This is something that Faith, Lizzy and I were talking about this past Sunday. If I missed anything, please add on in the comments.
So, I disagreed with a lot of the sermon this past Sunday. While I think it is important to remember that there is a lot of suffering especially in terms of modern day slavery in this world, the way this was presented was pretty problematic.
First, I don’t know how you all felt about the video, but I feel really uncomfortable for several reasons. The video shows images that perpetuate the idea that people in “third world countries” are impoverished and are the only people in the world that need help. I appreciated that the video didn’t show JUST African children because these are the people who get exploited the most often; however, because there were Asian women and children in the video, it made me realize how disconcerting it is to see people who look like you portrayed in this way.
Also, I really disagreed with the way that the discourse in the sermon was implicitly the U.S. versus the world. We are part of the world, and we are no better than the rest of the world. I think at one point I heard a phrase along the lines of “America is much better off than the world so we need to help other.” First of all, there are so many modern day slaves in the United States. In addition, the American justice system is corrupt when you look at the situation in Philadelphia. There are around 25-30 public schools closing at the end of this year in Philly while there are 5 PRISONS being built. The state is basically herding these children into prisons because they cannot provide such a basic human right of education. We are not perfect.
The part where I became even more angry was when I was told that these people in Asia and Africa are “victims, hopeless, voiceless.” No, no no no no NOOO.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLVY5jBnD-E –> This video explains why this is wrong.
Basically, when you portray someone as hopeless and voiceless, though you have your good intentions, you dehumanize her or him. You strip people of their humanity and their ability to speak and voice their opinions.
I also disagree that putting my name on a postcard can really create lasting change. That may be pessimistic of me to say, but slacktivism is really there to make us feel better.
Here http://www.theveryworstmissionary.com/2012/04/healthy-short-term-missions-do-it-like.html is just a little perspective on short term missions. I believe that God is greater than our sins, so I believe that God can still work during short term missions. BUT I think that it could definitely be done better and more thoughtfully.
Here is where I get confused personally. I struggle so much with trying to combine my identity as a Christian and my identity as a social justice activist. It seems like these would go well together, but for me, somehow it hasn’t meshed exactly. I know that much of why I feel so strongly about justice comes from God, and it is his calling on my life. However, I used to use the verse from the sermon (Micah 6:8) to justify why I did Invisible Children. If you don’t know, I went through this huge journey where God called me to give up Invisible Children. Through this experience, I learned personally how the organization was unhealthy for me because I put it before God, and then He showed me academically how problematic this organization is.
Am I unable to reconcile my two passions because of the way the church portrays and calls us to serve and do justice? It seems that we come from Jesus’s perspective like we can be the saviors, but really we can’t. God can save us, we can’t save anyone. He’s called us to love one another humbly and thoughtfully.
What’s your opinion?