This year, Christmas feels different.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m learning to break down the walls of my episodic life and somehow lay golden thread in the different arenas that I live and work in.
Stephen Mansfield once said something that I have internalized and processed that is to the effect of this: Our destinies in Christ cannot be fulfilled in a vacuum. They unfold in our commitment to partake in the destinies of others.
Instead of a simple wrestling with my faith and working out my salvation with fear and trembling as solely an individual process, this sense of destiny that is somehow counter to this Western culture appeals to my Asian sensibility of community and solidarity. My destiny, who Christ made me to be, will only be fully expressed by my investment in the destinies of others around me. Perhaps this is numbingly elementary for others, but how many hours I spent in my adolescence and 20s worrying about who I am to be and what I am to become, only to realize that the answer was all the while, very much around me.
But after a great lunch today with this friend, I realize the challenge of this season is that generosity and giving must not be a “seasonal” thing. It must be incorporated into our very lifestyles, our internal and external cultures, if you will. As my friend Melvin so eloquently put it over lunch, “We need systems, not [just] generosity. Your generosity won’t solve the problem of poverty, we’ll always have poverty. What we need is a re-distribution of power.”
Wow, now how’s that for a Christmas card line? — “Happy Holidays — Re-distribute your wealth! And don’t forget the power!”
What we need to be (notice I didn’t say “do”) is a people that is willing to not only internally re-evaluate the economics that drive us and compel us to consume, purchase, work, reside, and play, but to externally commit to living the life of Christ that reflects a different set of values than the ones imposed on us. Here’s a clue, that life involves investing in the destiny of others in a re-distribution of wealth and power that reflects the shalom of Jesus, the Anointed, the Messiah, the King, the One who was and is, and is to come.
As Asian Americans, one of the wealthiest demographics in the country then, we are called not only to give at this time of year, we are called to become outspoken in the face of injustice. We are called more than to be generous on occasion, but to be concerned for people all around as a preoccupation — and that preoccupation should inform what we choose and how we pursue our occupations. We are not to give, we are called to become givers. Indeed, we are “more than conquerors,” we are bearers of a new kingdom.
So here are some things that I’ve been checking out as part of growing into my new skin.
- World Vision – buy a goat for a family or contribute directly to widows and orphans.
- The Fermi Project. $3000 buys a well that will supply clean water for 750 people in Rwanda.
- Build a house with Habitat for Humanity — Look up your local chapter.
- Help refugees in one of these 25 ways, there are probably some in your area.
- Support your local Intervarsity staff workers. They are key people helping to raise the next generation of leaders.
- Invest in more than your mutual funds and retirement. Micro-loans are a way common people can help other people whom banks have written off. Check out Prosper, if you still need to create ROI.
Aristotle made the statement that if you keep stealing, you’ll one day find that you are a thief. The evangelion is not that at all — you are already made new, and we must imitate the one who was the harbinger and the fulfiller of the good news. He whose destiny was found by laying his life down for others.
Merry Christmas everyone…and Happy New Year! Thanks for reading and your comments!
Re-distribute the Power in 2007!!!