what if? a conspiracy…

I listened to  Philip Yancey  preach this morning. He was brilliant as always. He talked of the story of the election in the Ukraine a few years back during which opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned and disfigured. That whole election process was fraught with corruption and fraud. After the run-off election, the exit polls recorded results that indicated that Yushchenko was victorious, which differed drastically from what was reported “officially”. As this story was being presented on the Ukrainian news, there was a small screen in the corner of the TV where a woman, Natalia Dmytruk, signed the newscasts for the deaf. In a courageous act of defiance, she did not report the “official” news, but instead, she said that the other guy (government favorite Yanukovych) is reported to have won and then added, “I am addressing everybody who is deaf in the Ukraine. Our president is Victor Yushchenko. Do not trust the results of the central election committee. They are all lies. . . . And I am very ashamed to translate such lies to you. Maybe you will see me again –.” She then encouraged everyone to meet publicly to show their outrage at the fraud. It’s pretty awesome that the popular protests which overturned that fraudulent election were started by the deaf community.

Philip shared quite a few “small screen” stories. Essentially, having the “big screen” position is not what brings true power or true hope. Those of us without the big screen attention, without the microphone, and without power, can change the world through the conviction and courage of the empire-rocking gospel. The larger point was that whatever happens on Election Day, the subversive influence of those constrained by the love of Christ can still expand the Kingdom, one heart at a time. We need not put our trust in political parties, candidates, policies or markets. Build your house on a rock, he said. Yes, we sang the old Sunday School tune.

Then after church we had our women’s boutique. It was very nice and all the proceeds were for the single moms in our community. Still, the buying of goods for Christmas (there’s nothing wrong with that and I shopped too, I’m just saying) reminded me of a video I saw recently (see below). It is by a group called Advent Conspiracy, which says Christmas can [still] change the world. They believe that there is a way out from the consumerism of Christmas (which we all claim to hate) by pooling our gift money together. In doing so, we can raise enough to provide the whole world with clean water. It really resonated with me. I do believe God is calling us all to something very, very different from how we’ve lived.

Philip ended with a similar challenge. What if, during this anxiety riddled time of economic downturn, instead of hoarding out of fear, our giving actually increased? What if during our time of doing without, the non-profits that work to end AIDS in Africa, that serve the broken and the least of these, that seek to free trafficked people, that feed the poor, shelter the homeless, care for the orphan, visit the sick and imprisoned, were to flourish?

It would be the act of subversive, courageous, small screen people. 

What if?



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  • Reply

    I woke early this morning to a feeble attempt to live a fraction of what I preach (I exhorted the flock to meditate on the Sermon on the Mount last weekend). As I read I was struck by Matthew 6:25 – “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not LIFE more than food, and the body more than clothing.” I thought of my own addictive tendencies. Then I read this blog entry and watched the video. This is a call to LIFE – and the “big screen” has been lying to us. My thots went to that old Latin phrase which Eugene Peterson and others have used to describe LIFE: excurvatus se – a life that’s curving out from itself, versus incurvatus se – a life curved in on itself. Oh Lord, help me. Help us. To live LIFE more fully. Help us enter this small screen conspiracy – like you did, Jesus, on that Christmas long ago, in a small-screen town called Bethlehem.

  • ellenharoutunian

    Beautifully said. So, why aren’t you blogging? 🙂

  • Barb Dokter

    Yea. Just started crying during that clip…knowing all things are possible through Christ who stengthens me, but doubting as people of God that we will respond in large ways. Praying we begin a radical movement in this direction in the power and love of Jesus…and wondering if I can live it…?

    Gonna try to send this clip to my family…

    Love ya, Barb

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