Right now, we live in a town and are still connected to the rest of the world through the internet. It is sort of strange in a way to learn of all the news and events going on in my home country and culture, but have to process them here in this new and very different culture. It gives me a weird perspective.
So my facebook wall this week is blown up by Chick-fil-a. Which I immediately resent because I would really love to eat some Chick-fil-a and I have to watch everyone else doing it. But I decided to read all about what the big deal is, and I get it. Chick-fil-a is attacked because the founder happens to be a Christian and happens to see marriage from a Biblical worldview. Chick-fil-a never mistreated a gay person or even got involved politically or financially in the gay marriage debate. Basically they were attacked for no reason. That is pretty crappy.
Then you have Christians saying that all this support of Chick-fil-a isn't really doing anything. It isn't helping any causes or bringing the Gospel to anyone. It is just perpetuating more division. I get that too. These same people are astonished at how many people are rallying behind Chick-fil-a when you can't get this many people to rally for bigger issues or real problems. To that I say, "Really? It surprises you that a lot of people will "stand up" for what they believe in when all they have to do is sacrifice an hour in their air conditioned cars in the drive through. Or stand in line at a fast food restaurant that serves delicious food with excellent service?"
It is easy to take action when that action causes very little sacrifice and in the end benefits you as well.
I am not judging or condemning. I am just processing. I would totally support Chick-fil-a. When I lived in America I patroned their establishment quite frequently because of their great food and excellent service. I was a mom by myself while my husband was working, carrying an infant in a car seat, holding the hand of my two year old, and constantly calling for my 4 year old to stay right beside me. And a nice employee of Chick-fil-a would always carry my food to my table, help me get my kids in their seats and then bring them balloons! And when I offered tips, they always said, "No, it was my pleasure."
Um, are you kidding me? It was your pleasure? It was not even my pleasure and they are my kids! That is customer service and that is one of the many reasons why everyone should go to Chick-fil-a. Even if you are a gay couple with adopted kids. Seriously, go to Chick-fil-a! They will carry your food to your table for you and give your kids balloons!
That is the American filter processing this event. The new filter I have- the one that sees people dig through my garbage and watches as kids die of curable diseases processes it a little differently. It makes me realize how unfair the world is. That some people are mad because of what some guy thinks, so they are going to stop spending their money to eat his chicken nuggets and go to the restaurant right next door to buy someone else's chicken nuggets. And here a chicken nugget is what you get when a guy kills one chicken to feed an entire village. For a special occasion. You can't just eat valuable chickens for no reason.
It just opens my eyes to First World Problems. These are "problems" to us wealthy westerners, but seem ridiculous to the outside world. I recently read another blog about first world problems and the writers had people write in their very own problems to contribute. My favorite was, "The Starbucks drive thru is too small for my Yukon XL to fit through so I have to walk into the store." Funny.
The weird thing is that I STILL have first world problems while living in a third world country. It is just way more in my face and convicting, but as much as I have changed my lifestyle to become a missionary to some of the most remote people in the world, I still live a cushy nerf life compared to my neighbors. You can take the girl out of the developed world, but you cannot take the developed world out of the girl.
Anyway, I thought I would share some of my personal first world problems here juxtaposed to my neighbors problems, just so you would know for sure that I am not judging or preaching on this post...again, just processing.
My First World Problems:
I have to wash way too many dishes, and do not have a dishwasher. My neighbors only have one pot, one spoon, and possibly one plate.
I have to cook everything from scratch. For me that means starting with opening a bag of flour. My neighbors have to plant, grow, harvest and then cook everything from scratch.
Food here is really expensive, so I cannot afford *some* luxuries. Food here is expensive, so my neighbors cannot afford any of it. At all.
The rats ate holes in my packages sent from America. Now, I don't get to eat that tasty chocolate that my best friend sent me. Rats ate chunks out of my neighbors feet last night when they were sleeping. Their feet are so calloused from not having shoes that they didn't even wake up.
When I move into the tribe, if my kid gets really sick, I have to pay $5,000 to fly her out to a doctor. If my neighbor's kid gets sick, she dies.
Like I said, I have no idea what to do with all this most of the time. I have no idea why America is so rich and most of the rest of the world so poor. I have no idea why even though I live a meager minimalist lifestyle compared to most of my American friends, I still look like Donald Trump to my Papua New Guinea friends.
I know my wealth gets in the way of my ministry sometimes, but everyone tells me its ok, and that we are sacrificing enough. That we need a certain standard of living to make it out here. To be effective in ministry. To keep us from "burning out" so we don't go home. But is it true? Or is it just an excuse?
I have no idea. And I probably never will.
But at least we are recognizing the ridiculousness of some of our "problems" so I guess that is a step in the right direction.
So, what are your First World Problems?