after our own pleasures, to the point that collectively we are even creating weaknesses in widening the gaps of inequality or taking advantage of the supply & demand cycles?
I’m very aware of the collective today, and the potential power of the Church choosing to be the you/me/us that participates and builds up and brings hope. And ultimately, the often untapped power of playing my role as an individual no matter what standard is set around me or how small the impact may seem.