Two thing happened yesterday that left me confused, disoriented, and depressed:
One, This American Life retracted the Apple Story by Mike Daisy. This was a podcast which talked about Daisy going to factories in China that made Apple products and exposing the less-than-ideal conditions. There are some serious fabrications in the story, so it is being pulled. I am bummed because this was the most popular podcast ever of TAL, and it spurred Apple to change come of their policies in light of all the (negative) attention. I thought it was amazing because it helped break down that third “wall” of activism: we will care about anything until you start to ask us to change our lives drastically. Because it was such an impactful story, I am sad to know that it was built on some distortions.
Two, one of the main dudes over at Invisible Children was arrested for some not-nice things yesterday (think MASSIVE public meltdown). There seems to be some elements of a break with reality to his behavior. In light of all the attention (both positive and negative) that Kony2012 has been getting lately, this is just another element that distracts from the reality of the situation. I am sad, for everyone involved.
I am emotionally involved in both of these stories: I love Mac products, but I am wary of the capitalist systems that have some of the very poor create products for the very rich. Invisible Children really impacted me when I saw it several years ago. I was eventually rubbed the wrong way by the intense hipster-ness of the founders, but that doesn’t mean their cause is not a just one. More importantly, my sister and her husband have spent a lot of time in Sudan/Uganda/the Congo working with child soldiers that were abducted by the LRA. Kids who are floundering in orphanages, kids with severe mental health issues, kids who never got to be kids. When you hear those stories, you just can’t believe it is still going on. 20 years later.
The world can seem so hopelessly broken sometimes. What is the strangest thing of all is how we like to kick the people who are actually in the trenches, or being the whistle blowers of the trenches. And sure, sometimes those whistle blowers are attention-seekers, braggarts, insecure, broken people. And when they fall, we shake our heads and continue to do nothing ourselves about these situations.
I have recently realized that I tend to disqualify people quite easily from ministering in the kingdom of God: too bossy, too busy, too entrenched in life. But the whole narrative of the gospel is about using the weak to confound the wise. To use the weaker vessels, the bruised reeds, the socially hopeless and the sinner in need of a savior. God does not disqualify people like I do. He uses them, while I sit on the sidelines and make mental notes. And he gently asks me to stop, and to come and join him in the messy business of bringing the kingdom. There isn’t enough time to be depressed, or judgmental, or to even wallow in very much introspection. The kingdom of heaven is at hand.