By Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline
For God so loved the world…
That’s the opening to the scripture passage we read yesterday as we focused on what it means to love our global neighbors. We discussed learning five things about another country.
I haven’t done my research yet, but I’m thinking I’ll learn something about another country someday this week.
But in the meantime I’m thinking about how little energy I actually spend thinking about our world. I read the news. Often, even. I’m generally pretty well abreast of what’s happening in our countries political scene, whether it be debt ceiling brinksmanship, or Joe Manchin’s time in the spotlight.
I think I’m pretty well read when it comes to the noteworthy affairs of our world. But today I was on the New York Times website reading about Facebook being down, lobbyists being up, and Johnson and Johnson booster shots on the horizon. And between that was a visual blind spot. One of those things that I definitely saw, but if you asked me about it I would say I never saw it in my life. And what is that headline that I glazed over? Something anodyne and inconsequential? No, because I read the inconsequential article about Tom Brady beating the Patriots. No. What I glazed over was this article: In Mexico, Nearly 100,000 People Are Missing.
And I skipped it. 100,000 people missing and my subconscious mind said “This doesn’t affect me." I just went back and read it, by the way. This line, “The students are widely believed to be dead, but no one knows where their bodies are, who did it — or why” affects me.
How often do I do this? Glaze over important news items about places far from me and let myself be satisfied that this is just none of my business.
That feels gross. I don’t like how that feels. It’s so much easier to mourn losses around the corner, but that does not make those far-off losses any less of a tragedy. But my mind anesthetizes itself to this reality. Self-preservation? Lack of time? Willful, blissful, ignorance?
Whatever the excuse, I think it’s probably time I did something about this. Something to make myself remember I’m part of a world that God created and loves, not just a small or local community that God is singularly focused on.
So I’m going to learn my five facts. You can ask me about it if you see me on Sunday (and watch me sweat as I try to remember them on the spot).
But here’s something else that I am going to do.
I’m going to remind myself every day that I am part of a world that is bigger than me. I read the news often, so it should not be some monumental effort to bring some intentionality to this. I am going to read at least one news item that is not centered on my own sphere of the world. I’m going to seek it out. I’m going to remember that it affects me. That’s too little, but it’s what I’m going to do for now.
I’m disappointed in myself that I stopped paying attention to the world. I’m not going to know everything that’s happening in the world. I won’t be perusing other countries' newspapers. But I will try to remember. This is bigger than me.
God so loved the world.
I should at least try.
Pastor Jeff Fox-Kline