“You’re Probably a Have”

If you bought or own the tools to buy something online this year, you are in an elite economic group; the haves. This is the result of globalization and a growing divide in our national and world economy. It is a two-tiered economy of haves and have-nots. You may not have thought about it before and maybe don’t consider yourself in the ‘have’ group of wealthy people (as we have traditionally thought of this term). But if you own a bank account, credit or debit card, a computer, smart phone, and internet (whether dial up or broadband) you possess the tools to be a part of the thriving global economy.

Choice-what we treasure as people-is at your fingertips. If you possess none of the tools I mentioned above, you are relegated to the selection of the stores or shops in close proximity to you. If the merchandise you want isn’t on the shelf in front of you at the time you are in a store, you are forced to purchase what lays before you…no choice.

The global economy raises social and spiritual questions for me. How will we engage our world economically? What is my responsibility as a human being to help the have nots? How will the haves connect with the have nots if it is easier and easier to isolate ourselves by the touch of a mouse for purchasing what we need or desire? As a believer in Christ, what is my spiritual responsibility to others less fortunate? If I can purchase electronically, I actually have no further need to even be in proximity myself to those who do not have resources available to them. I can by choice become more isolated, and by implication make others irrelevant to me and my situation.

I don’t have many or all the answers to the ramification of this kind of world. There are many good books and those speaking about it in our world. Ron Sider is one I recommend who might help you (as he has me) think through this perplexity.

But from the computer sitting on my lap in my wireless connected, broadband home (I know I am a have), I want to challenge you to consider your response both socially and spiritually. I cannot answer all the questions you might raise in your own heart, but I encourage you to consider working through your local church (if you participate in one), work with the Salvation Army, United Way Agencies, and also global agencies that are trying to help those caught in the lowest tier of our global economy. One agency I recommend is the India Gospel League. I have personally witnessed the changes in people’s lives through this organization on my own travels in India. Or “Word Made Flesh;” an organization that a young friend of mine has given his life to for the purpose of bringing peace and equality in a divided world. These two agencies I highly recommend to you as a have.

You’re a have because you are reading this blog. The question is, “What will you do about your status through your actions and in the attitude of your heart?”

Blessings for this day…grace and peace to you.
David Neidert

“Keep Blogging”

The past twenty four hours have been rewarding and humbling. Over these hours it was my privilege to talk with a person via Email helping them think of ways to engage a family member diagnosed in the past 48 hours or so with a high level prostate cancer. As the shock turned to seeking information, the person went to the internet to find assistance. They came across my own blog and honest sharing about my journey with prostate cancer. They found it useful and I was blessed to guide them in this unexpected place in their lives.

When writing a blog, one always wonders “who cares?” It might feel like you are writing just for yourself. And realistically for the most part, we probably are. Most people probably skip over them when posted or shared in places like Facebook or Twitter or the blog is simply “not their cup of tea.” But what I discovered in this exchange is that if my blogging helps just one person out of 6 billion on the planet, it was well worth it.

The lesson for me and I hope for you is keep blogging. It may be that neither you nor I will ever get recognized for anything we write. Maybe we will get a “hit” now and again. But if your words of encouragement, guidance, experience or insight help one…it has been worth the time and effort.

Blessings to all bloggers. Keep at it because one may never know the impact your experiences might have in another’s life. Grace and peace.
David Neidert

“Yes, Virginia, you can be a Leader.”

“I don’t think women can lead.” This was the statement uttered confidently by a women being interviewed on the radio from a group in Iowa labeled Christian Conservative. The large group was being interviewed about the Republican presidential debate, the upcoming primary, and why a person would or would not vote for a particular candidate. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was summarily dismissed as a candidate by this woman, not because she lacks character, logic, leadership abilities, no vision, or any other reason. Bachmann may not be able to lead for a whole host of arguments, but being a woman is not one of them.

I have to say this statement pushed me over the edge and into this writing to affirm from my Christian perspective and study of the Bible that God calls, equips, and places women in roles of leadership.

I won’t make the laundry list….it would be pages and thousands of names long. An almost endless number of women have effectively and with vision lead nations, NGOs, universities, states, churches, businesses, etc., etc., etc. As a Christian, however, I now realize a statement like the one uttered this morning is based on personal opinion and little to do with intense scholarly exegesis or study of scripture, household codes of the ancient world which is the context of the Bible in these passages, or examinations of western church dogma as it plays on one’s opinions. Statements like these don’t pay any attention to the gospels and Jesus’ affirmation of women as disciples nor Paul’s overall tone in his letters about women and their roles as leaders, deaconesses and coordinators of the early church. One text…one text in Timothy…not fully examined has been read in such a way as to relegate women to second class roles and status. Even the Genesis text has been misused to simply dismiss women as equal partners. All the references to chapter three of Genesis of man being over women is after the “Fall” if one reads the context; chapter three is not the created order God desired. It is the order after sin and disobedience had entered into the world. The ideal described in scripture of women and men is in the first two chapters that the two should be one and in a partnership with each other.

It saddens me that these texts and others have been used to tell women they cannot lead. I have personally talked with young women called by God to serve in ministry and leadership roles who agonize over what they know God has placed on their hearts because people use the Bible to blast them or tell them they are unworthy of leading because they are women.

I believe we serve a God who calls all people to serve him where he appoints them and equips them. I believe the Holy Spirit equips and guides all people to lead within the kingdom. I believe Christ invites all people to be his disciples and lead the structures of the world where they have the ability. Women and men; men and women, partners in kingdom work and ministering through the structures of this world.

“Yes, Virginia, you can be a leader” and if you want support, drop me a note and I will supply you with all the resources you need to affirm, guide, and encourage you in the journey.

Blessings for this day. Grace and peace as you thoroughly study the sacred texts we hold dear.

David Neidert