This quote from actor Morgan Freeman made me take some time from my busy schedule and think about what it was saying. We need to love and respect one another. Sadly, that’s something terrorists don’t understand. Theirs is a message of hate and destruction. They teach their children to hate both with stinging words of condemnation and death from being taught as a child how to kill people with a machine gun. All of us are equal in the eyes of God. Yet, with all our intelligence, the dream Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had for a society that treated people of all colors equally has not happened. We have come a long way in advancing racial equality. But I can’t help but think if moving forward we were more committed to it rather than creating walls of division, we could move further on the path towards equality. With all the moving forward there has been in treating the disabled as equals in the life of our communities many still remain poor. I could cite all kinds of statistics to verify these points but often statistics are used to blur the reality that we are facing now as will our children. To have one disabled person denied an opportunity for a career and to be a taxpayer is one too many. All I’m saying is that while we can rejoice over the successes of the disabled who get a job or further their education, we must not rest on our laurels. No disabled person or anyone should be sentenced to a life of joy-stealing and spirit-killing poverty.
With all the moving forward there has been in treating the disabled as equals in the life of our communities many still remain poor. I could cite all kinds of statistics to verify these points but often statistics are used to blur the reality that we are facing now as will our children. People need to start seeing beyond the numbers and look at each person as a soul who deserves the same opportunities as anyone else if those individuals are willing to work hard to achieve their dreams. To have one disabled person or anyone denied an opportunity for a career and to be a taxpayer is one too many. All I’m saying is that while we can rejoice over the successes of the disabled and others who get a job or further their education, we must not rest on our laurels. No disabled person or anyone should be sentenced to a life of joy-stealing and spirit-killing poverty.
Seven billion people working together could accomplish great things! If each person gave only $1 for poverty alleviation efforts that would be 7,000,000,000 dollars for its programs. Think of the many people that could lift out of poverty. Think about the many people who would be able to be given grants and/or loans to start their own business or go to university to further their education. Think about how many food banks would be overflowing with food. Think about all the malnourished infants and children we could feed and save from an agonizing death of wasting away slowly and painfully. How many people could be given vaccines to treat or prevent serious diseases? How many people would get medication to reduce HIV? How many community centers could be staffed for programs to keep kids and teenagers from joining gangs? How many people would be able to say goodbye to poverty and hello to a life free from it?
The choice rests with us about what kind of world we want to build.
I’m deeply concerned how we live in an age of increasing materialism. There is this unhealthy competition to keep up with the latest technology your neighbors have. You may still have a TV like us that is not that fancy. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles. The essential thing is it works. Do any of us need a 500 channel satellite package? None of us even if we sat in front of the TV for 16 hours every day only taking time to eat could watch 500 channels. We watch mostly what I record on our personal video recorder (PVR). There’s so much TV programming that is dark we avoid. There’s so little really fine quality TV programming among all the garbage.
It’s a matter of one’s perspective what is perceived as being important. If we focused more on helping others and less on crass materialism, we would build more beautiful communities.
I have worked many years in social advocacy. I know this article won’t change the current status quo. But if I get just one person thinking about what he or she can do to have a more caring community where they live, I will have accomplished something.
I asked God this question. What are You doing to create a more beautiful world? He said to me, “What are you doing about it?”
That’s the question we all need to ask.
Kevin and Karen Osborne are psychotherapists and pastoral counselors. Kevin is a chaplain. He also feels called to be a professor of Psychology specializing in Pastoral Theology. Karen is the Director of a women’s abuse shelter. She enjoys doing cross-stitch while I like writing and singing songs. Karen makes me laugh when she sings the kitty bed-time song saying, “It’s that time. It’s the bestest kitty time of the day!” Kevin enjoys teasing the kitties and making them do kitty dances with music. Their kitty, Catherine, loves it when kitty daddeh sings All Things Bright and Beautiful. Kevin likes doing impressions. He tells children’s stories and helps others with their problems using his hand puppets, Dr. Teddy, who is a therapy teddy bear, and Mike the Moose from Matheson. This is a small town in northern Ontario, Canada, an hour’s drive south of the city of Timmins. Dr. Teddy and Mike the Moose from Matheson are consultants with us in our counselling practice.We are available to assist with worship and preaching to give busy ministers a much-needed break. We offer in-office, and phone counselling to anyone in the world.