I was blog hopping earlier today (although should have been working) and I ran across an blog referring to an article about Operation Christmas Child. The Daily Mail article says that the gift-filled shoeboxes Samaritan's Purse distributes to children around the world are being stripped of all evangelical or Christian-related items. Some people are calling it bizarre or politically correct. And those people don't know what they are talking about.
Nothing gets my bloog boiling faster than ignorance in this area. Just recently I met a lady who proudly told a story about going into a LARGE country in Asia and throwing tracts out of bus windows. Her team would travel through a different area every day, littering the ground with tracts. They made sure to be gone within 24 hours in order not to be caught. Good intentions, sure, but smart? Absolutely not! The local government is not going to like these religious pamphlets scattered through out their city. But don't think for a minute that they won't find someone to blame. You know who will be blamed???? The LOCAL CHRISTIANS!
So, I'm thankful that Franklin Graham's organization thinks of the culture and how to correctly build relationship that will last for many years, instead of just popping into a place and spewing a message. I know that in this country you must, must, must meet the physical needs first with NO AGENDA except to love the people. They will see the difference, trust me. There is a huge difference.
If you tried coming into this country shouting your message, passing out tracts or other popular spread-the-message tactics, do you know how fast your butt would be on a plane home? Faster than you could say, "can I share the four spiritual laws with you?"
I'm not dogging those methods. I've used them effectively in the past, though always in western cultures. And culture changes everything.
Just because SP doesn't put a gospel message in a shoe box, does not in any way mean they are bending to political correctness. They are being wise and meeting the physical needs first, which will build a relationship in order to show people the love of Christ for years to come.
Getting off the soap box now.
(I encourage you to participate this week and pack a shoebox ... )