Hungry for Action!

I came across this little clipping today, on a blog called “How Matters” (www.how-matters.org), a site about Aid Effectiveness. This is something I think about a lot in my job, working on projects for an International Aid & Development organisation here in Australia. We talk about ‘best practice’, about sustainability, about how to best serve those we walk with in developing communities around the world.

In development we often talk about “teaching a man to fish” – well, even in the church we talk about this in relation to helping people improve their own lives in some form, or their journey in discipleship by giving them to tools to do so – not just providing the immediate solutions.

It goes deeper than just teaching or empowering though. The clipping talks about the importance of organising together to find solutions – not just learning how to fish. And it’s spot on. How does knowing how to fish help when the river is contaminated or a building goes up ?

This idea isn’t just relevant to the aid and development sector though. How do we, as the church, mobilise together to fashion solutions, to be activists, to materialise our mission, to be radical in our passion for justice not just within our own communities, but within our global community? It’s 2011, and the impact of our actions extends far beyond our immediate reach – it’s not just about us anymore.

Take just buying a simple chocolate bar for example. We might purchase it from our local shop in efforts to ‘support local business’. But where does the cocoa come from? Who is farming it? What are the working conditions like? Is the farmer employing young kids? Is the farmer getting a fair price for their goods? A simple decision to buy some chocolate effects families hundreds of thousands of kilometres away.

While this supply-chain choice might represent a burden on our choices, it also presents an opportunity for us to utilise the expanse of our potential impact.

That opportunity extends to this very community here at this blog. How can we mobilise together to effect change? To learn from eachother? Do we want to join together, to act, to discuss, to create, to inspire each other? Are we hungry enough?

I’m hungry for action. Some good ol, mobilising-mission action. What are you hungry for?

3 thoughts on “Hungry for Action!

  1. karlijo says:

    G’day, Kathy and Teresa! Great to converse with you.

    Teresa, I totally hear you. And I like your analogy! I think the first step is coming together to discuss – just like we’re doing here – to identify something we’re concerned about. For example, you also have been thinking about how your choices impact people globally. I think there may be others thinking about that too.

    I think one way we can ‘teach’ about mobilising (=forming groups that are agitated about an injustice/issue/topic, and taking action to address it) is to actually do it ourselves, and be very clear examples to those around us, so that our actions become infectious.

    In the context of our church community, maybe this looks like talking about the “how” of our mission, and moving together on it.. the “what” is all there for us, but the “how” can be a bit harder to decipher.. at least for me at times!

    There are also personal choices that we make every day – like you’ve commented on – that give us opportunity to acknowledge the impact of our decisions. Have you heard about Fair Trade? (It’s been around for many years now, but sometimes these things take a while to trickle around.) It’s a certification that identifies that a product (such as chocolate, tea, coffee etc) has been ethically sourced, produced, manufactured, in ways that promote the rights of all those involved along the way. Fair wages, fair prices for product, absense of child labour to name a few. Selecting fair trade products over others is a really effective way to connect your actions with how you wish others to be treated. I’m not sure about the US, but here (Australia) you can find it as an alternative in lots of supermarkets and cafes.

    Google it if you haven’t already – what would be awesome, my long held dream, is if ALL our congregations (at least in the global ‘west’) switched our Morning Tea’s to Fair Trade products. After worship here, we meet together for coffee and a snack, at the church building. It would be fabulous if everything we were eating/drinking was produced ethically! What a movement that would be!

    Great comments, keep it coming!

  2. Teresa says:

    I am hungry too! I have been thinking a lot about this lately–about the impact my choices have, not only in “my” [self-centered] world, but globally.

    I have come to realization this way of thinking is as challenging as it is potentially powerful. It is one thing to say that we need to teach people (or ourselves?) how to be organizers and reflective about our daily decisions, while it is another to actually, as you mention, mobilize to act on on these thoughts. So how do we teach it? Because in order to teach it, in order to talk about it, in order to own it ourselves, someone first needs to show us…..so we don’t go out there and teach people how to go crabbing thinking that it’s the same thing as fishing.

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