upper room daily devotions

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

backpack journalist update on congo

As Christians move closer to the start of Advent, it's easy to let ourselves spiritualize the season in an unhelpful way that negates or diminishes the physicality of the world in which we live. The political, military, and economic powers of this world free or oppress, lift up or press down, empower or disempower. Our faith and our spiritual journeys do not take place outside of this world and the structures that create its framework. We live in this world. We are products of this world. And, we have a responsibility to participate in the redemption of this world.

Advent is a season of waiting and preparation for the Incarnation, Emmanuel - God with Us. As such, rather than fleeing the world of the physical for a spiritualization of the problems, challenges, and solutions of it, Advent invites us further into the mess and muck of this world. That is, after all, what Christmas is - God entering into the poverty and oppression of the world in the form of the weakest among us - a child.

In this light, I lift up again the events in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While there are many positive and wonderful things transpiring there, I think it's important for us also to realize that one of the world's worst humanitarian and ecological crises is also taking place there. Fighting continues in the North Kivu Province in and around Goma and the Virunga National Park. Here is a backpack journalist's video report on the situation.

Let me also add that CBS's 60 Minutes has been filming on how the fighting and the insatiable for charcoal are affecting the gorilla population. You can read more about this upcoming report on Wildlife Direct's website.

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