Saturday, March 27, 2010

One Hundred Jetliners Crash

This is an excerpt from "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns, President of World Vision.  I read this on our Church's Outreach Blog a while ago, and it made me want to read the rest of the book.  I thought I'd share it on our blog.

"Whenever a major jetliner crashes anywhere in the world, it inevitably sets off a worldwide media frenzy covering every aspect of the tragedy. I want you to imagine for a moment that you woke up this morning to the following headline: "One Hundred Jetliners Crash, Killing 26,500." Think of the pandemonium this would create across the world as heads of state, parliaments, and congresses convened to grapple with the nature and causes of this tragedy. Think about the avalanche of media coverage that it would ignite around the globe as reporters shared the shocking news and tried to communicate its implications for the world. Air travel would no doubt grind to a halt as governments shut down the airlines and panicked air travelers canceled their trips. The National Transportation Safety Board and perhaps the FBI, CIA, and local law enforcement agencies and their international equivalents would mobilize investigations and dedicate whatever manpower was required to understand what happened and to prevent it from happening again.

Now imagine that the very next day, one hundred more planes crashed- and one hundred more the next, and the next, and the next. It is unimaginable that something this terrible could ever happen.
But it did- and it does.

It happened today, and it happened yesterday. It will happen again tomorrow. But there was no media coverage. No heads of state, parliaments, or congresses stopped what they were doing to address the crisis, and no investigations were launched. Yet more than 26,500 children died yesterday of preventable causes related to their poverty, and it will happen again today and tomorrow and the day after that. Almost 10 million children will be dead in the course of a year. So why does the crash of a single plane dominate the front pages of newspapers across the world while the equivalent of one hundred planes filled with children crashing daily never reaches our ears? And even though we now have the awareness, the access, and the ability to stop it, why have we chosen not to? Perhaps one reason is that these kids who are dying are not our kids; they're somebody else's...

How might God think about this issue? Does He look at the suffering of a child in Cambodia or Malawi with a certain sense of emotional distance? Does God have different levels of compassion for children based on their geographic location, their nationality, their race- or their parents' income level? Does He forget about their pain because He is preoccupied with other things? Does He turn the offending page to read the sports section- or is His heart broken because each child is precious to Him? God surely grieves and weeps, because every one of these children is His child- not somebody else's."



I know I felt pretty uncomfortable after reading this.  The rest of the book gives an excellent perspective on why we don't react to statistics such as 26,500 children dying every day, and what we can do to change that numb reaction we usually feel.

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