Tuesday, March 30, 2010

digging in

Sorry about the long hiatus. I forget I have a blog, then am ashamed over my lack of updating when I do remember I have one. Lately, I have been reading "Mountains Beyond Mountains" about the work of Paul Farmer in Haiti. It is a fantastic read about community development and the impact one person can have by digging their heels in to a community for an extended period of time. He has a great perspective on how change actually happens in third world countries, and does funny things like steal Harvard med school microscopes and take them to his labs in Haiti, claiming he is practicing redistributive justice and helping Harvard to not go to hell. He is fun. Check it out.

Also, I recently did a radio interview with Rebecca about our experiences in Africa and our malaria work in Chicago and Africa. Start at the 5 minute mark, then skip around as necessary. As I have been thinking about digging my heels into a community as Paul Farmer did, the radio interviewer found out I am a Christian, and he asks me several times to name the things Christians are against--a list of negative things. It always has been, and will continue to be, an incredible challenge for me to be asked to represent and/or defend an entire community of people of which I am a part. I have come to the conclusion there is a lot of dignity in choosing a community, warts and all, and saying you are in it for the long haul, and want that community to be known for different things than it currently is. So, as an evangelical Christian, I can easily list the things that are broken and frustrating to me--it would be a really long list--or I can say "Hey, I'm a different type of Christian than what your stereotypes dictate that I am. Here are the things I am for, and I am motivated to be for these things because I love Jesus." People often don't know what to do with that.

It is my prayer today that my community, Christians, would be able to do that more often. Dig in our heels when it is hard and not popular, and write a new story of social action and active justice for the hurting. Unafraid, working with diverse people different from us without judgement of their lifestyles, and openly motivated by our love for Jesus. That would be so powerful. That is the faith I want to be a part of. So I'm digging in.