Tuesday, February 22, 2011

About the Relationship

It’s all about relationship.

When the earthquake in Haiti happened I immediately thought of friends who had family in their homeland.

When the earthquake in New Zealand occurred last night I was instantly worried about those I knew in that country.  A few years ago we traveled in Uganda with a handful of Kiwis. We have continuing contact with three of them.

Our heart aches when bad things happen to people we care about.

In all honesty, I am touched when natural disasters occur in places where I know no one.  But when something bad happens in a country where friends live I’m all ears.  And my heart aches in deeper ways.

It’s about the relationship.

I think the reason so many people don’t care deeply about what happens in our inner cities, or in Uganda or Kenya, or Egypt, or India and Pakistan is because strangers are affected.  But when friends are in danger it all changes.  We care deeply.

I’m always amazed when people become dogmatic about this or that issue.  And then I connect the dots and I realize that it’s easy to draw a line in the sand when one isn’t personally invested in people and a place.

I know. I know.  There are those who would argue that it’s dangerous to make policy based on relationship.  I think making policy without relationship misses the point ...totally misses the point.  Any good thing we do has to link heart and mind.  Too much heart ...wisdom is lost.  Too much mind ...and we miss practicing compassion, rooted in the person and acts of Jesus.

One of my huge concerns is that so many people who are so cocky about how we should conduct both our personal lives and adjust our public policies just don’t seem to be ‘in relationship’ with anybody or anything that challenges their pre-set perceptions. It’s always easy to be ‘certain’ when you live in a bubble.

It’s about the relationship.

I ache tonight for my New Zealand friends.  I think often of the craziness and despair that still defines Haiti.  I worry for my Israeli contacts and I think and pray often with those I met in Africa. I care more because I know people who hurt and are worried. They are no longer statistics.  They are real people.

It’s about the relationship.

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