Sunday, July 5, 2009


I had an unexpected meeting with a new friend last week and he shared a quote with me that has been haunting me ever since. I figured I would share it with the few of you that take interest in my writings. :-)

The writer of the quote is Shane Claiborne and it is from his book, "Irresistible Revolution".

"I did a little survey probing Christians about their (mis)conceptions of Jesus. I learned a striking thing from the survey. I asked participants who claimed to be "strong followers of Jesus" whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80% said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question. I asked the same group of strong followers whether they spent time with the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what He did. We can applaud what He preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore His cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that rich Christians do not know the poor.

When the worlds of poverty and wealth collide, the resulting powerful fusion can change the world. But that collision rarely happens. I long for the Calcutta slums to meet the Chicago suburbs, for lepers to meet landowners and for each to see God's image in the other. It's no wonder that the footsteps of Jesus lead from tax collectors to lepers. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end."

How many poor people do I know? How many people do I associate myself with that are completely different than I am? How accepting am I of people that are different, whether they are poor, fat, skinny, pretty, ugly, gay, straight, black, white, purple, whatever…. Here is a question that I rarely ask myself… how accepting am I of people that are rich? Volunteering with an NGO, it is so easy to be critical of people that are “rich”. I easily pass judgment on them. How dare they live in their fancy houses with their flex fuel vehicles, their boats and jet skis, 2.5 kids? How dare they have their perfect little life and not give to those who are suffering all around them? Yet, if I compare my own standard of living to the other 94% of the globe, I am incredibly wealthy.

Riding the bus this week has been incredibly humbling. I can be SO judgmental! And the crazy thing is… it happens before I even know it. I am instantly sizing someone up and have decided whether or not I will give them the time of day, before I even know it. I am in a sense creating a caste system in my mind. I am deciding who my equal is, who is beneath me is and even who is better than me. Funny, there are not many who fall into the latter category.

I am reminded of the story of Jesus and the woman at the well (the adulterer/prostitute depending on your translation). There is a lot going on in this narrative and I won’t even pretend to try to interpret it all… I am just taking it at face value for the narrative that it is. The thing that stands out to me the most, besides the fact that Jesus was completely chill with the lady, is in verse 6, “…and Jesus tired as he was from the journey, sat down…” After I work a 13 hour shift and stand on the street corner for 15-20 minutes and then have to ride on a bus for 45 minutes… the last thing I want to do is listen to some idiot or meth-head go on and on with their drivel. And yet, this is what they need the most from me…. Just to listen… Just to accept them… Just to “love my neighbor as I love myself.” Why is this so frikin hard?

How does all of this apply to abolishing human slavery? I am not quite sure… other than that as my heart is changed to the world around me… I think I will become more passionate, more caring and more effective in caring for the survivors as they are freed!

If you are still reading… well congratulations! You made it to the end of my drivel and I appreciate the fact that you care enough about me to read through this whole thing. Feel free to comment on your thoughts or points of interest… I love to hear from others and join into conversations about our humanity!

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