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monsterFCA

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A submission from Dan Haseltine of Jars of Clay/Blood: Water Mission for the launch of ONE Vote '08:

I am mad at myself today. I am disappointed. I have made choices today, choices given to me by people without choices. I live in a country where it matters that I have access to conveniences and options. One of the options I am afforded is the option to know the truth about economic struggles, to even see first hand the broken bodies of people that carry the burden of providing my convenience and choose whether or not it matters to me that they are given the opportunity for health and prosperity.

I have spent time staring into the eyes of men in China who were tortured if they did not produce enough christmas lights to fill their daily quota. I have listened to their stories, and seen the scars. And it did not stop me from buying Christmas lights manufactured in China.

I know the gross economic imbalance surrounding my cup of coffee in the morning. I know that I pay $4 dollars for a cup of coffee that was produced in a community where coffee growers are paid less than 20 cents a day, and thus their children are dying from the kind of hunger, and the types of diseases that afflict the very poorest of people in the worst conditions. I know this. And on every given day, I exercise the choices wealth and privilege offer... Wealth has afforded me the ability to choose to care or not to care about justice, love, and humanity.

I have walked in the barren fields of Africa, and I have listened to the wailing of women pouring out their sorrows from a deep well, that by all means, should be empty and hard as the land they work for food in seasons where water is scarce and all paths to hope become nearly impassable.

How many times can children die? How many times can people barely survive? How many times can a community bury their leaders and teachers and mothers and fathers before hope itself dies?

How many times can we ask ourselves these questions before the reality of the situation sinks into our souls causing the compartmentalization and disconnection of," the worlds problems vs. our own problems," to end? When does the vine of implication wrap itself around our own hearts? When do we begin to own the effects of our undeniable inclusion in the stories of people in the grip of poverty?

I make choices every day to perpetuate poverty in Africa, and India, and China. I have grown into a giant parasite that feeds on choice and convenience, as I suck the ability of choice from everyelse. And I am not alone.

Could we survive if we had to buy our clothing from one store? Could we survive if we had to drink and eat food from one field? Could we survive if we did not have a choice of medicines to cure our colds and aches and pains? Could we survive if we did not have a choice whether or not to shield ourselves from the elements of heat and cold, wind and rain?

If we were stripped of our ability to make moral choices for ourselves because we were forced into prostitution in order to feed our children, would we survive?

An activist that I highly respect said that we are rich beyond measure if we can decide what to eat. If we have choices that are not simply life and death. We are rich beyond measure. And being rich beyond measure, in a perfect form, should be manifested through great generosity.

It is generosity not simply in the mass of finance, but of time, of vocation, of meditation. It is a fully embodied expression of gratitude, heart, mind, and soul, all invested in the experience of knowing, loving and acting to the end that poverty, disease, injustice would be erraticated. This is should be our work, and our passion.

The greatest weapon of wealth is choice. We choose to support causes, we choose to speak in our places of influence. We choose to live a life in firm pursuit of control and safety, or we use our wealth and knowledge to enter into the suffering and chaos of the world.

We choose to engage the people who speak for us in government. If the fight against poverty is not woven thickly into the fabric of our governments character, it is because they are doing their job well. It is because they will fight for what the people find worthy of a fight. If safety is what we fight for, we will continue to make choices that are more about building a stronger isolated and careless empire. If we care about our brothers and sisters in the poorest nations of the world, our government will reflect this priority.

The Gospel never calls us to safety. It always calls us to relationship and even further into harms way, and in direct conflict of the reign of poverty. It calls us to care and to act on behalf of the poor and the outcast. There are few limitations on how we manifest this calling. In fact, it is naive to think we could ever go so far in service that we would reach a boundary line in the act of pouring ourselves out on behalf of the poor.

We can show by voice, by written word, by art, by consumer decisions, and in this age where government has a significant role in the economics of the world, using our influence to let them know about our priorities. We have a chance to let those who aspire to lead this nation know that their leadership must be rooted in the positive movement toward fair trade, the end of poverty, the eradication of AIDS, the end of child slavery, the end of illegal forced prostitution, and the transformation of this nation into a generous thoughtful, and careful people. Please check out http://www.ONEVote08.org.

Here's to better choices

- Dan Haseltine (Jars of Clay/Blood:Water Mission)

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Melissa

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thank you so much for posting that piece.

Melissa

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tebz10

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Reply with quote  #3 
Where did you find this piece? It's really thought-provoking and challenging. Wow.
monsterFCA

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thanks guys..I found it in my RSS of One.org blog: http://action.one.org/blog/comments.jsp?blog_entry_KEY=843
-FCA

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Reply with quote  #5 
Is this, really, Dan's writing?  I would hope someone wouldn't be so bold as to post a forgery on the Jars of Clay board.

I try to be wise when making my purchases, but I have to watch my budget and admit that I may look more at price than where an item is manufactured. 

Having said that, remember when Walmart used to market themselves as the store to 'buy American'?  Now try to find an item in Walmart that is manufactured in the USA??  I am not trying to single out Walmart nor am I implying that only goods manufactured in the USA are 'top-shelf'.  But the USA has laws in place to protect workers and guarrantee that employers are held to certain standards.

Also, fair-trade coffee is available so you don't have to put money into the pockets of those who mistreat their labor force.




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Reply with quote  #6 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GiaKins
i wish i could help out with Blood:water mission..but im broke..im always poor..some day i'll be able to help that foundation.

*Disclaimer: the following is a little harsh but w/ the best intentions.  I really am a nice person!*


I hate it when ppl say they wish they could help.  Don't wish, do it...wishing is a lame way of getting out of the things you know you should do or a round-about way of hiding the fact that you're not called to do it.  Sorry if this is a little harsh but as someone heavily involved in missions, I hear it all the time.  "I wish I could go but..." means, "I don't really want to do this but I'll say it so it makes me sound like a good person."  If you don't "wish" to do it, don't say it.  God calls everyone to do something different and not everyone is called to missions.  If someone is truly called, there is nothing that will stop them.  Not money, not time, not ppl.  God has all the money in the world, God has all the time in the world, and ppl's opinions don't matter.

GiaKins-if you really wish you could do this, then take the steps and do it.  I'm not meaning this to insult anyone in any way, I'm saying this to motivate all.  This is a lesson that I've learned over the past few months.  I'm broke too...I make $375 dollars a week to support myself and my dental student husband.  That's not a lot in the US for 2 ppl and yet we manage pay $4000 twice a year to spend our time and efforts in Honduras for medical missions.  I never know where the money is gonna come from when we sign up for a trip but not once has it not shown up in the end!

If anyone does truly feel led by God to do missions, do it.  There's nothing that can stop the will of God except our refusal to accept it.

Thanks, love you all!
Suzi


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bossabet

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Reply with quote  #7 

Thank you for the timely reminder.

My hubby and I are going through a lot of changes as he prepares to go back to school-- to be more fully equipped for the mission field.

We've taken this step of faith...and we are greatly encouraged by so many people who chose to act on the burden they felt in their hearts...

 

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