Give generously and sacrificially to help Haiti at this time as you enjoy this song by Josh Woodward titled “Motionless Land” (Click this link to see song video) .
It is no more news that over 200,000 of the world’s poorest are dead. The aftermath of suffering, questions and anguish is still fully emerging even as many generously offer practical help and ask …why?
Ecclesiastes 7:12 …. and money is a defence…Proverbs 14 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
I do expect many songs and blogs of encouragement on the Haitian Crisis even as Pope Benedict XVI, we read this week, has a new commandment for priests needing to get their message across to “Go forth and blog”
Also, listening to an insightful podcast BBC (Radio Wales)- All things considered on Haiti sets you thinking even more. Indeed an unfair proportion of disasters has hit the poorest nation in the western hemisphere – 4 earthquakes in the last 2 years, a landslide, a collapsed school, political turmoil, loss of life at an extraordinary scale and now this.
Could it also be the defenceless poorest are the most spiritually vulnerable as we also learn that religion in Haiti has long been a fluid mix of Catholic and Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions and animism, which for centuries have made the island country a battleground for Western missionaries? But we do seem to have at least evidence that the poor seem somewhat unusually vulnerable even to natural forces.
Poverty has dimensions that the comfortable may not be familiar with. The poor can be desperate and more akin to spiritual experimentation – easier victims for even minimally funded offerings. The poor are numbed to being targeted for hatred as years of repeated mental and physical abuse distort realities and crush esteem. Richer nations often cannot understand their plight and will tend sometimes in very bad taste to glamorize the quaintness in poverty in films like “Slum Dog millionaire”. Indeed many sell physical belongings and come to poor nations to help as missionaries offering hope and help – but some come with a rich and advantaged mindset. I have heard portrayals of links between poverty and the virtue of humility. Perhaps it is more true to say that the poor are not necessarily humble – they are often just plainly hungry, weak, abused, exposed and desperately in need often tending to criminality. The poverty of the worlds poorest extends beyond lack of material possessions to mental distortion from decades of abuse and low esteem, poor education and confusion worsened by spiritual bondage. The real disaster of poverty is down played to ease the conscience of the advantaged who sip cocktails in terraced parlours as they send generous aid quickly to nations buckling under crippling debt, political confusion and an ensuing darkness…as soon as media prick their hearts to do so…indeed, they buy peace and comfort of mind with their giving.
The suffering poor are quick to say there is nothing good about poverty and cry for more food, education, freedoms and liberating truths and will often ponder over the missionary who has never faced nor desires to face their devils but instead offers a blend of faith that seems at peace with their unseen warlords. They know as they politely receive food, medicines, hope and money from all that will bring them – but still secretly appeasing their deities – that only a bolder power confrontation will unseat the hierarchy of unseen principalities. They wait for food but also for a spirit-filled Paul to confront their peculiar “Diana of the Ephesians” (Acts 19)
But crisis can have its benefits…which will emerge someday.
- It teaches lessons on “Faith in adversity” that only victims can demonstrate. The grieving need to hear the truth that God does not forsake us in affliction. Only those who have suffered and have been comforted are credible comforters.
- Crisis can dislocate the debris of the past and allow a better future – creating the opportunity for a new beginning.
- There is a “glow” under the ashes someone said that only the burnt can offer to a world with a distorted mindset unable to deal with some realities of life.
As the recession gradually recedes and a new lifestyle of moderation becomes the fad, perhaps the excess (instead of financing abortions in the west or another credit card spree) can be funnelled to cancel all the debts of the poorest nations like Haiti and offer sustained and more direct support for education, infrastructure reconstruction, basic healthcare and food supplies for the impoverished…even as corruption and other ills are tackled. All nations should make firm commitments to poverty eradication – recognising that poverty is evil. Stronger nations should help the weak.
Jesus Christ referred to the religious Pharisees (seen as the models of generosity, truth and integrity in His time) as a generation of vipers and when the people asked what they should do differently… Jesus did not say “give what you can” nor does He say” help the poor”… He answered quite plainly …
Luke 3 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
I suspect if all believers obeyed this very simple and plain teaching and give all that they should (not just to other Christians) … there will be far more progress. Christ knows about the corruption and the challenges…but still concludes that true Christianity bridges the gap between the rich and poor and doesn’t extend it and even does more than just reducing the chasm.
More spiritual warriors and perhaps less commentators are also needed to dislodge the grip of darkness that enslaves the poor…even as a new opportunity for enlightenment presents itself for the right response.
God bless you…as we pray for more grace to let Jesus reign in our hearts in 2010.