There was just a little boy on the side of the highway with a bike. Where is he going, where’s he coming from? Does he have a family?
Most likely school… and then probably family, though broken by the previous generation’s genocide.
On bus rides through Cambodia you pass lots of temples and the monks in their orange.
Imagine if churches were as prevalent like wats. What a different place this would be.
And like you see with Chinese Christians, persecution forces them to make an all or nothing choice. A decision with mighty power. So yes we need to pray for safety but you do see the passion that comes out when people really have forsaken all else but Jesus.
And that’s why some of my biggest, unexpected tests are in America- because of the comfort and half-energy of Christianity. It’s just so easy. But then so hard. So hard to get into gear amongst a satisfied generation. A poor nation realizes their need, a wealthy nation’s citizen has to have their eyes opened to their spiritual desperation despite physical comfort.
And that’s why, when I think of it- we’re aiming to give that to Cambodia, a third world country- we want them to have physical provision of need, which God desires. But the western ideals of comfort here have squelched joy intrinsic to their culture- you can just see this while looking at the faces of the people driving cars. Through the tinted glass windows you see focused obnoxiousness reminiscent of New York traffic… while us in the opened-air tuktuks have access to real life of people. And I suppose it’s the clash of warm weather and cold climate cultures. Communities, when sanctioned off into comfortable boxes, are no longer communities. They are individualistic colonies separated by temperature gages. Who would expect this in the dream of comfort?
Oh yes, often it is completely necessary. We do need to live. But we must not forget that apart from our imagined need for comfort is a genuine need for human connection and interaction.
And now, in our individual colonies? We’ve geen given a small dose of community to satisfy a groaning desperation. Texting, Twitter, Facebook. Avoiding the inconveniences of real community.
We want them to be a developed nation.
Yes, they desperately need health care and clean water and shoes.
But in gaining cars and computers sometimes I feel like we’re stealing their joy just like technology stole ours so long ago without us realizing it. Do we want them to be like western children? The way I would have been brought up- everything held out to me on a silver platter?
But through it all, despite physical circumstance, everyone could admit their desire for love. This intrinsic need, their appetite only whetted by things like community and technology.
Because where would we be without Jesus in any society?
So that little boy with his bike on the side of the road in the Cambodian countryside is just as spiritually hungry as an American boy in front of a TV with a piece of pizza.
We are all in need.
And we cannot teach them that happiness can be bought, poor or rich alike. For I can trick myself into thinking that by making a child happy with a toy is a long-term accomplishment. Giving comfort is dangerous without Jesus. Dangerous because we can teach people that the basis of their joy is that iPod, that car.
Western societies have the power and resources to understand the lie of materialism. Poorer societies, on the other hand, have the power and lack of resources to understand that happiness is often found in relationship, community.
So. All in need.
All humans in need of Jesus.
That’s a community worth fighting for.