Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This Just In!

To learn more about my new country, I’ve been reading a website called DominicanToday which has daily news (in English) from the Dominican Republic.  Most of it is about places and people I’ve never heard of – including, I hate to admit, the country’s president, Leonel Fernandez.  This morning the headlines include violence in barrios, a shooting, the cholera outbreak, the president’s trip to Geneva and several articles on Haiti and how ongoing issues there impact the D.R.
I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t concern me a little to read this stuff.  Especially since this particular website likes to include close up pictures of those killed.  It is disturbing to see the blood and brutality.  Of course, news from the U.S., my current home, is not much better!  Violence, shootings, economic worries, political vitriol… the D.R. does not have the corner on negative stories! 
It helps to remind myself that news agencies filter through any number of stories to find the ones that will attract the most attention.  More happened in the D.R. yesterday than a shooting and a cholera death.  Just like more is happening in the U.S. than the Super Bowl and the State of the Union Address (no, really, there is!).
Yes, that does help.  But, the bad news still freaks me out.  So, what should I do?  My preferred method for dealing with stuff that is scary and awful is to avoid it.  Turn off the news, plug my ears and sing a happy little song to myself.  Ignorance is bliss, and what I don’t know can’t hurt me, right?  Hmmm…    
I have a choice.  I can choose to avoid what’s happening, or I can confront my fears and keep reading.  The reality is, there is bad stuff going on each and every day in each and every part of the world.  The entire creation groans under the curse of the fall.  I shouldn’t be surprised at all the bad news, I should be surprised that there is any good news at all.  Oh, yeah… Good News.  How quickly I forget that!
Jesus was born into a world filled with blood and brutality.  He spent 33 years living with broken people.  People who suffered under the Pax Romana, but also under the sins of their own lives.  Why did He spend all that time on earth before He was crucified?  Couldn’t He have just shown up one day, saved us, and then headed back Home?  Since God is God, yeah, I imagine He could have chosen to save us like that.  But, for some reason, He chose instead to dwell among us.  Might that be important?! 
I am a Christ-follower.  That means following His way of ministering.  It’s not enough to swoop in with the Good News and then swoop out to my safe nest, no dust or dirt clinging to me.  Like Jesus, I am called to live and walk among the brokenness. 
God is not calling me to a country without problems.  What would be the point?  I know there is bad stuff happening in the D.R.  After all, it is a part of our broken world!  You know, I think what I don’t know is, in fact, hurting me.  It is keeping me from beginning to identify, even now, with the concerns and needs of those I will become a part of.  It was important for Jesus to be with the people, so I’m pretty sure it’s important for me, too!
Yes, I need to keep it all in perspective, but I need to be learning.  So, I will take a deep breath and keep reading.  As I read, however, I’ll also continue to fill my heart with the Good News.  The Good News which proclaims release from brokenness through the Word who became flesh and lived among us, full of grace and truth.  That’s some headline, eh?! 

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