Saturday, May 06, 2017

For the love of God and humanity

People that live off of the support (donations) of kind and generous donors, really cannot (should not ??) say what they think about politics or hot button issues.  

With or without knowing it, they are constantly at risk of losing the support that feeds and educates their children and allows them to be working and loving/serving abroad.  

Truthfully, if someone disagrees with our position on birth control or baptism or health care or immigration, it is not uncommon to lose support. That's a weird reality to live in.  

It's almost as if you have to choose whether you stay out of the fray in order to keep a low profile and keep your support coming, (which is just kind of dirty) OR,  risk offending any number of people that might love your work in Haiti but decide they don't at all like you and your politics or opinions and might therefore stop supporting the work. (also kind of dirty - right?) 

Haiti has changed us. We are not the same people that left Zimmerman, MN in late 2005. Poverty and daily face to face interaction with it MUST change you --- or you are doing it wrong.  

We know that we've lost the right to say anything about what is happening in the USA after 11 years in Haiti, but even so, we grieve and feel concerned.   

Thad is a good friend of ours that said it well, we share his words below...

Thad Norvell

I've never advocated for the ACA, which I find deeply flawed, so: not the point. And I'm a pastor, not a politician, so I can't and won't argue policy details. Not my territory. But this is: I am eager to hear the plan Christian lawmakers and their advocates have for leading the way in personally caring for people who (literally) become "the least of these" as a result of new legislation. I don't presume it's the government's job to care for everyone in need; I do presume Jesus meant it when he said the people who love and serve him are the ones who love and serve those in need. 
As always, I'm less concerned with how a Christian votes than I am with whether or not the obvious priority of any Christian is love of God and love of neighbor over self (including self's money). So I don't identify political conservatism as a sin. I am, in fact, still pretty conservative on a number of fronts. But I am deeply troubled by self-described Christians of any party prioritizing partisan agendas and victories without demonstrating a conspicuous concern for and personal commitment to caring for those made more vulnerable by those agendas and victories. So are lots of people looking on, forming opinions about what actually matters to Christians. Counterfeit gospels aren't only created by familiar heresies or by prosperity preachers. They are spun by anyone claiming Jesus whose loyalty to another cause or message eclipses or contradicts the cross-shaped proclamation of good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners and oppressed, recovery of sight for the blind, and favor from God and his people.
I'm not accusing every conservative or Republican of this error, of course. And liberals are just as capable of it. And both labels are mostly meaningless and useless to me these days. But I do think it's hard to locate much identifiable sincere interest in outcomes for the least among those hell-bent on "anything but Obama's plan" at the moment; and so it has been for much of the last several months. And it shouldn't be so hard. Frankly, it shouldn't be hard at all to hear that from Christians, even as they pursue more fiscally conservative policies. What should be hard to locate among professing Christians is apparent indifference to those who inevitably suffer as a result of even the most well-intentioned of our political efforts.
I can't summon an adequate vocabulary of ambivalence to express just how disinterested I am in whether Christians are politically liberal or conservative. I don't care whether we get more of us voting Democrat or Republican. I'm not looking for ACA to defeat AHCA or vice versa. But for the love of God and humanity, the love of God and humanity has to assume its rightful place as our greatest commandment - and therefore our unmistakable greatest articulated and lived commitment, no matter our choice of policies - or the world will have to find Jesus somewhere other than among so many people calling themselves Christians. Cue the singing rocks.