Saturday, October 20, 2007

Garbage


In America, we like to keep our garbage, in every sense of the word, undercover and hidden. Think about it: we put our garbage in plastic bags, which are promptly tied up and thrown into big plastic bins, where someone hides it in a big truck before bringing it to some garbage dump, who knows where - I've never actually ran across one . . . Naturally we hide our garbage - think about what it would look like if we all just threw our garbage out our front door, or left it on the street corner, but no one picked it up . . . I imagine if this was the case, America might end up looking a lot like Vietnam, Bangkok or China.

In these cities and countries, old buildings are not pressure washed, re-painted, renovated, or torn down and rebuilt. Instead they stand, disintegrating and covered in garbage and grime, like scabs on the landscape. Every roomtop, even on many of the abandoned buildings, houses breathtakingly beautiful altars covered in gold, glittering beautifully in the sunlight. The juxtaposition of their brilliant colors and the perpetual brown and black of the rest of the building reminds me of a colorful bandage covering an ugly scab. It might take your mind off it, but it certainly wont fix the problem. . .

Here, garbage lines the streets, fills backyards and spills from garages. And neither are the poor hidden. Shanty towns are crammed into open spaces, pushed up against crumbling relics of buildings. Their haphazard construction of tin, cardboard and taps, combined with hole-riddled walls and ceilings makes it obvious that the people living inside dont have much to call their own. In America, we house our poor in antiseptic and innocuous looking "projects" where they can live for nearly free as long as they make no money (leading to illegal activity but that's another story for another day). . . now I'm not saying this is a bad thing - it's actually a very good thing because it offers many of the poorest people in our country four walls and a roof, which is a luxury not afforded to many of the impoverished in other countries. The problem is that it allows us as Americans "off the hook" so to speak - out of sight, out of mind. We dont see the poor, and when we do - all we see is the well maintained gates and exteriors of some of the projects -- making it easy for us to pass by without a second thought to the physical and emotional needs of those living inside.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Dreaming . . .

So I'm getting ready to leave for China -- I actually should be packing right now -- and I can't stop thinking about a conversation I had with pastor Paul over lunch. Adam and I have been feeling quite sure we're called to some sort of ministry in the city .. . I'm just not exactly sure what that means for me (he knows he wants to teach - lucky him) Pastor Paul told me two things that I want to spend time thinking and praying about while I'm on my two week jaunt across the far east . . .
1- If it's a dream I can accomplish with my own strength, then it's not a "God dream" - In other words, I need to dream SO big that I'll fail without God . . .
2- Maybe I dont know exactly what I "want to do with my life" but I do know some things I would like to do (as far as serving downtown) - so what's stopping me?

So as I'm packing up and realizing that I'm about to spend 24 hours on a plane (fun stuff) I want to spend some of that time in prayer and seeking the Lord's dreams, and figuring out what He wants me to start doing NOW to serve Him in the mission field He's leading us to . . .

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