Poverty- Timber

It was black. No color, no light, simply blackness. It took me a few moments to figure out and process what had just happened. This was due partly from the concussion and partly from the oddity of the event that took place…… wait, what did just take place?

I was cutting wood with my brother and dad in my parent’s woods. I was flipping over a small dead tree so that it could be easily cut into smaller, more manageable chunks, and so that it would be easier to fit all the wood in the wagon we were using. As I flipped the tree vertically, the top of the tree broke off about 20 feet up, and came plummeting back towards the leaf covered ground…all 10 or so pounds of it. With my eyes looking down at the ground and not paying attention, the chunk struck my right temple, and I instantly hit the ground.

My dad seeing what happened, threw the chainsaw down and ran over asking if I was ok. But like I said, all I saw was….nothing. My glasses had flung off when I was hit, and so all I could see was brown and yellow blurs from the leaves…out of my left eye. But out my right was black- the empty, hollow darkness of nothing. Over the course of a few months, my vision would regain, mostly. I am still slightly color blind in that eye and have blind spots, but they are minimal.

From my experience, we in the West tend to look at the world only from the perspective we were born and raised with. This is not the truth for everyone, but more often than not this is how we view the world. We get comfortable in our worldview. And like a really good sofa, when we get comfortable in it, it’s hard to get out of it. social-icons-01

I mentioned a few posts ago that I believe all of us are truly impoverished. Maybe not financially, but I do believe we can be impoverished in our understanding of God. In the last post I mentioned that in the parable of the Widow’s Mite in Mark 12, that maybe the story revolves more around the scribes and pharisees than it does the widow herself. They created systems that oppressed those below them to the point where, financially, those lower classes were in poverty. But I’m not sure they actually saw it. Blinded by their own greed and lack of generosity, they couldn’t see the system they had created. And I wonder how much we are like that today.

We have massive amounts of information. Far more information than they did in biblical times. CNN, FoxNews, BBC, Google news feeds, newspapers, journals, magazines and more, are constantly presenting information for us to digest. We have so much information, yet in terms of understanding, it seems that we can’t see the poverty that we are in. We are blinded by the log in our own eyes, only focused on the specks that everyone else may have. We cannot see that we don’t understand what the pain of a war across the ocean, or the stink of the squatter town in the dumps, the fear of the minority or oppression of the label of terrorist. We are in poverty in regards to ignorance.

Either we want to remain ignorant of these different perspectives, or we simply are so stuck in our own ways we can’t see…I’m not sure. But, from my experience, we have a hard time understanding that the way an Asian (and even that is a broadly different term depending on where you are in Asia) looks at God or culture or politics or love, is different than white Americans. Or how an African (and again, that varies differently on what cultural microcosm, religious beliefs, gender and country you are talking with) views community development programs. Or how a European (lots of different ethnicities, in Europe as well) views nationalistic pride.

We will  never be able to fully understand in complete entirety of everyone’s perspective in this unraveling world, just like we will never fully understand the depth, width and height of God’s love for us. But…..we need to try as hard as we can to understand better day by day. Not gain more knowledge…no. That’s what the Enemy would like. No, I mean gain in understanding…in empathy…in love.

be blessed today

Photo Credit: commons.wikimedia.org

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