April 23, 2009

Where did people go?

Sometime when I'm sitting in the subway, I wonder where everyone went. All the people that I've had the pleasure of knowing throughout my life. For example people who grew up with me at Parkview Public School. Are they all still in Unionville? How could it be that none of them live or work in the downtown areas? Surely at some point I should be able to bump into one of them on the subway.

The fact is I don't even see my old highschool friends on subway. How is that possible, what are the odds of this? I run into church friends all the time. Is it that Chinese Christians all work downtown and everyone else doesn't? What's up with that? I rarely even see my old university friends. You'd think with all the people I've known or met, I might run into *someone* at some point at random.

Then yesterday while looking at Facebook's "People You May Know" tool, it dawned on me. I probably have run into many of my old friends. They've all grown up and don't look the same as they did 20 years ago.

April 20, 2009

Which of the poor deserve the most help?

Ina and I have gotten interested in the creation of sustainable solutions for impoverished people. We've become interested in micro-financing -- helping people get off their feet and help themselves with very tangible solutions that will help them to earn a living doing something that is requires skill but is not entirely foreign to them. Anyway, that's a topic for another day.

I recently had my eyes opened to something that may be controversial or maybe it's just the natural human thought process.

This entry could spawn several other interesting topics that I'll probably be too lazy to write, but I wanted to at least get this thought down. Just a note.. some of this is hypothetical and by no means do I mean this to offend anyone -- the purpose is purely for thought provocation.

The idea is that people are less willing to help poor people when they know there are even more poorer people out there. They might feel like a certain group of people don't deserve their help or support because there are poorer people out there who deserve it more. They tend to have less sympathy knowing there is much worse in the world.

Whether this means they will help those poorer people is not really an issue, for them it's just a matter of principle -- that this poor person doesn't need my help as much as that other much poorer person, so therefore I will not help this marginally poor person.

For example, someone who has witnessed poverty in India or Africa might have less compassion towards someone who lives in a garbage dump because hey, at least they have *some* form of food.

Or say a person has no sympathy towards people on welfare because at least they are getting free handouts from the government, whereas the people they saw in Nicaragua were eating garbage.

I could be wrong I think it says somewhere in the bible that everyone needs compassion.

April 07, 2009

Tony Campolo is 74

Wow, time flies. The first time I heard Tony Campolo was at my old church M3C, during highschool fellowship on a Friday night. Pastor Ted brought a VHS tape of Tony speaking at a conference (possibly from an old Urbana back in the 1800s). All joking aside, I thought he was a great speaker, so dynamic and charismatic. A welcome change from what I'd grown up listening to in a Chinese church.

I remember him being animated, speaking loudly and waving his arms while he spat his words out. Honestly I don't remember a single thing he said but what I do remember is after the video was shown, Campolo was all we could talk about for the rest of the evening, and that includes some of the non-believers who were there.

Tony Campolo is speaking on Thursday April 16th in Toronto at the International Center, to kick off MissionFest 2009, and you must come up with a valid reason not to be there. Personally, I can't think of any besides you being in the hospital or out on missions yourself.

I'll leave you now with a couple of quotes:
"I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night."
"Jesus transcends partisan politics. That's what's wrong with the religious right... they have made Jesus into a Republican, and he's not!"