I don’t read a lot of magazines. Not because I don’t like reading them, it’s more about buying a pricey publication that I’m supposed to throw away (recycle) once I’ve finished reading it. I’m not sure if it’s my hoarder tendencies or my desire to not be wasteful that keeps me from discarding these disposable print pieces, but I find myself keeping them. Recently, I received a free copy of Reject Apathy while attending a conference.
The cover stories quickly grabbed my attention. I decided to make a little time to leaf through it, looking for anything that might interest me. As it turns out, the whole magazine was intriguing. I couldn’t put it down. These people know how to write articles for ADHD people! I have the attention span of a gnat, but I was completely sucked into this publication. One article in particular rocked my world: Post-Missions Cynicism by Curt Devine (read the full article). He put into words everything I thought and felt after my first mission trip, but never myself tried to identify.
“The conflict between excess at home and scarcity abroad is a lot to handle. The temptation can be to hate America’s abundance, or forget the poverty overseas and go back to life the way it was before. The key is living within the tension.” — Curt Devine
The article is about living in the tension between the excess of our American culture and the scarcity experienced in our mission fields. His abroad covers a good portion of the planet. My abroad doesn’t span as far, but does it need to? I feel the same way he does when I return from an orphanage in Mexico. I also feel this way when I get home from volunteering at the homeless shelter that’s 15 miles away.
How can I come back from seeing a world in need and be okay with my big air-conditioned house filled mostly with things I don’t need? How can I go to sleep at night lying on my safe, cozy bed, set with my perfect sleep number and not think about people that don’t even have a bed? I heard Kay Warren speak several years ago about how she’s been ruined. As Kay says, she used to be fun at parties, but now all she can talk about is the AIDS crisis. She witnessed this horrible epidemic first hand, but upon going home, she couldn’t forget it. I guess I’ve been ruined, but ruined by the epidemic of poverty and homelessness. Continue reading