by John Howard Farmer
Our World In Perspective (from the Record’s 2004 archive)
At times I recognize that our call to address the needs of our world is overwhelming. The spinning orb which you and I call home is so vast that we cannot get our minds around it, much less our arms. Yet to those of us who have inherited the mantle of Christ, the world is truly our responsibility. Perhaps this little ditty will help us reduce the scope of humanity and encourage us to reach out more to our fellow human beings.
The Lady of York, whose father is the air-traffic controller at Lively Airport, sent this little story to me. It has certainly sharpened my focus this week.
“If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people, with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following:
“There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans; 14 from the Western Hemisphere, north and south; eight Africans; 52 would be female; 48 would be male; 70 would be nonwhite; 30 would be white; 70 would be non-Christian; 30 would be Christian; 89 would be heterosexual; 11 would be homosexual; six people would possess 59 percent of the entire world’s wealth, and all six would be from the United States; 80 would live in substandard housing; 70 would be unable to read; 50 would suffer from malnutrition; one would be near death; one would be near birth; one (yes, only one) would have a college education; only one would own a computer.
“When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for the rest of these folks to accept and embrace their Adamses, Jeffersons, Madisons and Washingtons when they come along, instead of stringing them up as they do now, becomes glaringly apparent.
“The following is also something to ponder: If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
“If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
“If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.
“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75 percent of the people in the world.
“If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8 percent of the world’s wealthy.
“If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even more rare if you live in the United States or Canada.
“If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world that cannot read at all.”
Now, read it again. Think about how in our individual circles of friends, family and acquaintances this formula might be replicated. Each of us could draw a circle around one hundred others. Take seriously the call of Christ to win the world for him. We might just do that, one circle at a time. Organized religion has been at the task for over two thousand years. Yet, with all our trained men and women in ministry, and all the dedicated folks fleshing out the rolls of Christendom, we have hardly made a dent in the project.
Want to do something about world violence and terrorism? First we must change the hearts of men and women everywhere, starting right here at home.
It is a New Year. Let us resolve to be better at being Christian to those around us. Perhaps they may want to emulate us.