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.