Solving Problems At Home Is Important Too
Sometimes the problems "over there" seem much more simple and gratifying to address than the problems here at home. This blog post highlights a tension between efforts to help "over there" when major problems also exist here at home:
For a long time, I’ve been a little annoyed by the Christian community’s fixation on clean water. I know that makes me sound like a horrible person. But I felt like every time I said “social justice” I found a church pointing me to their twenty-five wells in Africa—and because of this unilateral focus, they wouldn’t be able to consider signing a statement about immigration, or sending an email to Congress about climate change, or hosting a book study on The New Jim Crow.
...There’s a water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Flint is fifty-five percent African American. Flint is forty percent poor. And Flint’s water is poisoned. By corrupt government leaders in Lansing. The clean water crisis isn’t far off—it is very near. And it is a crisis deeply rooted in racism, in poverty, and in politics. While the solution might not be to drill a well, the need is no less urgent.
I know that Rachel Maddow is outraged. Michael Moore is mobilizing. Hillary’s got a statement out there. But for all our faith-talk about the spirituality of water, for all our glossy pictures of smiling kids at flowing spigots in the African sunshine, I have heard precious little from our churches on this unfathomable breach of trust—the literal poisoning of the well—in our own land.
Even within the neighborhood, do we find it easier to "dig wells" (aka seek God's justice) in some places while avoiding the desperate need for "clean water" in others?
Personally, I've been spending a lot of energy supporting Timoteo's efforts to mentor young men lately, but I've been neglecting a much-needed talk with a young friend who hangs out on my corner (you know who your are, man!). Am I "digging wells" in fields where the problems seem simpler and more distant while ignoring the very real needs of my own neighbors?