Moved Mountains

Banner - Mt Trio, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia - (c) 2007

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poverty in a sea of affluence

Considering my last post dealt with the collosial amount of money both Christian and humanist organisations are seemingly willing to throw away on advertising I thought this story may present a contrast for consideration.

While finishing off a good feed at our fortnightly Alternate[Or] BBQ at the Jetty Baths in Bunbury, smack bang in the middle of the towns most upmarket, water front suburb, we were confronted with a heartbreaking scene.

A man, in his mid 20s, dressed in unwashed clothes and barefooted, walked into the park and made his way among the well dressed families and couples lounging around, enjoying their bbq dinners and sipping their wine and boutique beer. He made his way from rubbish bin to rubbish bin, looking for left over food he could take with him. He didn't waste much time. He was methodical in his approach and disappeared into the bushes almost as quickly as he had appeared.

I was left thinking about the contrast this guy, and his life, presented as he made his way among the manicured garden beds in the shadow of million dollar mansions. I thought about the leftovers we had in our esky and started to chase after him with the goal of offering him our food but wasn't quick enough and thought better of making a scene and embaressing him.

I think in future we might try and do something (low key, don't want to embarress anyone) with the food we have left. One of the purposes of our fortnightly social is to provide a way for some of the young single (and homeless) guys we are involved with to get a decent feed. Even in doing this we often have a fair bit left over.

So my question to you is, and I'm looking for inspiration, how do you serve the least in your area? How do you go about reaching out to people like this guy, without strings or church centred expectations?

And, what do you think about a church culture that will raise 100's of thousands of dollars for high profile, event and media based "evangelistic" activities while not directly addressing the needs of the "least of these" living in their own backyards?

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