We live in a busy world with increasing demands on our time and our resources. The phrase work-life balance is fairly new to this generation, but so many of us feel the stretch as we seek to answer the demands of the workplace, the demands of our family and marriages, of our friends and our communities, the demands to provide and the demands to relate. It can get overwhelming and so many people seek to find respite in entertainment and in social media. Yet this year has not been a good year to relax in social media (I’m not sure if there has ever been a good year), but it seems this year has been particularly angst-ridden. In the summer, everybody was sounding off about Brexit and in the fall, it was all about Clinton-Trump. THE END OF THE WORLD HAS BEEN NIGH FOR SOME TIME! Or so it would seem -2016 was, after all, an ALL CAPS type of year.
What is particularly disheartening and the reason for this blog is the public shaming and social media shouting that goes on over social justice issues that each side thinks are important. Each tribe picks its list and then gets all self-righteous if the other people (and especially people from the other side of the political spectrum) do not consider their list of social ills the ones that need to be prioritized.
A Long Laundry List of Needs
What do I mean by social ills? We live in a world where there are a lot of things wrong.
- Abortion – Children are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet and this vulnerability is no more keenly felt than in the womb. Having had a micro-preemie personally and then seeing videos about the miracle of life such as this one I don’t know how it is right that we do not speak out on behalf of those who have no voice
- Orphans – Foster Children – Street Children – Vulnerability does not, however, stop in the womb, so many children around the world are orphans, street children, lost, without love and without family, even those caught in the foster system are often no better off. Who is speaking out for them?
- Anti-Family Culture – I add this to the last two although no-one really has this one on their radar, but study after study has shown that children grow up best with their biological mother and father, yet we live in a culture where single motherhood has increased, divorce has increased and so many come from broken families. What is being done about this?
- Disabilities and Special Needs – Again some of the most vulnerable in our communities all around the world, yet so often they have no voice to speak out and defend themselves.
- Widows and the Elderly – In the developed world we don’t think too often about widows – but why not? When parents become a single parent with kids to provide for needs abound
- Human Trafficking Victims – Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking – Slavery was abolished long ago surely? Unfortunately not for the millions of lives that are still affected. Indentured servitude, grinding poverty, horrific sex work and even the grotesqueries of trafficking in human organs. Millions are affected, but who is speaking up?
- Victims of Abuse – So many suffer in silence, sex abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse. Afraid to speak out. Vulnerable women, children and sometimes men – who is speaking out?
- Clean Water – Do you realize the deaths and diseases that could be immediately eliminated worldwide if only millions had access to clean drinking water? A problem that could be solved next year if we had the will
- Refugees and Victims of War – Much has been said in the recent election cycle about illegal immigration – but the world is facing some humanitarian crises if we do not realize the impact that war in the middle east is having – as Christians, we surely have an obligation?
- Gang Violence – Our inner cities have continued to see gang violence take the lives of our young men. Fatherless and disturbed young men with guns is a problem that needs focus if we are to avoid race wars and the solution would seem not to be police with bigger guns.
- Global Challenges of Poverty – We continue to see the poor suffer through malnutrition and starvation, disease, poor education and lack of adequate housing – yet who is speaking out for these billions of people?
- Victims of Natural Disaster – Add a natural disaster to the mix of all the poverty and you have a truly horrendous scenario – but who is speaking out?
- Racial Discrimination – Wherever you look there is prejudice and bigotry both in the US and around the world. With hundreds of years of black slavery and segregation the cards are surely stacked against the black community on many fronts, but racial discrimination doesn’t stop with the black community, much could also be spoken about systemic discrimination against Hispanics and many other ethnic groups including those in the first nations.
- Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism – After the atrocities of the holocaust surely the world has learned its lesson in regards to anti-Semitism and its new forms of Anti-Zionism and the BDS Movement – but no I guess not
- Misogyny – Many will say their first priority in their fight against injustice is the fight against systemic misogyny with the cards stacked against women in our systems. Women make up 50% of our culture – surely this is a massive injustice?
- Systemic Corruption – Such a fundamental problem in nearly every nation – surely the fight for justice is also a fight to see corrupt things get set straight?
- The Glorious Gospel – Surely one of the main injustices in our world today is that people have not had access to the gospel, I shouldn’t even put it in this list. This message that brings meaning to the wrong that we see and a solution to the evil in men’s hearts. With this transforming power combined with providing so many areas of the world access to the Bible is surely the most important thing? Especially as we look to the needs of the Islamic world? Yet this is still something we have to do.
I could go on, but even with this initial 17 can you prioritize them from most important to least important? Once you have done this, can you place all of these needs into the context of the busy world that we mentioned at the outset. Now answer the question what can individuals do about this whole list? I think everything on this list is noble and needs to be pursued, the thing is I think someone is lying if they say they are actively doing something about everyone of the items on the list and therefore I don’t think it is a good idea to shame other individuals if you see them not doing one of them.
There is, however, one specific way to get involved in all of these and that is through prayer. Prayer changes things. When heaven gets involved things often shift quicker than twenty years of hard slog.