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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

CNN - Compassion Forum

Okay...I didn't watch all of this, I was too busy blogging. But I caught a few minutes of it before I went to bed last night and I can't stop thinking about what I heard. So guess what? Now you get to hear what I heard and hopefully it will bother you too. I didn't want to paraphrase so I went to CNN.com and found the transcripts:

QUESTION: My name is Eboo Patel. I'm an American Muslim, and I lead an organization called the Interfaith Youth Core. And it's my privilege to watch a range of faith communities come together around the common value of compassion.

Americans of all faiths and no faith at all genuinely believe in compassion and want to apply that in addressing global poverty and climate change. Can we do that without changing our standard of living?

CLINTON: Well, I believe there is so much we can do that we're not doing that would not change our standard of living as an imposition from the outside, but which would inspire us to take action that would impact how we live.

Clinton went on to say more, but it wasn't her response that bothered me. It was Eboo Patels question. Read it again. Okay. Here is my problem....you can't truly believe in compassion and want to address HUGE issues like global poverty without changing your standard of living. It takes sacrifice. And if anyone ever wants this world to change, we must sacrifice.

For those of you familiar with Scripture...I am reminded of Luke 16:13
No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Likewise...you can not call yourself compassionate without compassionate, sacrificial, kind-hearted acts at the center of your core. That must be who you are. And you MUST be willing to change your standard of living.

10 comments:

Lyn said...

Yep, that's been a real struggle for me for a long time. I don't think I come even close to what the Scriptures ask us to do and be. Really have to work on that one. When I think about it, it means denying self, and that's really hard. Thanks for the reminder.

The Craftypigs said...

We, most of us, I, don't have the first idea what "sacrifice" of self is. I have everything and then more. Truly. But, I suppose, if each of us gave up something then the whole of that would be significant to bring about change. 10% from everyone can get a church out of debt, start ministries across the world, and really change lives. Just 10%. I believe that's what we're asked to do.

VikingMom said...

Giving of your resources is important, but self sacrifice isn't just money alone either. Giving your time is a huge thing...I know in our current church culture many people would rather give out money than give their time. (We've even had people try to "volunteer" their nanny's time!)

This topic makes me think of my brother-in-law who lives in Mexico with his wife. He's located on the border of Texas. Caleb had a choice to live in the U.S. but decided that actually living amongst the "dirt" poor would make the biggest difference.

Sacrifice like that does give a guilt twinge to the soul!

F Family said...

I agree it was sad how he asked the question. To think that help would only be offered as long as it did not cause anyone discomfort or the need to sacrifice. Sadly we are surrounded with everyone looking out for #1 first and then others. I cannot say I do not struggle with the same thing and many times think of myself first.

John B said...

I agree that sacrifices have to be made, but I reject the premise that a changing a standard of living is always a bad thing, according to Patel. For example, last semester for a couple of months I took the train to/from school. The sacrifice: not having my car handy to zip here or there and having to stay on or near campus all day. Some would say this is a change in standard of living (esp. if I completely got rid of my car and relied on public transit), but at the same time I found myself more productive - I had to fill that hour each way with something to do other than driving! Sacrifice is a good thing! And a little sacrifice may even lead to other innovations.

Diane Davis said...

KT… You have lovingly referred to me as your liberal friend… and liberals are often about throwing money at a problem which in my opinion falls way short. Issues such as poverty are about MONEY and TIME, but true compassion is about much more than that. It is about intentionality in walking in another’s shoes… not to blame OR to fix the problem, but just to understand. I think most good work starts with understanding and then the actions follow. I see a lot of good hearted people around me on a regular basis, but often they look at situations only through their own fixed paradigm and end up in a place of blame or intolerance. This is where sacrifice comes in… to put down my own lens and “shoulds” and to just sit with people. I think it takes a lot of practice and is a sacrifice of personal comfort. There is my two cents. You touched on something I’m passionate about. I’ll step off the soap box now… ;)

Kurt said...

i can't care for my own two kids without it effecting my "quality of life". how are we supposed to change the world without giving anything up?
what does generosity and compassion look like without sacrifice? I guess James put it best-
"If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"
james 2:16

Kurt said...

"quality of life"... I meant "standard of living"
i was in a hurry

Kristen said...

Good words, Kristi. I love social justice. As long as it doesn't inconvenience me too much or make me uncomfortable.

Kristi said...

Thanks Kristen. Or should I call you Eboo.