Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Preparing Your Heart

After 18 hours on planes, and some 2000+ miles travelled I landed safely in Dhaka earlier today. Traveling over oceans via plane is like a reverse marathon. Crammed into rows like an oversized family in an undersized van, there is little room to move around. Your legs begin to ache from under use and no matter the squirming you can't sit just right. The flight gives you one thing you wouldn't otherwise have, however: time to think.

I'm reading through Bryant Myers seminal work, Walking with the Poor after it being recommended to me. No matter your heart for the international world, I would recommend it highly. He brings to light some very foundational thoughts about what it means to really journey with the poor and help bring holistic change.

More importantly though, he challenges those who seek to help the poor to look inward first. Those prejudices that we hide underneath a slick coat of make up need to come out into the open. Myers unpacks he messiah complex we have that feed our ego are damaging not just to us, but to the poor as well. Like a parent who has already determined guilt before entering the room of screaming children, we do more damage than good when we are unaware of our own assumptions.

It is on these things that I've been meditating. What aspects of Bangladesh and India will frustrate me? How will my western mindset think it knows better? How can I approach each individual with love and respect? What will God have to teach me about my own assumptions?

Whether it is halfway across the world or through the doors of our own church, we come with assumptions. What damage do they cause and why do we allow them to become routine? Jesus broke the assumptions of his day by treating each individual for who they were: created in the image of God.

He chose respect before contempt, silence before words, questions before statements. He gave up the powers of the heavens to die naked on a cross because of love.
Makes our prejudices seem pretty small.
Bangladesh is a foreign land. The traffic lanes are suggested. Cars have their own language in honking. They use it often. There are stories high skylines neighboring tin roofed markets. New cars zip past banged up buses. A land of dichotomies, and one I admittedly know nothing of. I come as a student and servant.
God, here I am, use me.

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