Musician, blogger and Compassion advocate Shaun Groves is in India right on another Compassion bloggers tour. These are pretty incredible trips (they did Uganda last year and the Dominican Republic last fall) and admittedly hard to read.
This morning I checked in on his blog and came across this post about leftovers. It turns out to be the same pitch he gave at a concert in Minnesota a couple weeks back that I happened to attend (which is great, because now it’s in writing, not just in my head). It’s a powerful statement on how God provides for us, but he only wants us to take what we need for each day. It’s an Old Testament rule that Paul repeats in the New Testament: Share your leftovers so everybody can have enough.
In America, it seems, we’re gorging ourselves on leftovers while the rest of the world starves. Using this idea of leftovers, Shaun challenges people to sponsor children through Compassion using their leftovers. And there are tons of other ways to do it. That’s part of why I keep doing these ‘you can change your world’ posts.
It’s easier than you think to change the world.
Last week indie rock star (wait, is that an oxymoron?) Shaun Groves came to town.
I’ve tried to keep up with Shaun since his debut album came out back when I was just getting started at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We interviewed him at GMA and he played at the our offices and I think we talked him into writing for us. I was always struck by how genuine he seemed. A few years ago he launched a blog, but it wasn’t a typical rock star blog. For starters he called it a “Shlog” (which is where that ‘shlog envy’ comment came from), but more importantly he blogged about the real stuff of life and not just ‘hey look, I’ve got an album coming out’ or ‘we’re rocking in Georgia!’ and then no posts until the next album. Plus, he tried to kick Amy Grant’s ass (OK, not really).
Lately Shaun’s been doing this whole Compassion blogger thing and actually comments on people’s blogs. He still does some music in there somewhere, but he gives it all away for free.
Continue reading You Can Change the World: Saving Kids from Poverty
In February the child sponsorship organization Compassion International sent a team of bloggers to Uganda. They’re doing it again this week, sending a team to the Dominican Republic. This trip doesn’t seem to be getting as much attention, but the stories are just as powerful. My favorite is reading 8-year-old Nick Challies’ blog and reading about two sisters meeting the kids they sponsor:
“My sponsored child, Rosemary, is so nice. We had so much fun and we swung on the swings together. I asked her lots of questions: Her favorite color is pink, and she is nine years old … just like me!”
Continue reading You Can Change the World: Compassion Bloggers
I love that Compassion International is doing this blogger’s trip to Uganda. I applaud them. But it also raises a lot of important questions for me. As I read through the entries and the comments, almost everyone responds with tears and a broken heart and an eager need to sponsor a child. That’s great. But I hope it’s not all. I hope there’s more to it than emotionalism.
I hope we still ask the tough questions. I’ve been doing that—though I sound like a heartless bastard—and Anne Jackson has been gracious enough to respond.
My first question was if the disparity between sponsored children and unsponsored children causes problems. Anne explained that the benefits a sponsored child receives extend to their entire family. She also said that culturally it’s understood differently:
“the way the sponsorship impacts the child, the child’s family, and the community is something to celebrate. when all you have is god and your fellow man, it comes a lot easier when someone you love is blessed.”
Update: Shaun Groves also weighed in on my comments, offering further insight. The most encouraging bit he offered is the fact that local Compassion projects are run by local people: “Let’s, first of all, trust that they know what works best in their own communities.” That makes sense.
I never really get why we’re supposed to care so much that CD sales are declining. Is it my problem technology has left you behind and only a fraction of the songs on most albums are worth owning? Every other business has ups and downs. Get used to it.
And some people are getting used to it. Like Shaun Groves. I talked about him a few weeks back when he tried to take on Amy Grant (for those curious, he failed–but that’s OK, he’s still cool). The simple fact is that Shaun Groves gets it. It might help that he’s no longer on a label and is forced to figure these things out on his own. Then again, Shaun was always a nice guy, even when he was on a label.
As proof that Shaun gets it, check out a couple recent blog entries, including one where he argues that rock stars need to get human and another where he talks about the story of Jackie, a former Compassion International sponsored child (right now Shaun is more interested in helping children through Compassion than selling his music–that’s refreshing).