In this article by Jonathan Wilson and Terry Smith, explore one of CBM's Key Causes, Kids at Risk.
About 125 million people worldwide – mainly in developing countries – rely on growing coffee to make a living. But unlike the retailers and Western cafes that sell coffee at a profit, the farmers who produce the coveted beans are struggling to survive.
“Justice” often appears to be a complicated and controversial topic. When we begin to cry out for it and work for it, we usually find ourselves tangled up in economic and political ideologies that divide people from one another.
In this article, however, I invite you to consider another beginning point for “the Church.” If we think of the Church as the people whom God calls together in order to carry out God’s work in the world, then the roots of the Church go back to Genesis 1.
The issue at stake was one of distance. This so-called god the prophets of Baal were calling upon, where was he? How close to his people did he remain? How in touch with their needs was he? Theirs was a hopeless perseverance.
We each have a unique story about the beginning of the faith journey. For some, there was a decisive moment when God broke through into their lives. Others relate a prolonged process in which they dealt with doubt, intellectual arguments and agonizing prayers.
Evangelism is a long-term journey, especially with today’s youth. It is a marathon. We have to allow youth to belong in our community – and join with us in God’s mission in our world – even while they are still unsure about their own faith. Youth are more communal and concerned about making a difference in the world than they were even a decade ago. They are looking to see if faith in Jesus makes any difference to the people around them, their neighbourhoods and world. Our youngest generation, Generation Z (born post-2000), most often has no religious upbringing at all. When it comes to faith, they are usually not starting from ground zero; they are often starting from a negative view of faith. Through relational connections and involving this generation in our community and mission, they become open to conversations about faith.
There are hundreds of small fishing communities in Atlantic Canada. I live in one of them. Deer Island is a vibrant community of about 800 souls on the New Brunswick side of the Bay of Fundy in Passamaquoddy Bay, an hour’s drive from Saint John. Some 32 years ago I arrived on Deer Island to do research for my PhD thesis in Sociology through the University of New Brunswick. My thesis – completed in 1987 – was called, Making It Pay: The Organization and Operation of the Deer Island Fishing Economy. I fell in love with the island, and with one of the local fishermen, and have lived here ever since (but that’s a story for another day!).
We are living in an unprecedented period of global displacement – the highest level on record, according to the UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency) – with over 65 million people around the world who have been forced from home. That’s a number almost double Canada’s entire population!