Friday, April 28, 2006

suffer the little children

Since the day I stood in the orphanage in Fenyi and felt overwhelmed with the sense of the presence of Jesus in such a difficult place, I have felt this growing awareness of the plight of children around the world. Over the last couple of weeks, I have found myself in tears over and over again about what is happening to kids in this jacked up world. Some links.

invisible children - a documentary made by some college students about the children of Uganda who are abducted and forced into either sexual slavery or battle as soldiers. A fourteen year old boy at the end of the "rough cut" says.
“I have nothing. I don’t even have a blanket. We don’t have anything to do with food. Maybe we can eat once a day… so it is better when you kill us. And, if possible you can kill us, you kill us. For us, we don’t want now to stay. …no one taking care of us. We are not going to school...”

the children of Chernobyl - a photo essay on Slate about the children of the people exposed in the incident 20 years ago. Some of the pictures are very dificult to see, so be warned.

little league baseball - Almost every day I see these guys that C plays ball with. Some of them are desperate for approval. Some of them have such twisted around family lives that my house seems like something out of the 50s to them. Some of them live with non-stop verbal abuse. Some of them live in silence from their parents. Some of them are angry, some are hurt, some are scared, some are already "tough" - not letting anything hurt them. We play teams with kids who have had baseball as their full-time job since they were 6 who's parent's judge the value of their kids (and their own personal value btw) based on performance on the field.

Lots of people in sociology will tell me that childhood is a relatively new social construct and that the protection of a time of "innocence" when kids can just be kids isn't necessarily good or guaranteed. I say that's garbage. Kids aren't miniature adults. No, we shouldn't hide them away and keep them isolated from every bad thing that could possibly happen to them over the course of their young lives. But shouldn't we at least do what we can as parents / adults to not add to the crap they already have to work through? Shouldn't followers of Jesus be bothered about kids that are kidnapped into slavery or abandoned by the thousands or die because they don't have a $3 bed net to protect them from malaria or $1 worth of food? Isn't a response to this that does more than yawn or throw a couple of dollars at it or change the channel?
Enough, I'm raving and that's not the point. Go to the links above. Look around at the kids in your world. Find ways to be Jesus to the little ones. Even the little ones who don't look like you or live where you live. Like Peter Pan told the Lost Boys "Look after everyone smaller than you."

"let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." - Jesus (Luke 18:16)


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