News Fast and Loving People
Today I decided that, beginning today, every Thursday would be a 'news fast' for me. I digest a lot of news (Time magazine, sometimes NPR, sometimes MSNBC.com, sometimes other odd sources), but it can get overwhelming. Our calling to be involved in the world leads us to pray for situations in various places, and act when we are led by God to do so, but there is so much that we don't act on, so much we can't do. We are among the first generations to gain more access to information through media sources than directly through living life. And this can be paralyzing. So I decided to fast.
And then, only hours into my fast, I received an e-mail from someone in our church asking us to pray for the situation in Bolivia, because Heather Coaster, who is part of our Bethany family, is serving there as a missionary. And because it was Heather, because it was someone I know and care about, I immediately looked at the report. Somehow news is no longer just news when it is regarding someone you know - it becomes something elsle; it becomes personal.
It's tempting to think that knowing information is what will change a life, that if I can only get the content correct, everything else will follow. But I watch the news, fill my head with information, and it often has the effect of simply numbing or depressing me. By this experience today, though, I'm reminded once again that relationships are more powerful than ideas. When I know someone, care about them, and am connected to them, nobody has to prod me to become informed or have compassion or act on their behalf - it comes naturally. Not that I should be blind to all the other news, but the news from people I know is the most important kind of news - because the relationships contained therein will make us people of action.
Lenin had ideas. But when he was fnished, he posited that what Russia actually needed, instead of his ideas, were 10 men like St. Francis of Assissi. In other words: Give us lovers of people. They will change the world.