April
23
2019
Author
Alastair McIver
From apathy to action

If I asked you, ‘What is the greatest global scourge of mankind today?’ I wonder what you would say.

I’m talking the big things of life here, the things that seem unimaginable, untouchable, unreachable by those who wish to see them change for the better.

Perhaps you are an environmentalist, and worry about pollution, plastic in our oceans, global warming, the planet? That’s a big one.

Or how about drugs and drug trafficking, which kill and bring misery to millions around the world? What about sexual exploitation of minors, or even adults? Or the sexual abuse of men, or women? Or the trafficking of children for profit?

There is more. How about corruption, knife crime, adultery, family breakdown, domestic violence, loneliness, or poverty?

If there is a pecking order that we in the church should be following in response to need in the world, what is it?

Whatever your particular concern, it seems to me that all of life’s many afflictions have one thing in common. They all come out of the myriad of corrupt behaviours which create a damaged world, the cobweb of confusion which, when interlinked, brings misery and mayhem to countries and communities, high streets and homes, and individual hearts. We in the church call it sin, and its wages lead to death and destruction.

So how can the church possibly make a difference against such odds? For that matter, how can the unchurched, the charities, the not for profit organisations, make an impact?

For my answer I turn to the Bible. I am encouraged by its heroes, those whom God used to bring comfort to the lowly and meek, food to the hungry, and water to the thirsty. Many – you could argue all – of those heroes were simple, ordinary, even reluctant folk, who seemed ill-equipped to take on the challenges they faced.

So whatever our circumstances, we need not feel ill-equipped or disenfranchised from the solutions to life’s challenges. The Bible is full of doubting warriors who went into battle against the odds, and came out victorious. That is because they also had faith on their side, for if God is with us, who can be against us?

If you are one of the many, like me, who have an issue on your heart but don’t quite know how to respond, maybe now is the time to stand up and deliver the love and hope that we sing about in our churches every week. Even for me, in the autumn of my working life, I am blessed to be serving survivors of domestic violence and trafficking here in the UK through the restorative and healing work of Talitha Arts charity. I’m nothing special, but God has a special plan for me to serve special people.

And he has one for you

The starting point might be to join – or even start – a group in your church or community. Do your research and take advice from a local charity or church before embarking on anything too radical, of course, but advocating for a cause draws people into it. If you are a praying person, that is certainly something you could organise, and again, your preferred Christian charity website would certainly have some prayer points on it for you to follow.

You could take it one step further, and engage yourself with a charity, supporting its open days, volunteering to help in its office, or remotely from home, maybe even training at the front end of its work, if you feel so called. Most charities, like Talitha for example, which works in recovery, offer training in arts therapy. Others may welcome your gifts and skills in other areas.

More locally, could you help in a hostel, a ‘safe’ house, or a home? Of course you would have to go through a rigorous induction, and rightly so, but if your heart is to help others in this area, why not?

Are you a counsellor, or have you ever considered it? Trauma counselling is a specialist area of need in the sector. Again, it’s another route to help in a practical way.

This is the 21st century. We, us, you and I, are the church. We may not be very good at it, but we are the church. And whatever season of our lives we find ourselves occupying, our ongoing calling is to deliver God’s love into every situation we encounter or are called into, whatever our age, abilities or circumstances. We can be reluctant, and ill-equipped, and may feel that we are the least and the last, like King David, but none of us are un-callable.

Today is not a good day for the millions (over 40 million to be precise), who are experiencing the traumas of trafficking, but it is a good day for those who feel called to respond to it. Unlikely people are sitting in church pews awaiting the call that has already been put on their lives but hasn’t been acted upon.

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Alastair McIver is Head of Fundraising and Advocacy at Talitha ArtsTo contact him, email alastair@talitha.org.uk


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