Thursday, April 10, 2008

Giving and God and other random tidbits

I have a bunch of random thoughts swirling around right now, so stick with me if you can and apologies if I'm all over the place with this post.

I've been spending a LOT of time at Mercy helping with preparing for their big events next weekend (gala, concert, women's conference.) I'm probably not getting enough me time, but I'm having fun and enjoying giving of my time. We're hoping to really raise awareness in the area about this ministry and the way it's changing the lives of young women. It's made me think a lot lately about how I really don't mind at all that I have had little time to do much else. I'm excited about these events and being involved. We aren't called to give because of how it makes us feel, but I think that giving was intended to bring us joy. We are more fulfilled when we give of ourselves to others.

I was watching Idol Gives Back last night and saw all these videos of celebrities going to communities in the US suffering from poverty and places in Africa where everyone is dying of AIDS. There are SO many ways that people can give. Obviously we don't all have gobs of money, but $10 can buy a mosquito net to protect people in Africa from catching malaria. $10. And there are so many ways in our own local areas that we can give of our time. I don't have a lot of money to give to organizations I support, but giving my time allows me the opportunity to see first hand how what I'm doing helps, and it's like giving money because they don't have to pay someone to do the work I'm doing.

One of the speakers on the show made a comment about how you'd think that with all the money Bono has and how inexpensive it is to provide medicine and food for people in other countries that he'd have wiped out at least half of the problems in Africa. It was meant as a joke, but at the same time, it's not so funny. I started thinking about how there are so many wealthy people and I know they do a lot of charity stuff, but could they do more?? Not only that, but why is it so inexpensive to provide AIDS medicine in Africa but it costs out the butt here in America? When did we become so wrapped up in profits that we missed the point of making a difference among our fellow humans?

Then I got online today and a headline popped up: Elton John raises $2.5M for Clinton. Give me a freaking break! $2.5M for a presidential campaign?! I get it that who our president is is important, blah blah blah. But why are they calling this the most expensive election ever? Because people keep giving money to it! Why? Why are we giving millions and millions of dollars to candidates to create commercials that we hate watching anyways? Why are we spending so much money to elect a freaking gov't official when we have people in our OWN country who are dying from disease and hunger.... who can't afford an education... who need help studying to get a GED so they can try to get a better job and support their family...

I just feel really annoyed about all of this. In the end, the president is one of MANY gov't people running our country. I get it that it's an important position, but I don't get why we spend so much money getting them in there. I'm sure someone will disagree with me and that's fine, but I'm expressing my opinion that the bit of money I have to give away will go to someone who really needs it.

And on a somewhat not related note, have you heard about Oprah basically starting a cult? Ok ok, I'm being extreme. But search for her on youtube and watch the videos about this mass trance thing she's been part of... I used to respect Oprah, mostly because she did a lot of good and gave to people. I still think it's good that she does that, but I'm starting to think that I like her less now. I watched some of this stuff where she's saying we are our own god and a bunch of crap like that. There was one thing she said that stood out. She tells a story about sitting in church and hearing how God is all-knowing and He is love and He is grace and then the preacher said he was jealous. She said she remembered thinking, "Why is God jealous of me?" and how it completely changed her view of God.

Missing. the. point. Oprah. God isn't jealous of YOU. He's jealous of the other people/things that you worship instead of Him.

Anyways, I don't know tons about it, but I just needed to say that if I hadn't already cancelled my subscription to her magazine, I definitely would now.

And on a final note, I think it's interesting that there is so much drama over saying prayers at school and sporting events and whether or not we say "under God" in the pledge, etc... but then the 8 contestants on American Idol close last night's show singing "Shout the the Lord" with a choir. AI is like the top watched show in our country. Way to not be afraid to acknowledge God on the show AI... way to go. I'm sure people nationwide will think it's inappropriate, but I think it's inappropriate that we keep trying to censor God out. No one is forcing anyone to believe in God by those kinds of things any more than me listening to rap music is forcing me to join a gang or start doing drugs. I'm afraid I'm not being concise here and I don't know how to be, but my point - I think - is that we sure get worked up over a lot of silly things when there are more important things to be concerned about.

A final thought to try to wrap this up: Why is it ok to acknowledge God when we want people to give to help others, but not the rest of the time? And why do we give so much money to campaigns when people are living in poverty and dying of AIDS? What can we do to make people more aware of the CONSTANT need for people to give of their time and wallets? Couldn't we knock some of this stuff out if we spent a little more energy giving of ourselves than watching tv?

Sorry this got so long. I just needed to get this out there. I am not really looking to engage in any arguments or anything, but I wanted to share how I feel and encourage anyone who may read this to try to keep an open mind as you decide how you feel about these issues.

PS - If anyone in the Nashville area is interested, there's a Fair Tax Rally going on downtown later. This is whole other issue to save for another time, another post... but if you want to know more about the Fair Tax and how to support it, come check out the rally or visit


B2G said...

Wow, way to tackle a tough issue! Good for you. I was done with Oprah a few years ago when she said she believes in "parts of the Bible." Okay lady, you're either in, or you're out. Pick one.

Rachel said...

Awesome! They had a Fair Tax Rally in Atlanta about a year ago, I think. It was awesome! And so many people turned out for it.