This morning’s newsfeed is abuzz with reports that President Trump has likened countries in the global south, specifically Haiti, El Salvador, and all of Africa, to cesspools; his word choice was coarser than mine, however. Though multiple reports confirm the comments, the president denies the particular words, but says his language was tough.
The president’s reported words are troubling if for no other reason than the continued degrading of our public discourse. But there are other reasons. Christians know the President’s cesspool countries to be a part of the world our God loves so much as to send his only son for its redemption and renewal. Christians never see a cesspool. They see the possibility of a spring of Living Water bubbling up to eternal life.
Christians know themselves to be sent by Jesus to bring good news in word and in deed to the cesspool cities, countries, and continents of this beloved world. Like the apostle Paul, Christians also know that anything we once counted to our advantage – nationality, ethnicity, education, religiosity – are to be counted as dung when compared to the joy of gaining Christ (Phlippians 3:8 – NET).
The president may be partially correct in his cesspool assessment, though. The countries of the world – not just some of them, all of them – are as cesspools. And we Christians know our own sources of pride to be as dung. Through Christ, God is about the business of redeeming our cesspool world and calling men and women from the dung heap of pride to the joy of new life through faith in him. Call it a scatological worldview, but it works.
There’s some news from LPC that is absolutely confirmed to be anything but fake news. Toward the end of 2017 we received a couple of extraordinarily generous gifts to our mission fund. The donors know of the ways our mission program is at work in cesspools, bringing hope and joy and new life. They want us to do more.
One of the purposes for which the gifts will be put is the purchase of a hand-held keratometer to be used by Dr. John Cropsey and his team in the pediatric clinic at the eye center at Kibuye Hope, Burundi, East Africa. It’s a $14,000 purchase, but will be used to help give vision back to children around Kibuye and prevent blindness in hundreds of other children.
Burundi is on the President’s list of cesspool countries. At LPC we worship a God who does not give up on such places. And he doesn’t give up on us and our dung heap lives.
When we told Dr. John that LPC would be able to fund the purchase of the keratometer, he wrote, “Wow! What an amazing way to start off the new year for us!!! Your generosity and engagement in what God is doing in Burundi is such a blessing to us and our patients. …Again, we are so touched by your love and care for us and those we serve.”
What do you do when you realize the world is a cesspool? You turn to Christ and ask him how you might be a part of what he is doing in this world he loves so much. What do you do when you realize you’ve been living your life on a dung heap of false pride? You turn Christ and ask him to forgive your pride and make you into someone new.
As I have been thinking about the President’s comments yesterday, I thought maybe LPC ought to establish a Cesspool Fund to be used in helping clean up the place, but then I realized we already have a Cesspool Fund. It’s called our Mission Budget and Mission Fund. Every year hundreds of thousands of dollars are given by LPC people to be used to bring joy and good news to cesspool places in the world.
Through Hope Kibuye in Burundi, perhaps the poorest country in the world, we are helping God bring healing, hope, and education to children and adults he loves so much. Do you want to know more? Spend some time here and here.
We are there in the name of the one who offers springs of Living Water through our work in the impoverished villages around Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, through our partnership in a favela in urban Brazil, and our support of HPCA in North Philadelphia. Through our work with the Medical Benevolence Fund we recently helped repair a hospital roof in hurricane-damaged Haiti. Cesspool or not, our God loves that place.
Let’s get off our dung heaps and back to the cesspools. There’s work to be done.