rooting hard

When I look at nations in respect to their economies I get the real sense that some nations win economically while others lose.  If you look through the world economic map, it graphically depicts what I am talking about.  If you look at the map through the lenses of the exploitations of colonialism, it may help you under stand why some nations are rich and others are poor.  To be clear there are many other reasons and this is just one way of looking at the map.  But when you look at the map you will begin to get a real sense that there is a predominant mentality behind the map.

I think that somewhere down the line we got to thinking that If we win then someone has to lose, and if someone loses, that gives us a better chance at winning.  That is true in sports and board games, but it isn’t necessary true in every day life.  In America especially our economy is based on competition.  While competition is a great thing there is still an element win lose in the business world.  I guess my point is that we are conditioned in our world, in our country and our society to desire for others to lose, so that we can win more.  Again I can understand this mentality in sports, but what happens when this mentality begins to infiltrate our every day lives?  If everyone wanted everyone else to lose, then no one would really win

I was listening to NPR the other day and the novelist Brad Meltzer was on talking about the letters that the Presidents of the United States leave to their successors.  The last line of a letter written to Bill Clinton from George Bush was, “Your success is now our countries success, I am rooting hard for you.” He knew that putting his efforts toward rooting for his successor would be best for the country.  The last thing the country needed was a bitter president causing trouble on his way out.  So he started rooting for the man who was previously his political enemy.

Who are you not rooting for now, that if you did would make a tremendous impact in your life?  What nations should our county begin rooting for rather than against?  What if your attitude changed and you made it your mission to cheer on the success for others; do you see the triumphs of others as a personal victory?  Do you have people who you actively root against?  Why?  Is it really working for you?

Changing the world starts with a change in mentality.  May you cheer on the success of others every day.  May you see the success of others as your own personal victory.

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the cost of love

I was thinking today about the root of problems.  Many problems are not simple enough to pinpoint the root of the issue.

Why is there homelessness?  Are people lazy?  Was there just a string of bad luck?  Do people from different economic areas have less opportunity?  Do people want to be homeless?  Is there a flaw in our economic system?

We could debate for years over the root causes of any issue.

Today I began to think about huge international issues that people contribute to every day.

The top three money making international vices are trafficking in weapons, drugs, and people.

A few weeks ago I was listening to National Public Radio (KPCC) and they were covering a story on drug use in Southern California. It was shocking to hear how many people called in and talked about the recreational use of drugs.

I wondered if these people realize that their drugs more than likely come from Mexico or some other Latin American cartel.  These cartels use the money that is made to expand their businesses.  They expand their businesses through buying weapons and making their own armies.

People who run the sex trade have found it advantageous to buy drugs like heroin.  They buy a lot of this drug because it helps them manipulate beautiful young women into doing things they would never normally do.  The drugs dull the senses and many women lack the ability to  fight.

Women around the world who are trafficked report that their pimps make them watch pornography to desensitize them and to teach them what to do.  But these women also end up being forced to have sex with multiple partners each day.  They get terrible diseases; AIDS is probably the worst of all.

So today I began to wonder how many people work on the fight against AIDS while they also watch a little porn on the side.  Although it may be indirect, they are fueling a problem that they are trying to stop.

Sometimes soldiers or peace activist use drugs.  They don’t realize that their money goes back to fuel a business. A business that buys weapons, forms militas and funds wars.

It’s easy to demonize people who look at porn or use drugs, but what about people who do missions trips to third world countries while we are wearing the clothes that they’ve made?  The clothes that were made in a sweatshop, the clothes that keep them poor…

As a tactic of spreading the love of Jesus, people from the church go on trips and do great things for these people.  Mission trips really are great and the church really does a lot of good.

However, I wonder what would happen in this world if we had the view that our local actions have international consequences.  This is where the old slogan, “think globally, act locally” comes in.

I wonder if the church were really serious about spreading the love of Jesus, would we encourage our congregations to stop exploiting people?

I know that the main problem with all of the issues that I have been writing about is either indifference or lack of knowledge.  No one thinks when they buy a little porn they fuel an industry that exploits so many. No one thinks that when they do some drugs that they are fueling a death squad in South America. We innocently by t-shirts without a thought of the people making them…

What if we made decisions to help care for others globally by acting locally?  This is a rough change in lifestyle.  This isn’t popular.  This is more expensive.  This is more annoying. But, I think people are worth it.

Maybe this is the cost of love.

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