iBlog: Perspective and Authentic Faith


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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Perspective and Authentic Faith

Perspective and Authentic Faith

So Reality is come to a conclusion and the leaders are giving themselves a well deserved hearty pat on the back. The face of Norwich is unalterably changed by the week of litter picking and fence painting, and not even the front page of the Norwich Advertiser could escape this movement of God.

And while fifty percent of the populus of Swaziland live either below or far below the poverty line, and six in ten are HIV positive, and while the world willfully turns a blind eye to 1500 a day being killed in the Congo, and while it would need a mere hundredth of the world's arms budget to sponsor EVERY child's schooling in the world, all we do is weed a handful of gardens and put up a couple of plaques to appease our Christian consciences.

I try not to spout statistics too much lest it encourage complacency towards the very thing they, quote rightly, serve to highlight. And even Google image search can make us happy-Westerners with our freshly painted school railings accustomed to the gulf between everything we can waste away and that for which so many walk for days.

At Fridays a long time ago I shared my Word about Swaziland (listen here, takes about ten minutes, but has the lovely Bex Wright so it's not all me yabbering away), and much as everyone seemed to expect me to dash over for a six week orphan-cuddling session and return with a camera memory card full of love, I've always maintained whatever it is I do over there will be much bigger than a temporary fleeting ``hello, have a hug and an injection and t'raa`` sort of mission. And whatever it is I'll do won't be until I've been much much much much more prepared by God than this mess of Ben that I am now, because putting this Ben into something so serious as a person's heart and life is a very silly idea indeed (and please believe me when I assure you I don't do false modesty!)

Projects like iThemba and live8 are humblingly awesome, and almost push into insignificance things like FM and highlight how much of a complete waste of money things like SITC are. Take Soul Survivour for example, 22,000 people * £75 a pop to do this (*Statistics courtesy of `Adam` at Soul Survivour helpline)

Now without meaning to revert back to statistics, a year of Soul Survivour admissions alone cost roughly the same as 1,650,000 British standard pounds. That's the same as 453,750,000 opal fruits! (Assuming the standard 11 per 25p packet).

Not quite sure where this is all leading yet? In the words of the most annoying exam questions: `Compare and contrast the above extract`. It never ceases to amaze me how indulgent and narrow mindedly petty us Western Christians are. Carl picks this theme up here about how with all the issues in the world at date and how with everything there is to object to and all the pathetic sickening poverty and violence that pervails all around us, us loving (and moreover, insightful as to the real meaning of Christian love) Christians claim to deplore, we occupy our over-exploited precious time with such pithy inconsequential embarrassing evangelical faux pas.

Don't get me wrong, I realise I'm no more than an armchair savoiur, I could blog all the way to global economic homogeneity and still not bring it an inch closer by any actual action. But I do rather believe the first step (after affirming what love means as Authentic Faith) is to put into perspective what the dickens is going on in this little embarrassment we call `the world`! Five Iron Frenzy say this:

When truth can be so distant
and hope evades our reach
Peter swam across the water
and found it on the beach

And if you choose to put this moral corruption into a single perspective, the maxim would be this:

The West get richer at the expense of those who cannot afford to be party to it. The Lights on the Hill are obliged to deplore such an act then, patting their fair trade box of tea, return to lives as dastardly as befitting the West.

It's a sad truth and not much can be done about it... especially while I type and you read at our £350 computers in our high street jeans. That is other than volunteer to make ourselves consciously aware of what's going on behind the scenes of all the news and spin and globalism that plagues our lives. And not in the `Oh dear that's a terrible tsunami, have three pounds` way or even a `fair trade biscuits taste disgusting but I buy them anyway` way – in a stark awareness of standing up and realising the beauty behind authentic faith.

For going out into the world as something deeper than the Biblicly selfish `let your light shine before men...` sense that inspired Reality, but with the pre-meditated guts and bone warts 'n' all under the surface subversive non celebrated love that becomes what you may call the Authentic Christian.

I think what makes love Authentic is that you feel there's a necessity rather than an urgency with regard to all the terrible scenarios I've outline above. Oppressed people become more than the mere `they're fellow human beings` philosophy that inspires Christians and non Christians alike. I think authentic love is also reflective and realises that hope, if there is any, lies in the NGOs and not the sporadic `I'm going to save a nation!` thinking that has more than a few running into the sunset with a Bible running rapidly behind.

Unlike the standard love-by-default (that I mentioned in my last blog), Authentic love asks `what can be best actioned to love those who need it most`? Sometimes love is staying at home and tything, at other times, it means to use the skills you've used as a doctor or architect in the West to be best applied where academia doesn't quite reach their part of the world. Sometimes Authentic love is saying war is needed for an eventual liberation of a tyrannical statesman. Perhaps Authentic love even says that for all the Christian festivals, jumping, overpriced speakers and tear jerking cathartic songs – maybe, just maybe, God would be more pleased if that blip on your bank statement would have been more lovingly channeled into cleaning a village's water supply or tending to anti-retroviral medications.


  • At 9:22 PM, Blogger Paul said…

    Did you know none of your links work?

  • At 7:57 AM, Blogger Ben F. Foster Esq. (c) said…

    er, until i have time to work out why, it may be a case of cicking them and pressnig f6 and editing the address until it looks right

  • At 4:12 PM, Blogger monty said…

    So are you saying that those that need help (whether practical or not) or those most in need?

    Do you think we should not be doing SITC or Reality because people elsewhere in the world are more important?

    If thats personal for you, great, but I find it uncomfortable that your quick to be negative at something that probably God has blessed and ordained?

    We should be all for the kingdom, irrespective of whether I give my next door neighbour a fiver for some food or I go and attempt to transform a country. God is the God of big and small.

    Neither do I think the leaders of Reality will be patting their backs, I am fairly sure knowing some of them of their humbleness....

  • At 7:59 PM, Blogger Ben F. Foster Esq. (c) said…

    I think, you've lost my point again, dear Monty.

    The above is about my new philosophy on Authentic Christianity and how
    perspective relates to faith.

    I've a great deal of respect for the Reality leaders and organisers, and
    I'd like to think if I wasn't at work (or in Derbyshire) I'd have taken
    an active part as a deligate... La and I even turned up to one of the
    prayer meetings when I was feeling off colour.

    Re-read the last paragraph and see how it relates specificly to
    perspective, not synacism (Sp?).

    Re: The patting of backs, what I mean is more what Phil said in a link
    I'm too lazy to link right now (his blog about the Reality Cafe and the
    running thereof).

    Ben Foster
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  • At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


  • At 6:04 PM, Blogger Timothy V Reeves said…

    Cynicism? Rubbish.

  • At 6:05 PM, Blogger Timothy V Reeves said…

    I'm mean the comments rubbish, not the post.


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