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August 09, 2009

Lachelle's Big Small Challenge

The whole gospel is a vision for ushering in God’s kingdom — now, not in some future time; and here, on earth, not in some distant heaven.

-Richard Stearns

What if we suddenly saw the world with God's eyes, and the reality of good and evil suddenly exploded into our consciousness? What if we understood the exponential evil that grows from our sterile apathy? What if it happened during church? Would we become as animals, howling our mourning instead of singing our hymns?

-Gordon Atkinson

It starts with opening yourself up to a couple facts and figures. I know, I know, you're busy. But if you would face the facts for just a moment, maybe you would freeze on the face of cold truth. An ounce of truth would cause you to climb high for perspective and then be crushed under the massive need. You would feel small and intimidated by the multiplied complexity of suffering.

You, Christian, would remember that many people view such suffering and question the very existance of a god, and you could not imagine baring such a burden. You would be ready to begin.
Last Sunday Lachelle presented a small challenge as part of her 6-week series called No Plan B. We're hearing about the Aids epidemic in the 3rd world and brothels dealing children and countless villages with no decent water in sight and the reality of walking by tons of (local) poor people in order to get to poor people.

Does our group of 10 or 20 comprehend and understand such things? No. But we're trying. Maybe we'll even change the way we act. We're itching to do...something. Which would be a lot more than most of us are doing right now.

Discussion. Yes, we can do something. There are great ideas and willing hands, even in our small church. I'm encouraged that there is hope. I'm also disgusted by some of the questions that show our own ignorance, and "answers" that are weak attempts at justification. I'm honestly not surprised that my hope and disgust from the group sounds an awful lot like me as an individual.

Lachelle's challenge from the H20 Project was to forgo drinking anything except water for one week. We could then make an optional donation of the approximate moneys we saved in drinks to The Project.

This was not our full blown effort at fixing the world. It wasn't even prayer and fasting for Lent much less any bologna like being able to identify with Christs and others suffering. Giving up Diet Coke is nothing like crucifixion or having to choose between death from dehydration or Cholera. Not even a little bit.

This is simply awareness; a small reminder of one big thing we take for granted. While the experience of drinking only water for one week is hardly suffering, it is most definitely a way to hit us where it hurts. I would much rather throw a $20 at the H2O project than give up coffee.

And if nothing else, the challenge is one thing that we most certainly do have control over. Or do we?

That's another reason I took the challenge**. Lachelle brought the H2O challenge and I wondered. Obsessed, even.

Does my caffeine intake sometimes get a little ridiculous? Has it become a necessary scaffold for this lifestyle of heavy family responsibility on top of work and training and late night biking and reading and blogging? I watch the background of the No Plan B videos and see Africans strolling so slowly down dirt roads and wonder if my lifestyle is a somewhat opposite unhealthy extreme.

One person cannot possibly care enough, much less give enough. But should your passion for Seinfield reruns come after feeding the children (or at least one of them)? Is it true that nothing owns you? Not even the power of Splenda?

Justify all you want. Hey, don't blame me. There is a way to know.

**Since quitting caffeine, cold turkey, would have made me a headache infested grouch, (which pretty much defeats the purpose of anything Christian or even pseudo Christian), I drank only water all week, tapered coffee, and really only spent three days caffeine free.


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