If my generation cares so deeply about global issues of justice and poverty that they are willing to change eating, clothing, and living habits, where are they? A significant challenge for nonprofits and ministries remains recruiting people who will commit to serve long-term outside the United States. I know there are a plethora of good reasons that concerned American Christians can’t just uproot and leave the States, from family to health to finances. I know I simplify. But I have a theory about what is partly contributing to the dearth of young Americans willing to spend their lives on behalf of others. They think they are already are.
2. Christians and immigration
World recently published essays by two evangelicals with different views on the immigration debate. Unfortunately, it’s not really a conversation as the title suggests, but it sure is better than nothing. Here’s an excerpt from Danny Carroll, a Guatemalan-American professor who teaches at Denver Seminary, and whose views on this issue I mostly share:
One of the reasons Christians disagree about the Bible and immigration is that we speak from diverse perspectives that define in different ways how the Bible can be used for societal issues. Our starting points differ, as do our arguments. We should not be surprised, then, that we differ on things like immigration. We talk past each other without realizing we are speaking different “theological languages” from various church traditions. Our disagreements, though, do not disqualify Christian input into the national discussion, but we need to be wiser about how we speak out and be more aware of our theological and church backgrounds that may lead us in contrary directions.
3. DFW on empathy
During a 2005 commencement address, the late David Foster Wallace said this, among other things:
Most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible.
4. On saving the world
Jamie Smith (@james_ka_smith) interviews Tyler Wigg-Stevenson (@tylerws) about responsible activism and social change, drawing on Tyler’s recent book The World Is Not Ours To Save (which I loved). Here’s an excerpt on the relationship between activism and discipleship:
I think discipleship is the comprehensive posture of living a life that seeks to follow Jesus. Of seeking the discipline of the confession that Christ is Lord, of the living person of Christ. It seeks that discipline over every aspect of our lives. Activism, on the other hand, is a posture toward social realities that presupposes that coordinated activity can make a difference in the social realities that we live in. One’s discipleship might very well lead one into acts of activism or to a career as an activist or to times spent in activism, but discipleship can never be evacuated into activism. Activism is never a substitute for discipleship. It’s at best a subset of the sort of activities that one might do as a disciple of Christ.
5. Modern Motorcycle Diaries
Alex Chacón (@ExpeditionSouth), of El Paso, Texas, recently spent 500 days riding his motorcycle from Alaska all the way down to Argentina. You can read an interview with him here; better yet, watch this video.