Friday, December 23, 2011

Advent Reflection #29: Big picture thinking

Before I start, rum really adds something to fruitcake.

I have become aware in this last year that the living of Christ's life is more than an inward, self-focused spiritual experience.  Without it becoming political, because politics is about government power, living the Christ life is about community and a larger impact in the world; and yet God is big enough to let those who are introverts, and more gifted at the small, serve that way.  Anna and Simeon were serving in quiet ways but not for their own sakes, and they saw the Jesus the Messiah was for everyone, not for themselves or their group alone.  The two intersect. 

I was just reading about the waste of money we spend in mission trips for kids and adults to do work that locals could be hired to do for much less and that would provide dignity and income.  There are the helpless, and then there are the poor who are not helpless and should not be so encouraged.  It makes the middle class feel good, that's all.  Another example is toy give aways for the poor.  How shaming that must be for parents that they can't provide toys for their children.  There are other answers, other ways, and it seems to me that toy giveaways for Christmas are more about those of us with money having a warm feeling about doing something and about assuaging their own guilt for spending so much on Christmas.

So, it might seem that I am contradicting myself and telling those of us with money to hold onto it.  No, I am saying that there are other ways to serve the poor than throwing money at them.   Stewardship is not about guilt or a short-term fix to rid ourselves of guilt. 

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