Tag Archive: significance


carpe

It’s the beginning of a new week and if you’re not careful, and a little bit intentional, before you know it it can suddenly be Friday and the week will have snuck by like just another week. i wanted to do my little bit to hopefully help you stop that from happening by suggesting five very different ways you can be intentional about make this a week of Significance. Don’t try and do all five, but maybe there is one or two of these that jump out at you as something you can plan to do this week to make it a better one than if you had just breezed through on Autopilot: Continue reading

a short while ago i stumbled on to this link about these 2 college students who snuck into an empty classroom and then did some incredibly creative stuff.

i can only imagine the effect it would have had on the students. the anticipation that it would have built up in the whole school of which class is going to be next, what saying is going to appear, how is it going to look and all of that.

a very simple act yet i imagine it had a deeply profound effect on the majority of people in the school – bringing smiles and inspiration and energy to add to whatever is already going on in that school.

THERE’S A NEW GANG IN TOWN

sadly, i have only joined them three times since being in Oakland, but yesterday i was connected once again to the amazing work they do through this articletbV and i live in East Oakland in 61st Ave which has its fair share of gunfire outside our apartment, but it is closer to 80th and 90th where things get a little more shady. It’s called the Oakland night walk and happens every Friday night where a group of roughly 50 people from different churches and community groups [and many not from this part of Oakland] gather at one of four rotating churches and then head out on the streets to walk in two big groups to promote piece. no specific agenda or message for the people they encounter along the way, except to say we care about this neighborhood and we want the violence to stop. presence on the streets – and the murder [and i think general crime] rate in the area, has dropped considerably since they started in October two years ago.

 WHAT CAN I DO?

i read some stories from South Africa yesterday of violence which has become all too ‘normal’ and it is so easy to become disheartened and leave like so many people have. it is hard to blame them, when there are countries they can go to [especially if they have children] where they and their family can feel safe and not have to live in constant fear that something might happen.

i get it. that is a natural response.

but another response, especially for those of us who feel a special pull towards South Africa [and believe me, despite living in Americaland for the last three years doing non-profit work, the pull has always been to South Africa] is to seek to be a part of the change we want to be. a significant change. in both the movies Antz and ‘A Bug’s Life’ the majority of small, weak bugs are being bullied by the minority of larger, more aggressive bugs and in the end, the smaller ones win simply through strength of numbers and through standing together.

i am convinced that those who want South Africa to be a great country are in the majority. but we feel small and weak and powerless and something significant will only happen once we band together and figure out what that looks like. i don’t believe that violence to curb the violence is the answer [or even military or police force or weapons or anything like that] – i believe it is creativity and unity that will help bring about the difference.

looking at the two examples above, one is an example of incredible creativity and gifting – i cannot for the life of me draw like that, and if it is up to my artistic creative skills, South Africa is doomed. but i can walk. as can most of the people i know. but i also know an incredible amount of people who can draw well. and so maybe it’s both. the incredibly creative and gifted and skilled… and those who just show up and say, “I am here!” if we can figure out what it looks like for these South African ants to rise up in peaceful defiance against the bullies and the violence and the corruption, then maybe there is a lot of hope for my country.

how are you being significant? what stories do you know like the ones mentioned here of things already happening in South Africa? we need to be hearing more of these as they will bring hope and help rally the troops and inspire and life and give ideas and together we can see it start to happen. 

sa

last nite at our simple way potluck we had some directors come show us a documentary they made about a family from columbia – the main thrust of the movie was about these fumigations that americaland funds to try and nail cocaine fields in columbia [planes flying over and dumping poison] altho in a nutshell the poison kills all food crops completely and the coca plant which is the intended victim grows back in three months or is not harmed at all – many families are displaced and this movie follows one of them [you can catch more on www.giveusnames.org and the movie is called ‘Leaving La Floresta’ – if you’re in the Philly area and want to organise a screening i imagine these guys will be super keen – did one for 20 to 30 people in the gathering last nite]

one of the things that struck me about this movie [and it was a great documentary] was that none of the guys involved had any formal training – they were just college students who wanted to change the world [as we all do then] and decided that the best way to do that was to start with one family [they have raised the 4000 dollars needed to get the family out of not-so-pleasant city circumstances they were forced into and back into a farming community where they will be able to live the kind of life they wanted for their family] and so they picked up all the filming and editing skills they needed along the way.

i suspect this theme is going to continue to be hammered out in these blogs of mine and readers may feel free to get pissed off and unfollow and feel judged and whatever, but the more people i meet over here who are making a significant difference, the more unamped i get with people whose lives seem to revolve simply around themselves, their friends and largely having a good time [and possibly trying not to be “too bad” whatever that means]. that just is not good enough.

i don’t want it to seem like americaland has all the people that are doing this and south africa doesn’t, because i know so many people back home who are living these kind of lives that are having a dramatic influence on one life, on a family’s life, on the life of a village or school or area… but this is directed at people both over here and over there who are just focused on the person in the mirror and the people they like hanging out with. it seems like hedonism is a chief idol worship of our times.

these college okes looked around and spotted something horribly wrong and said, “we have to do something about that” and then made a plan – it’s that easy. and i’m sure the process and so on wasn’t easy altho i imagine it’s pretty easy to rally involvement and money and resources around an idea as good as saving or uplifting lives. where people get trapped is when the conversation ends at the latest movie, computer game or sporting event… and the money ends at the latest holiday, or gadget or fixed investment… and the time ends at a 60 hour a week job with overtime so as to make the money for the gadget to watch the sporting event. and so on.

i’m not talking a gospel of works. because the gospel is works. not a focus on works. but works stemming out of an understanding of the love we have been shown. they are not two separate things. james clearly shows this. show me a faith that doesn’t express itself in works and i will show you a pile of raisins. okay that MAY be a paraphrase from the brett james version of the bible. but this is Jesus stuff. it is the matthew 25 sheep and goats parable lived out. not giving someone a handout so you stop feeling bad, but making a significant impact in the life of a person, of a family, of a community. doing something for one of the least of these. and then another.

ephesians 3.20 God is able to do more than all we can hope or imagine. if all we are hoping or imagining is more money and bigger toys then may God forgive us and have mercy on our lives. but the point of it is most of us hope and imagine way too little. if God is really saying that He is able to do more than all we can hope or imagine then we should be hoping and imagining bigger. raise the bar for God because He’s up for the challenge. if your bar is set at ‘have a good feeling life’ for example that is pretty low. helping a local family get their kid into and through university and you’re starting to talk. cut the aids rate of your community by thirty percent. higher still. imagine what great works God can do once people with more creative hoping and imagining start to put their lives in His hands and say “pick me!!”

and use your strengths – i think of my friends bruce and bex who i love to bits and who continue to amaze me with the incredible photography they take – see www.lovemadevisible.co.za – they took their gifting [or one of them – photography] and linked it to a passion and a hope and imagining and got people to donate towards a project aimed at getting clean water to a whole village [which you can read more about here]. a fairly simple thing but took some creativity and effort and time and money contribution and it was done.

possibly one of the best things about this whole hoping and imagining bigger and then living it out is that it is an excellent thing to do in community. so mobilise a friend or friends or even a whole community and do something together. just do something. life is too short not to. be the significance you want to see in the world.

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