October 21, 2008

The Global Parish

SHARED LEARNING || SUSTAINABILITY || HUMANITARIAN AID

As we enter into year three at Vox, we want to start taking steps in being involved with what God's doing globally. In the era of globalization, we are becoming more aware that how we live, what we buy, and our daily choices affect the global community in real often damaging ways. Paradoxically, we are living in a country that uses up over 33% of the world's resources, while at the same time the US is amongst the top ten most generous countries in the world. Somehow there's disconnect in how we live and how the rest of the world perceives our generosity. The goal this year leading up to our Vox Community Getaway is to have some intentional dialogue toward how we as a local Austin community can be a part of what God's doing around the world. We ask that the Spirit will start working through our conversations and together we find meaningful and tangible ways of being a part of the global parish.

Our three main global values are: shared learning, sustainability, and humanitarian aid.

Shared Learning — For too long, the West is still rooted in a coloniastic notion that somehow because we are viewed as a powerful, rich, and advanced culture, the rest of the world needs us and we are the caretakers of what it means to be human. We have much to learn from other cultures and we need to take a stance of humility and teachability as we engage with others. The hope is that we can come to the global conversation as a learner and cultivate global partnerships where we can look back and say we are a better 'church' because of our relationships globally. During neighborhoods, we will start relearning global issues and learn how Christianity and the Western influence has helped and hindered the presence of Christ. We will actively seek grassroots ministries in other countries and begin creating a global network.

Sustainability — Although the US leads the world in giving amounts, but somehow it seems other countries are able to do much more with much less. According to World Christian News, the personal income of church members in 2004 is $15,198 billion and $270 billion are givings to Christian causes. How is it that we can have so much and give a good amount and yet there's still so much need around us globally. The question we need to ask is in the name of 'missions', are we doing enough? We hope is that we can become good stewards with what God has given us and develop innovative ideas around sustainability. We are having these conversations with our existing partnerships in India and Afghanistan and hope to play a large role in helping create self-sustaining businesses to further their ministries. We are in the process of developing a professions database to bring people with different skills sets together to help build up viable business plans for our partners.

Humanitarian Aid — The reality is that though we have much to learn from other cultures, there are people everywhere dying daily from hunger, no access to clean water, AIDS, and ethnic cleansing. The plethora of needs can lead to paralysis of action. As a local church community, what is our piece in the broader global story? What are some interventions that we want to be involved with? Global awareness and knowing our interconnectedness with global communities through what we consume affects our daily lives. How can we attune ourselves to issues outside of our little context and be more aware and active to things globally?