The last 24 hours have been incredible. I’ve been on the most incredible emotional rollercoaster I’ve been on in quite a while. Right now, I think I’m going through a series of loop-the-loops or something equally crazy like that, because … wow, so many feelings, so many words I need to get down on paper. It’s quite incredible.
Lately, I’ve begun to have these feelings. Bono’s partly to blame. Being the fanatic I am, I read all these articles about U2, and Bono is always in the news (on a side note, hooray, Microsoft Word recognises Bono as a word!) for something about Africa. Every article makes my heart break. I’ve been reading I John today, and WOW. It talks about how, by our faith, we should practice good, that our faith is manifested in deed, and I see that in Bono, in his incredible work for Africa, but do I see it here, in Western culture? Do I see us practicing good, being selfless, helping the unfortunate, giving without asking for a reward, helping because people need to be helped? Do I see ANY of that? Almost not at all, and it rips my heart out. I can barely read about Africa any more. It just hurts too much. I need to go there, I really do – I can’t just sit by and read about these people, I feel like I have to DO something, that I need to HELP because … it’s all I can do.
When I was reading about doing good and faith being manifested in deeds, I, for some reason, thought of the mission trips my school does, and at first I was thinking “I need to get involved in that next year”, but then I realised just how petty they are, really. We go and help people who don’t really need it; we perform a play to a bunch of primary school kids, half of whom don’t pay attention and most of whom miss the message; we plant some frigging trees; we repair a wall. We repair a frigging wall while people DIE in Africa. That’s right. Our mission trip is so pointless and materialistic. We patch up this wall for people who are so grateful and pleased – but WHY? It’s a WALL. These people could’ve coped perfectly fine without it. They didn’t NEED it repaired. Oh, it was nice, that’s for sure, but it’s a frigging WALL. While children were starving to death, while thousands die of AIDS, while a mother is beaten, raped, and shot all in front of her kids, while entire families are wiped out by bombs, while poor people drink filthy, awful water hardly better than sewage, while people suffer just because they aren’t the same race as the local warlord, while people DIE, we repair a frigging WALL. These people are dying, and all we can do is patch up some wall in Australia? What the hell is wrong with us? We’ll do something that’s easy, something that’s normal and comfortable, something we can come back from and pat ourselves on the back, acting all good and Christ-like, enjoying the ego kick, but we won’t do anything of SIGNIFICANCE. Planting a couple of trees, singing songs to a tiny little kid, and hammering some nails in a wall may be a kind gesture, but these people are living in AUSTRALIA; it’s not like they’re in desperate need of urgent assistance. Alright, so maybe there are some spiritual issues (but don’t we all have those? I do) but THAT’S NOT THE FLAMING POINT! People are suffering, hurting, agonising, dying, and WE AREN’T HELPING THEM!
It makes my heart bleed. I can’t take it. I can’t. People are hurting, suffering, dying, while I’m sitting here in Western decadence. I think the world’s crashing to a halt when my Internet won’t connect. There’s little kids are being forced out of school, into hard labour, beaten, and then killed because they’re from Tribe A and that man with the gun’s from Tribe B. There’s AIDS sufferers left to die a painful death at home and their children forced to fend for themselves. There are people dying of illnesses we have the drugs to cure – and haven’t given to them! And I’m worried about a fucking Internet connection! While we wonder if dinner will be to our liking, millions are wondering what the hell dinner is. While I try to figure out how to make Microsoft Word’s settings better, millions are just hoping they’ll live to see their next birthday. While we go on missions trips to other people quite comfortable in our Western society, doing materialistic things that give us an ego boost, people who genuinely need our help and don’t need it now but need it fucking last year are going unnoticed and uncared-for. This is madness, people. While we read/scoff at our Left Behind’s and abuse each other for not having a certain eschatology and claim to do this in Christ’s name, we neglect to do the work Christ told us to do.
Christ was a RADICAL, people. I’m sorry if you’re not comfortable with that, but He was. He actually tells us to get OUT of our comfort zone. This comfortable preaching of Western Christianity is not equal with Christ’s clear-cut commands. Go pick up your Bible. If you don’t have one, there’s plenty online (here’s a link: www.carm.org/bible.htm) so you have no excuse. READ IT. Tell me, which of the following does Christ ask?
1. Feel sorry for the poor and donate a few bucks to charity when the nice man knocks at the door, feel sorry for the starving and make sure you eat ALL your food so nothing’s wasted, and feel sorry for the sick and take plenty of vitamins so you don’t add to their numbers.
2. Give selflessly to the poor, feed the starving, heal the sick – go out there and do as Christ did, getting your hands dirty and making a genuine difference rather than giving some minor sympathy.
You know which one it is. This brand of feel-good Christianity that tells you “hey, you’re alright, you feel sorry for the unfortunate people and gave a few bucks today to help the poor blighters” is a pile of SHIT, quite frankly. It lets – if not encourages – us to just sit back and hope and pray things get worked out. We don’t get our hands dirty. We give intellectual consent to theories we’re told to agree with, we give intellectual sympathy to the needy, but we DON’T do what Christ told us to do – we don’t LIVE the theories, we don’t apply ourselves, and we don’t HELP. We tell ourselves that we are helping, but it’s just one big lie. Christ was a radical – He went against the norm, He helped people, He made a difference – and we’re called to be imitators of Him. Is it really that hard? YES, IT BLOODY WELL IS. It’s not meant to be fucking easy.
But … I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t help. I know when I’m a bit older, when I can, I’m going to do something, I want to go to Africa or wherever and actually help these people, show them the love Christ’s shown this unworthy scum of a man, but THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. I don’t want to wait until I’m older. These people might not be there when I’m older. They might not be there because they’re DEAD. I can’t sit here on my cushioned chair, at my flatscreen computer, with my loud U2, for a few years until I have some more money. I want to do something now. THESE PEOPLE NEED HELP. Not in a decade, not in a year, not next month, not tomorrow, but NOW. Why they haven’t been helped yet, I don’t know. These people are hurting and dying, and I don’t want to just sit back. My heart is just ripped out, knowing how so many people need help and aren’t getting it. What can I do? I really don’t know. And if anything, that hurts the most.
Let’s stop patching up walls. Let’s save some lives for a change.
Help. I know we could use some.