Red Letters

Slacktivism, “…usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction. The acts tend to require minimal personal effort from the slacktivist.” [Wikipedia]

Yesterday on this blog, I asked readers to purchase a t-shirt that could end up winning them a free mission trip. I also asked them to write a blog post of their own. At first glance, that might appear pretty slacktivist. Buy a shirt and write a post to “do” some good. Doesn’t require a tremendous amount of effort, and does provide some “feel good” satisfaction that your purchase is helping feed orphans in Haiti, and support sex trafficking survivors in Moldova.

The larger point was to inspire and activate people to get involved in long-term solutions to poverty and trafficking. We don’t want you to just buy a shirt or just enter a contest. We don’t want slackivists who are good at sharing social media, but unwilling to go further.

Read part of this very thoughtful post from Alexandra, a young woman who is raising money to go on a HopeChest mission trip to Swaziland. In it, you can tell that she has rejected slacktivism in favor of something more life-transforming. She writes…

As a college student who has lived a very comfortable life (in the sense that I have always had food, clothes, education, and family support) I feel an intense calling to give back to the world. If your brothers or sisters or friends are struggling, you help them. In my mind, it’s really that simple. It doesn’t matter where in the world your brothers, sisters, or friends are located, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve never met them. When you learn of their struggles, you don’t turn your back.

I want to go on the trip to Swaziland, not for fun, not for a vacation, but to start something bigger in my life. I want to dedicate my life to educating children and eradicating global poverty and for me, the logical first step is to visit the world and experience communities that do not have the luxuries I take for granted. I want to learn all I can from the people there so I can begin to understand what is needed to create change.

{Full Post Here}

There is nothing simple about extreme poverty. And there are no quick answers to problems like human trafficking.  These persistently complex problems will not be solved by a t-shirt or a mission trip contest.

But they will be solved by passionate people like Alexandra who double-down on Jesus’ teachings in the Gospel.

The Gospel demands that our lives become intersected, intertwined, and interdependent upon those in dire need.

The Gospel says, “Go! Go into the dangerous and dark places of the world. Go not as a savior, but as a brother or sister. Go in love, not in pride. Go! Don’t wait.”

Responding to that Gospel means sacrificing our own comfortable surroundings. “Go” doesn’t just mean travel. It could mean radical financial sacrifice. Using Francis Chan’s words here, “Go”–in a Gospel sense–means,

“Live your life in a way that demands an explanation.”

That is our call. It’s the call Alexandra is responding to. Alexandra’s post leaves the feeling she is ready to give her life to something that matters.

Read her entire post here, and if you do purchase a shirt after reading her blog, she’ll get another entry to go on that Swaziland mission trip.

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