life, Light

This Little Light of Mine…

There is so much to love on Momastery’s latest post.

This:

quiet-power

And this:

Sun-Earth

And this:

“These are men who believe in the power of downward mobility. They believe we do not serve, we love. They work with not for others. They believe in justice—not charity. They know that compassion can only exist between equals, so they make friends, not clients.”

My daughter works for a literacy program in an inner city school. Last week a local celebrity came to read to the kids, which was really nice and he did a really good job. There had been a radio contest and whoever donated the most to a certain cause got to choose which school would get the reading. All in all it was a good day.  But there were a couple of things that just didn’t sit right with my girl:

First, the program manager for that school made an embarrassingly big deal over the guest reader. “I mean,” Daughter asked, “shouldn’t ALL guests to the school, ALL volunteers be treated the same?”

“Yes,” I agreed, “and both Jesus and His brother, James, would agree, too.”

Second, after the celebrity read, the man whose donation won the reading got up to say a few words. He told the kids to learn to read. He told the kids that they won’t go anywhere in life unless they can read and write, fill out a job application, etc. On and on he went.

Look around you, Daughter thought. These kids are sitting IN A SCHOOL where they are LEARNING TO READ AND WRITE. Applaud them for that rather than admonishing them for being the potential dropouts your words assume they are. And have a little respect for the teachers, who are TEACHING THEM TO READ AND WRITE. They are here EVERY DAY, quietly shining the light of learning into their lives.  

Personally I don’t believe making one donation earns anyone the right to speak, but, if you must speak, then at least know your audience.

Clearly this man did not know his audience. The children to whom he was speaking have all written books through the literacy program’s publishing center. They CAN write. And all of them are reading at least at grade level.

Why do we have to view people as completely helpless before we will help them?  Or completely poor?

For several summers my daughter and I participated in a day camp in that city. For three weeks of every summer the campers receive academic enrichment in the mornings and Bible, worship and field trips in the afternoons. Teens from participating churches come as volunteer helpers. One summer two of the teens (and their mom, who was one of the paid workers) kept referring to the campers as “the poor kids”.  After several days of that, one of the campers whispered to me, “I’m not poor.  I live in a big house.”  Sweet, sweet boy.

Many of those campers knew their Bibles a lot better than their teen helpers did. And yet they were repeatedly spoken to as if they knew nothing.

After just one summer the affluent church, from which the aforementioned “helpers” came, withdrew their involvement from the camp because the campers were not needy enough.  (Praise God for that!)

I don’t want to judge that church, perhaps they were just trying to be good stewards of their wealth, but why not shore up a population that is trying? Why not help those who are only a little bit needy? Why does it have to be a big boost? What’s wrong with giving a little boost? What’s wrong with watering seeds that have already been planted? Maybe there’s not enough personal glory in that.

Why do we have to label those we help as poor and needy and even portray them as poorer and needier than they actually are in order to get funding?  And keep labeling them to keep the funding.  It’s like when I was a social worker and some of the foster moms would tell me month after month how horribly behaved the kids were in order to keep receiving their extra “special needs” allotment.  I wouldn’t get a true picture of their behavior until I would finally say, “Well, if his/her behavior hasn’t improved at all in all these months, then perhaps he/she is in the wrong home.”  Catch 22.

“Compassion between equals” because we are all equally loved by God and we are all crippled in one way or another.  Equals get to blossom and grow, the needy have to stay needy.

This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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9 thoughts on “This Little Light of Mine…

  1. Alma Mater says:

    I wouldn’t get a true picture of their behavior until I would finally say, “Well, if his/her behavior hasn’t improved at all in all these months, then perhaps he/she is in the wrong home.” Catch 22.

    Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Then there is always also this:
    A big hearty laugh at our stupid little idiosyncracies, how silly we look running around trying to be a “doing” instead of just a “being”. Telling the whole world about it (ever so subtley). And just enjoy the “now” for the gift that it is plain and simply.
    We get it, you’re a good person who does good stuff…but who are YOU really?
    a.g.

    Like

    • As Lumiere so astutely sang, “Life is so unnerving for a servant who’s not serving.” I can’t separate the doing from the being. A good tree bears good fruit, it just does. And if it doesn’t, it’s worthless.

      The fig tree was just being – just enjoying its gift of life, until Jesus cursed it for not producing anything that would nourish anyone. He told us that branches that produce no fruit get cut off and thrown into the fire.

      Who am I really? A good person who is just being myself – doing good stuff because that is what I like to do – and wishing I could do more. It’s really that simple. What, specifically, would you like to know?

      Like

  3. My…I actually provoked a response from you. And it only took ten days? Must’ve really hit a nerve to ferment that long, good explanation B.T.W., you’re rationales and justifications are dizzying in their reasoning. The fig tree was a deceptive thing wasn’t it? Giving the illusion of promise from afar but upon closer inspection, bereft of any thing of substance.
    Good analogy…different perspective.
    A.G.

    Like

      • That’s truly interesting, when I think of the many comments you ignored and did not respond to but only chose to respond to this one. Has that not taught you anything about yourself? “Triggers?” but no it can’t be that of course because you’ve already established that it was just a random spur of the moment I just happen to “feel like it” thing right? Denial…can’t be that. That rude, vulgar, poor excuse for a follower can’t possibly be right…can he? Don’t worry, you won’t approve of this “too close to home” comment and I won’t tell…shhhhh.
        Been there done that…sigh…(bored).

        Like

        • You misunderstand. I don’t ignore comments that hit close to home, I ignore comments that are rude, vulgar and combative (like the one to which I am currently replying). Comments that are edifying, constructive OR instructive (like the one I am currently making) – even if they hit close to home – are fine. So, instead of hurling accusations and disdain, why don’t you try asking me a sincere and caring question?

          Taking a sincere, kind, caring interest is the way to win friends and influence people, it’s what Jesus did.

          Like

          • You are correct, I am full of “misunderstanding”. You are the consummate instructor…what was I thinking? Please, have mercy on me and instruct me in the way I should go, I do not want to be like the horse or the mule who have no “understanding” but must be led by bit and bridle. All of your comments have been edifying, constructive OR instructive…that’s why I copied and saved many of them, need a reminder?
            You’re wrong, I feel no disdain for you. And you’ve already lumped me in with “the accuser” therefore why would you expect anything other…you will still hear accusations regardless because that’s where you’ve pigeon-holed labeled me is that not so?
            B.T.W., you are barrels of fun and quite entertaining…ever just laugh at yourself, you know like really guffaw, belly laugh, look in the mirror and think: “wow, I’ve got ears like a Volks-wagon beetle with both doors open? I laugh at myself often…keeps things in perspective and is quite grounding for me.

            Like

            • Is that your sincere, caring question: Do I ever just laugh at myself? Yes, I do. I laughed at myself yesterday when I swiped my rewards card instead of my credit card at the grocery store – what a distracted dork. I never laugh at my appearance, though, because God is the artist there and I would never be so rude as to laugh at or criticize one of His masterpieces.

              Regarding God hearing it all: Yes, He has, but that doesn’t mean He WANTS to hear it – in fact, I’m guessing He doesn’t. I’m guessing other readers don’t want to hear it either. Most importantly, since it’s my blog, I don’t want to hear it.

              Comment on your blog? No thank you, I’ve learned my lesson.

              Like

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