Dear World seeks to challenge and inspire people to reach out with the hands and feet of Jesus to a lost and dying world - to be a part of His work of redemption in every area of life. But Dear World is not the only resource that speaks about this topic. Check out the words of Shane Claiborne from his book "Becoming the Answer to our Problems."
"We live in difficult days. The hungry are not just hungry. Often they are also our enemies. Drug addiction and mental illness make many who are hungry hard to deal with. They threaten us. Others have been hungry for so long that they are angry, even at those who want to help. We worry about how to protect ourselves from them while at the same time feeling guilty for our complicity in their poverty. So we give to charities. And charities become the brokers for our compassion toward the poor.
The problem with this is that we never get to know the poor. Though we have been made children of God together with them in Jesus Christ, we never sit down to eat with our hungry brothers and sisters. We never hear their stories. We never learn to see the world through their eyes..."
"There will always be poor in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward those of your people who are poor and who live in the land." - Deuteronomy 15:11. To live God's way of life in the wold is to know that the poor are our brothers and sisters..." - Shane Claiborne, Becoming the Answer to our Prayers
Keep watching for the gift release of Dear World - coming in just 2 days on Saturday, March 13th.
"I found more truth in drugs than I did in the church."
- Anonymous Street Person, excerpted from Dear World.
It's a common fact among the church. Many of us have lost our flavor. We do not represent our Lord as we ought. Our desires for a life of ease, comfort, and stability often overcome the intensity of our call.
How tragic that many of the homeless are on the street because they have lost faith in the church.
Despite the plethora of ministries that the church may offer to the homeless - soup kitchens, assistance programs, food banks, etc. how interesting it is that the homeless evaluate the church - not based on it's service - but by it's faith; Faith that is rooted and grounded unshakably in the Truth of God's Word.
Of course, we cannot place entire blame on the church. Personal responsibility is required no matter the circumstances of our lives. But in the last few years, from the church has come a great deal of abuse, scandal, judgement; why then are we surprised when those who are struggling shrug off any help from such a source?
It is possible to reverse this issue. To restore faith in the church, by the church restoring it's unrelenting faith in God.
And to this end, Dear World may help you answer the question: "How can the church affect homelessness?"
You can read about it yourself at midnight on Saturday, March 13th, 2010, in the digital campaign and gift release of Dear World on the 2 year anniversary of this Revolutionary Media project.
Be a part of a revolution to affect the homeless through the hands and feet of Jesus.
In approximately six days, you just may find out the answer to this question, once and for all.
At midnight on Saturday, March 13th, Revolutionary Media will be releasing Dear World to the public.
What's the best part about this?
You don't have to order it, and you don't have to wait to read it.
In fact, we think you will be shocked with the way Revolutionary Media is bringing it to you.
Stay tuned. Be prepared to join the revolution. And spread the word with us.
"We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty..." - Mother Theresa
Before today, I didn't know that portraits could have a smell. But they do actually. And - don't get me wrong - it's not because I'm not paying attention to hygiene; I smell like portraits because that's what I did today. I spent one hour taking portraits of the common people of India. These are the ones who spend most hours of their days working in their shops along the main streets. They are those whom we westerners would call "blue collar workers" in the most hardcore sense.
The Indian people don't seem to be much concerned with cleanliness or hygiene. Garbage is strewn in piles all along the streets. Sidewalks double for makeshift bathroom stalls, and the sewage slowly drips into the drains with an other worldly stench. Fingernails are grown out for, well, let's just say "business" purposes. And the dirt; the dirt of cars, bikes, rig-shaws, buses, and animals fills the air and dusts you with a layer of grime from things of which you don't want to know. It is in such an environment that the people of India work and labor, day after day, after day.
Today, these are the people of whom I took portraits.
I think had you been out there on the streets with me, there would have been times you would have been uncomfortable. Not because of the dirt, but because of the nature of the location. The percentage of men in public places compared to the percentage of woman is vastly different - even startlingly different. Typically, if I am in an international location, I will try to take portraits of women and children - certainly not approaching men. I don't want to give the wrong impression [I think you'd be glad of that. ;-) You trained me well...]. Here, it is almost impossible to just go to the streets and take portraits of the women. Either they are not around, or they are shy and won't allow you to do so.
Today was interesting. I found myself following the hand motions of men and children who wanted me to take portraits of them in their work environment. The rig-shaw drivers in their rigs-haws. The shop owners with workers of their shop. I was surprised - especially after previous experience - to be the one being approached for photos of the people. It was delightful actually. Being able to give joy to these people who invest so much of their time and energy into survival.
I promise, I've never been on the street in a completely dangerous situation - I mean, it is India after all. But overall, there have been very few times I've felt uncomfortable with my camera out among the locals. I've been surrounded by street children, old men, families, and other such crowds with nothing but a firm grip on my camera and a friend somewhere nearby to keep me. Of course, there's the greatest Protector of all who is also watching my back.
What I enjoy about going out to photograph India, is that I never know what I'm going to find. I never know what kind of opportunity I may have to photograph. In fact, so far I've gone into my times to shot with a mindset precisely the opposite of the photographs I capture. If I go out with an intense purpose to get portraits, the time and place doesn't really work out; but if I go out casually for shots of India in general - like today - I come upon the most beautiful people I have ever seen and am privilege to capture some of the most beautiful portraits I have ever taken.
Sure, I smell like portraits. I smell like the real workers and citizens of India. But it's a smell that will wash off. It will eventually go away.
I also come away with something that will never fade.
That is why I don't mind.
In fact, I kind of hope that I get to smell this way again. And soon.
Over one hundred years old, this building made of brick and stone holds worship services based on age old traditions. A steeple rose high above the compound. Hymnals and prayer books sat stacked on an old wooden stand. The pews were of carved wood and at their base were prayer cushions for worshipers to kneel. The windows were stained glass framed under beautiful arches. The women entered the church and with sovereign reverence pulled their scarves over their heads.
From all my travels and visiting churches, I've never seen anything quite like this. I've never experienced a service more beautifully reverent. I think you would have been as awe struck as I.
I confess, the formal service was heartfelt and sincere, but far more worshipful than most churches I have attended. Perhaps the stillness and quiet limited distractions. Perhaps the speaking of the church together in unison provided a focus. Perhaps the solemn atmosphere directed attention to a throne room that is other worldly.
I am not altogether sure, even now, how or why, but in those few hours I felt with absolute certainty that God was filled with pleasure at the worship of His people. And despite everything you and I have discussed regarding churches and their organized worship services, I think I would like to go back every now and then. And I think you would have been as awe struck as I.
Perhaps that holy, reverent, still, and quiet worship is something that we all need from time to time. The removal of personalities and preferences, performances and projectors actually gave me the ability to focus my vision as if we were in the very throne room of God. I am not saying that such things in their place are irreverent - not at all. But the removal of these elements provided for an opportunity to focus, wholly and incomparably on the worship of God.
It makes me wonder what our lives would look like if we were able to simplify. Remove all distractions of emotionalism, intellectualism, personalities, and trends enough to make God the everything of day to day worship. Would my idea of fellowship with Him be different? Would my attention span to still and quiet meditation become more lasting? Could my expectation change; be transformed from a worship that is led by entertainment, to a worship that is led by the still and small voice of God?
It actually causes me to question my own creation of art. Are my photos or projects artistic pieces that entertain, or that allow people to see the Holiness of God, and inspire a life of worshipful reverence? In the end, that is what I want my art to inspire. And that is what I want to live by.