For the past few weeks I’ve been reading “The Hole in Our Gospel” as part of a series we are doing at our church. Whether you consider yourself “religious”, “spiritual” or none of the above, I believe this book and others like it is important to read. Poverty, most especially the challenges that Africa as a whole continues to face, is a human problem, not a problem that only particular churches or governments or celebrities should be doing something about.
The older I get (and yes, I really can say that, trust me), the more I am surprised at the things I thought “always were” when it comes to our world. Growing up in the 70s and 80s, it was quite common to see the poor on my television screen as part of the campaigns to fight hunger and poverty in third-world countries. Graphic photos of starving children or families living in nothing but cardboard were disturbing but even as a child I just don’t remember the images shaking me to the core.
The summer before my sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity to spend a week in Mexico as part of a youth mission trip. It was the first time I had seen with my own eyes an entire community of people literally living in cardboard houses. No running water. No electricity. Hot. Dirty. Smiles. That’s what I remember about that trip, for the most part. Not a lot of dark, dreadful feelings but rather being surprised at the way these people lived and acted about their living situation. Again, I did not come away from that experience with a surging “I need to DO something!” feeling about how drastically different they were living in comparison to my life.