What happens to our humanity if we switch off to the needs of those around us?
I’ve worked as a travelling roadshow salesman of causes for over a decade. In that time I’m guessing I’ve spoken to in excess of 100,000 people in community groups, churches, and schools across Victoria and Tasmania. I speak about issues that relate to us all, about our shared humanity in our global world.
I sell ideas of a better world. I wake people from the slumber of ignorance, indifference and mediocrity. I’m an advocate for those who have no voice, those who can’t be heard, of those we don’t want to hear about.
I connect people with meaning. I seek to be an authentic voice of purpose. I give people a grip on reality and handles of hope for a better tomorrow. I invite people to action. I encourage people towards a wholistic spirituality and a more compassionate humanity.
I am a change agent. I am a prophetic mobiliser. I am your proverbial pain in the butt.
But right now, as I read and hear about the cries of children far flung across this small world of ours, I grieve. For I have no answers, only questions. I find myself asking, what’s the point? Can I really make a difference?
I find myself pondering the enormity, complexity and seeming endlessness of the problems across the globe. In my own mind and my own heart it’s creating a philosophical tsunami that swamps my own sense of meaning, purpose and hope. I find myself asking: can I with integrity, with congruity, and with confidence continue to be a voice for the voiceless?
Yet as I reflect upon this intrinsic tension I find myself unable to walk away. How can I do anything else?
A famous scholar once said that when all is boiled down, faith hope and love remain. He says that the greatest of these is love. The Black Eyed Peas sang “where is the love?”
God knows the world needs love, to see love, to receive love. Not merely a nepotistic patronizing romantic love espoused in movies. Rather, a robust, sacrificial and other-centred love. The most influential historical figure this modern world knows, Jesus, came to show love, to demonstrate love, to be love. (This is in no way suggesting that love cannot be found, experienced nor expressed outside of Jesus – simply naming my own worldview).
To be change I must change. “The most powerful agent of growth and transformation is something much more basic than any technique: a change of heart.” Heart surgery is delicate, deliberate and directed. It is also bloody uncomfortable. If I choose to ignore or overlook my own prejudices and frequent (mis)perceptions around conflicts, causes and conversations within my own communities, work spaces and families, am I truly any different? Do I have the courage to confront my own humanity, my own heart, as I seek to speak about the inhumanity of others?
So against the odds, against the grain of my own self-interests, against the comfort of acceptance and popularity, I continue to front up, to face up, to stand up, to speak up. I choose to front up to my own limitations. I choose to face up to my own fears and insecurities. I choose to stand up knowing that I’m in the firing line. I choose to speak up knowing that there will be those who won’t listen. I choose to not stay silent. I choose to be a change agent.