REFLECTIONS ON MISSION SEPTEMBER
Reflect: What aspects of our religion could help us to recapture a respect for the natural world?===========================================================================SEPTEMBER – WEEK 2 Alienation Xenophobia, a common problem throughout Europe at present, frequently leaves immigrants with few options. There is a hesitancy to assert one's presence and participation if the covert, and sometimes overt, message being received is one of being unwanted and being a burden or a risk to local security, culture and identity. There is lately a tendency in the European Union for member states to define themselves by those with whom they differ rather than by their own unique worth, value and belief systems. The language being heard by immigrants in the heat of such encounters sends a message that they are seen as a problem, under suspicion and unwanted when at the same time immigrants know that the economy would not function without them. This unwelcoming atmosphere coerces immigrants to retreat into ethnicity leading to pools of disaffection that expresses itself in extremism of both left and right fundamentalism seeking identity elsewhere and posing a threat to general security. Bobby Gilmore (Philippines, Jamaica, Ireland) So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt (Deuteronomy 10:19) Reflect: Why is xenophobia – a dislike of foreigners – abhorrent to followers of Jesus?
================================================================================SEPTEMBER – WEEK 3 Inter-religious dialogue Many prominent religious people are enthusiastic proponents of inter-religious dialogue. The Dalai Lama, for example, justifies it in words which capture the attitude of many contemporary Christians. He says that of the many problems we face today, some are natural calamities and must be accepted and faced with equanimity. Others, he says, are of our own making, created by misunderstanding and can be corrected. These arise from the conflict of ideologies, political or religious, when people fight each other for petty ends, losing sight of the basic humanity that binds us all together as a single human family. In other words, inter-religious dialogue helps to mobilise the good-will and optimism which are required if the world's major problems are to be effectively tackled - problems of poverty, environmental destruction, drug abuse, AIDS, racism, sexism and the depersonalising impact of technology. In the midst of such serious problems it would be a great tragedy if religious leaders worried only about their own internal affairs. Sean Dwan (Korea, Ireland) Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us (James 1:27) Reflect: How true is it that the world’s great faiths have enough in common to enable them to work together to tackle the world’s major problems?
===========================================================================SEPTEMBER – WEEK 4 Human Trafficking Trafficking in people is becoming widespread, and now occupies third place after trafficking of drugs and arms. In fact, as the laws and punishment for drug dealers get tougher, many of them are now turning to the more lucrative and less law-controlled trade of slavery in women and children. It’s crucial to look at this complex problem from many angles and the causes must also be addressed. Trafficking is not just a problem of migration but is a violation of human rights. It’s important to understand how gender-based discrimination and systems underpin the phenomenon. Without the racial stereotypes of the exotic – but passive – women from Third World countries, trafficking would not exist; nor would it without the male demand for prostitutes in the industrialised countries. Sexual advertising on the Internet implies that, for certain women, prostitution is a natural way of life. Even the mainstream tourist industry fosters and perpetuates these stereotypes. Sr Mary Neylon (Philippines, Peru)
Thus says the LORD… I will not revoke the punishment; because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandal;, because they trample on the heads of ordinary people and push the poor out of their path. (Amos 2:6-7)
Reflect: How can we tackle some of the issues that underlie the issue of human trafficking, particularly of women and children?