Monday, February 28, 2011

Why am I so rich? The Africa Series

Social justice is sort of a "buzz concept" in the Christian world these days. Actually, it's something being addressed all over our culture – maybe even more so outside the Church. I probably haven't spent as much time engaged in the conversation as I should. But some of the ideas that go along with it have been invading my mind as I process my recent trip to the Central African Republic.

Spending time as a "have" among the "have-nots" forces a new way of thinking. (I’m speaking purely from a material perspective).

First of all, what is a "have" versus a "have-not"? I mean the stark difference between us is clear, so I’m confident that I, as an American (no matter what my income level), am a “have”. But what is it that I have that makes me a "have"? Do my African brothers and sisters KNOW that they are "have-nots"? Because although they have very little, they seem way less stressed than all the "haves".

My next question is why was I born as a "have" while my African brothers and sisters were born as "have-nots"? I didn't do anything special to deserve special treatment. And they didn’t do anything do deserve less.

Finally, I've been thinking about what my life should look like in light of these differences. Should I feel guilty? Should I sell everything I have and give all my stuff away to become a “have not”? After all, the “have-nots” seem to be a lot more content in life. Would my relationship with God and my worldview be better if I was more like a "have-not"?

As a matter of chat…

Why do we work so hard to live a life so full of “haves”? When will we have “enough”? What do we gain from having so much? How much of our stuff is necessary, and how much of it is needless fluff that distracts us from the things that really matter? How does the story of the rich young ruler apply to OUR lives (Mark 10)? How can you “live simply” so others can “simply live”?