Sunday, April 26, 2009

Power and Poverty

In the bible there are more than 300 verses regarding the poor and though i am not a fan of taking verses without chapters, without books and without context for the sake of this exercise (and so I don’t need to type out the whole bible right here, right now) i will jump on one of these verses...

In the Old Testament - Jer. 22:3 - it says ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place’...

Now we were talking the other morning about powerlessness in the context of Squad. And we were suggesting that our call to fight for justice, to stand with those in pain and to show love is wider than just to the patch members of the scene... there are nameless and faceless people who are at the edges of every club we walk into. The guys that are not cool enough, don’t look quite right, are difficult - or strange. and these guys aren't just hanging around club houses - they are also in our midst.

Over the past week in Australia we have seen the boat of a group of Asylum seekers explode in flames with people dead, drowned and burnt. We have seen the worst of humanity in people smugglers making money and an opportunistic opposition party trying to score political points at the expense of desperate people... and in the medicos and others - some of the best as they go about healing people because they are people.

Politics aside,we are also seeing humanity at its most naked as we observe our brothers and sisters from another shore cry out to be seen and accepted.

Having the smallest glimpse of what it must be like to be truly powerless - and listening to God’s words about our response to the poor has challenged me again about how to respond to those who are powerless. I am again challenged on how my position of privilege can be used for justice and peace. In the case of those fleeing to our borders. I am commanded to listen to the asylum seeker - to ask questions - to understand why, that for most asylum seekers, even being in detention is better than where they have fled from... And personally i do believe that ultimately to say yes to safe harbour, is Gods call to us.

.My wife tells a story. In africa you greet one another with the words. Sawo bono. ‘I see you’ and the response means ‘i have been seen’.

Back to squad... for most blokes seeking acceptance, being associated with a club will always be infinitely better than where they have come from even if they are never accepted fully and get their colours.. What we wear on our backs is incredibly powerful and marks us as men of privilege.

We belong. we have been seen and we have been accepted.

So ... as we look around us, who are the ones amongst us who are seeking refuge? What does it mean for us as individuals and as a system to ‘Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor’.

Micro - GSCMC - Melbourne


stillers said...

Thanks Micro - thought provoking and uncomfortable for all the right reasons.

Bernie said...

I cant agree more Brother. It is the practical application of this thinking that will set us free. After all don't all persons ultimately seek to be loved, accepted and understood. As servants of Comrade Jesus Christ are we not his hands, voice and feet.
There are far too many folks in the cold, in danger and on the fringes. Are we not called as his friends and followers to express deep compassion and empathy to all our fellow man.
To live other than this as a follower of Christ, "is like kissing through a window pane pretending its true love" to quote Glenn Kaiser.

Gozz said...

I like what you have written here.
So many others on the outside that need the Lord too.
More provoking thoughts may include:
Reconciliation with other people is 'not reconciliation with God', nor is social action 'evangelism', nor is political liberation 'salvation', nevertheless we affirm that evangelism and socio-political involvement are both part of our Christian duty.