Essays, Opinions

Spiritually broken?

I’ve been reading the blogs of a few big-name bloggers who recently went on a “mission trip” to Africa. While there, they learned what poverty looks like, up close and personal. They encouraged their readers to sponsor children. They saw both the natural wonders of the area they were in, and the misery of the people.

Several have said that they’ve come back, and are feeling spiritually broken – under attack – because they feel overwhelmed by this new knowledge, and by the comparison of their very comfortable lives at home to the lives of their hosts.

I think, though, that they’re not any more broken than they were when they left…it’s just that they see their disconnection from the world now, whereas before they could safely ignore what their consciences told them was true: Most of us talk a good game, but rarely get off the couch, and when we do, it’s only to move to a slightly less comfy position.

We don’t step out of our comfort zones.

We don’t help people who don’t look/act/think like us.

We think taking care of the earth means separating paper and plastic for the recycling guy to pick up.

I think being more mindful of our place in the world and the privledges we have come to expect is a good thing; I don’t think beating ourselves up over it serves any purpose other than to look for a way to close the door on the knowledge that we *are* separated from the world around us by the things we say and do.

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