Thursday, September 25, 2008

Imagine All God's Children

We have read all the statistics. But can we relate?

We know we have poverty here in the US. We see the people standing on the street corners with their little signs stating they are homeless and will work for food. But do we believe them?

If we have children in school, at the beginning of each new semester we have to fill out a form saying that yes, our children qualify for the “reduced” or free lunch or we say no, we can afford to pay for their meals. But do we realize as we sign no how many little children in our own school districts, maybe sitting in the desk right next to our own, go to bed hungry at night?

We read about the hundreds of thousands of US citizens who do not have insurance. But do we really understand that they don’t have insurance because they must choose between insurance and food? Or housing? Or a car? Do we realize that the person without insurance maybe as close as the very words that we are reading? …such as me?

And what about foreclosures? Great deals if one can get them. But do we stop to think that a little child may have had sweet dreams or nightmares in that bedroom? That familes may have grown up in that home? Or that a couple may have grown old in that home? It is not just a "good deal"...Life happened there. Somebody cried there. Somebody laughed there. Somebody loved there.

Schools in the US are falling far behind when compared to schools in many other countries. Our children have their backpacks checked each day prior to walking through the metal detectors as they head to their classes. The classes are overcrowded with children, each one with a special need whether it is detected or not. Kids are offered drugs on the playground. The teachers are underpaid and overworked. Too often, not only are they disrespected but their physical well beings are threatened. Our schools are war zones. And we worry about whether or not some little white kid in the ‘burbs can pray out loud or whether or not he can wear a t-shirt with offensive language comparing Obama to terrorists.

These are instances of poverty that exist within our daily lives yet we ignore or justify these signs.

Can we pull ourselves out of our self absorbed nature and realize that life as we do not know it is happening all around us? If we cannot imagine a life in poverty as it sits or stands right beside us, how can we wrap our minds around the magnitude of extreme poverty that exists in the world outside of our national boundaries?

30,000 children in this world die every day from preventable and treatable diseases caused by extreme poverty. What is extreme poverty? Poverty that is so insidious that it kills. It is poverty that is preventable and for the most part, here in the US we have done that. It is the poverty that is so insipid that it kills the young and the old because people starve to death or die of malaria or measles or from many of the diseases that the western world has basically stopped from happening through vaccines and clean water. We can stop these deaths from happening in under-developed worlds just as we did in our own neighborhoods.

We seem so fond of lining up statistics so that we can relate to the actual number. Surely it does not take a mile marker or a football field to imagine 30,000 dead children each day, 365.2422 days of the year.

More than 100 million children world-wide don’t even go to school, bad schools or otherwise. Of all those children that do not ever get to attend school, most of them are female. The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth does not allow women to be priests; far too many places in under-developed parts of our world don’t allow women to do anything but care for their husband and families.

There are 8 Millennium Development Goals in all. Go to to read them all and to find resources that will help inform.

Let us just think about these three goals – extreme poverty (which will help on all the other goals), primary education for all children, gender equality and empowerment of women. These are the three key goals. If these three are achieved, all the others will fall into a solvable category.

So today, let us try to wrap our minds and our hearts around these three goals. Let us open ourselves up – our eyes, our minds, our hearts – to all those in our own viewable world who live on the streets, whose children go to bed hungry, who work without benefits or in extremely underpaid jobs, to our school systems which under educate our children. Then let us go even further, with God’s help, to imagine our national problems multiplied. We do not even have to multiply it by a very big number.

We must be able to empathize. Sympathy is a Hallmark card. We have to feel the pain; smell the death; hear the cries. Only then will we find the compassion that drives us to DO something.


PRAY as if our own child’s life depended upon it.

FAST from all excess if not from a meal. With each bite of food, with every sip of water, remember that there are not just a few but a great many who have no choice in what they eat or what they drink.

WITNESS not only to God’ steadfast love but to the idea that we can love our neighbor and show that love.


Hold tightly to all these memories. Because it is in the re-memory that we learn. It is in this re-memory that we change.

And it is all about change. We have no choice.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed meto bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captivesand recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:18-19


David said...

posatively prophetic, and powerfully written
now how do we get your witness more widely distributed?

thank-you dear sister


Barbi Click said...

Thank you, David, my brother.
Take it, share it, link it, copy it...however it may be done. I do know that Mike Kinman will be using the MDG blogs from the day on the EGR blog spot. and I know that he asked me if he could use this one. So, it will be up there at some point.
Blessings to you