Saturday, 21 December 2013

Stopped in my tracks

This morning as I was having breakfast I did a normally-benign kind of thing: I was reading the paper.  Well, you know, in a very modern kind of way via my iPad.  There I found an article listed on the front page of 'The Age' app about an Aussie couple living in a Bangkok slum.  As it turns out I knew this couple in the early 90's when we both worked for the same organisation.

The article (video and link to article can be found here), written by Tim Elliot, is authentic and compassionate, and accurately represents the character and intention of Ash and Anji.  As a Christian living in a Western culture, though, I found the article challenging and confronting in the face of the overt consumerism especially so close to Christmas.  What inspired me, however, was that Ash and Anji are enabling people around them to use their gifts and skills to support themselves and rise above their otherwise dire circumstances.  They actively work to promote hope.

Whilst I am not rushing off to live in a slum, or in fact move anywhere, there is much one can do to contribute to building hopefulness and showing people a picture of who God is.  Yesterday my girls and I cooked to provide meals that our church's pastoral care team can give out to those who have need of them.  In the final weeks of the term our school collected festive non-perishable food items and donated them to a local church who puts together food hampers for those struggling at Christmas time.  We can choose not to be so concerned about material 'things' and the gathering of them....even when the world about us insists we need their product to have a better life.

I'm still pondering the 'Heart of the Slum' article...and my pondering leads me to ask lots of questions.  Does my faith drive me to live differently?  Is life in a 'first world' country really that much better?  Do we really need all our stuff?  How does what I do in my normal life give others an image of God?

Lots to think about.  Read the challenged and maybe transformed!

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