Thursday, April 13, 2006

Should we protest the system or invest in a life? Yes.

i read an article by a friend rudy carrasco. here are a couple of quotes to think about:

"I worry that we are perilously weak at walking alongside the poor, at investing directly into the lives of individuals to give them what they truly need—not what we believe they need or what our policy statements tell us they need. I've found that it's relatively easy to raise a voice in protest, but unfathomably hard to invest in a life...

The investment needed is long, sacrificial, and, frankly, tedious. Doing justice by walking alongside people as they develop critical life skills is not exciting. Protesting on Wall Street against globalization is exciting. Getting arrested at the courthouse is exciting. Filling the National Mall with hundreds of thousands of people is exciting. But staying proximate to people as they learn lessons they should have learned years ago? When's the last time you saw that on cnn?"

i can testify to the time, energy and sacrifice it is to help someone who has no help in building the essential life skills to move themselves out of poverty. i think many times in my life i took the easy way out and just through a "follow Jesus" and life will be ok. if you are interested in hearing a story about how rudy was helped with these issues and how he models the way you can have the same impact in other peoples lives. than you should read the whole article...

If you have a story of how someone did this for you? Please tell us about it in the comment section. Thanks.


urBenLA said...

wow. I am glad I read this post. I feel so impacted and inspired.

It's true. I feel so inferior compared to alot of these CCDA dudes who live the kingdom in their communities for generations and will never be on the evening news, but are making a huge difference one life at a time. I know it's not in my genetic makeup and instead I'm always building on the ideation and entrepreneural thing, but I know a handful of kids from Bresee and Central City and hopefully now folks at The Gathering who would list me in their top five people who impacted them the most, and that makes all the difference to me. I love that I've even had that feedback from some of these kids who haven't even graduated yet.

Investment is huge. It means thinking and acting outside of yourself and your own interests, which is a hard choice to put yourself after another. What do you do with the time you have?... Who matters to you that you think/worry more about their life/situation than they do?.. What are you impacting besides the cushions of your couch?

Good post John. I'm still thinking it over.

urBenLA said...

I had some more thoughts on this recently. Carey and I were talking about this and she kept saying that as a social worker, it was very defeating to keep people who were at exactly the same place, going in cycles as willing or unwilling "victims of the system" so-to-speak. The only way to change their situation or the rules of how she had to go about her job would be to change legislation. So as important as being involved in someone's or many people's lives in an ongoing basis, you're not going to change the community and actually change people's real situation (generations) without changing law and changing the systems which enslave many of the folks we love and think about. Without doing both are we truly living out the kingdom or is our life/service a sort of welfare for that individual (as if we want them to always be dependant on us). If we're living out the kingdom, we are doing what we can to lift them above their need for us and changing their situation (and their kids lives) for the better?

I'll give you a real world example: there's this girl I've known since she was 12 in skid row. Let's call her Keesha, although it's not her name. Her mom is a crack whore and has been for over 20 years. She sells herself for her addiction, as much as we grew to know and love this woman and her daughter, even having Keesha live with us for a year or so, nothing really changed besides her attachment and dependence on us. Keesha's mom would leave her with us before getting high. Keesha's now 20-something and her 2 daughters (the oldest is 6) are growing up with their mom doing the same thing. What did my involvement really change? If we change the system then does the cycle break and we have Keesha's girls not doing what the women of their family have done for years? Who knows, but I think the thought of kingdom system-changing has merit.

J-Lou said...

i like you and carries thoughts. i think it is a balance and made me think of an illustration... i think i am going to create a new post on it. but i so agree.

The Yepiz Zone said...

Ben, i couldn't have said it better myself. We need to not just help putting Band-aids, but we also need to help people get out of theri dlemnas