Longing for visibility….

There are so many things in this world that are invisible to me.  I’m not directly talking about the invisible “principalities and powers” that are certainly at play in this world…but the things that are invisible to me in the sense that the decisions and choices I make are not influenced by these issues.  While I say they are “invisible”, I think a realistic look at my life might better describe them as “mostly invisible”, because every now and again something impacts me in a way that I begin to feel that there are issues that are slowly gaining visibility and clout in my life.  But, the fact remains, that they are mostly invisible.

 This realization has come to me, most likely because I seen the documentary “Invisible Children” (http://www.invisiblechildren.com/) for a second time.  The movie examines the issue of child soldiers in Northern Ugandan and attempts to bring it to light.  I urge you to take a look at the website…read the story…see the movie…talk to others… of the children that are struggling for freedom from fear, oppression, terror, etc. in this war-torn place. 

Another reason that this realization has hit me is that I was watching the Bruce Willis film “Tears of the Sun”, which deals with ethnic cleansing in Nigeria.  One line in the movie really struck me.  As Bruce Willis, a military commander, balks at the refusal of a Catholic priest and two nuns to leave their Mission, he comments that “God already left Africa.”

Whoa.  Stop the film there, and rewind it and play that part over again.  One more time.  The truth surrounding that statement hit me so hard.  Man, it’s so true.  No…I don’t believe that what the character said is true, but do you see the truth evident in him saying it?  I know that in my own life, I would say that I have too long lived with that truth in how I live my life.  My spiritual beliefs challenging me to follow Christ are applicable to the Western church, and to the American Christianity that I have subscribed to for so long.  God has left Africa, and he now resides in the megachurches throughout America.  A line from Invisible Children struck me in a similar way….the narrator is commenting on the frustrations he felt when he talked with his friends and fellow Christians in America about his experiences, and the children’s experiences in Uganda.  One of the most common reactions he received was “They (Africa and America) are two different worlds – you can’t compare the two.”  America.  Africa.  Two different worlds.  Two different Gods.  How long have I lived with that belief in mind?  How long will I continue to live with that belief driving me?

 These are the kinds of things that are invisible to me.  AIDS…poverty….sex-trafficking…child soldiers…religious persecution…ethnic cleansing.  I have head knowledge of these things, and they certainly touch me emotionally and spiritually…but what would it look like if these issues were clearly visible to me?  No longer would Africa be the God-forsaken, war-torn continent on the other side of the earth.  No longer would the children of Orica, Honduras be an afterthought to me as I lay in a comfortable bed, take hot showers, complaining that I don’t have cool enough clothes, etc. 

God forgive me for letting these issues continue without having a visible presence in my lifestyle and my choices.  I pray that I can learn to say “enough is enough” to my consumerist, materialistic, western-centric view of the world, and open up my eyes to “discover the unseen.”

Inspired by:


Invisible Children
PBS Frontline: Triumph of Evil
Sometimes in April
Tears of the Sun


We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda
First They Killed My Father:  A Daughter Of Cambodia Remembers


5 thoughts on “Longing for visibility….

  1. Lauren says:

    Deep stuff…just remember, if any place is truly God-forsaken, basically it ceases to exist. Nothing can exist without God first placing His blessing on it. God is not a God of demands and explanations; He is a God of righteousness and peace. Don’t believe it? Look at your life.


  2. dave – found you linked from maria. i love that you read “we wish to inform you …” soon after i saw hotel rwanda and right before i heard paul rusesabagina (the hotel hero) speak, i read this book. it still impacts how i prioritize those things most important to me. it is one of the few books that inspires me to risk – and i’m reminded of it every time i feel scared to do something new.

    i will definitely take your recommendation for “first they killed my father …”


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