In America, we are all football fans when the Super Bowl is days away. All are baseball fans during the World Series and everyone loves college basketball during the NCAAs. Likewise, every four years, everyone gets political.
Cable news coverage of the 2016 Presidential campaign has already reached nauseating proportions. I am struck by the exclusive focus on our political follies, with endless repetition of the ‘sound-bite of the day’ along with excessive commentary from “experts.” Only in America can we be so self-absorbed as to neglect news from any other country or any subject that does not impact, in someone’s opinion, the Race to the Election.
So to avoid the ever-increasing volume on the so-called news channels, I often switch back to the local news coverage, which, in New Orleans, is largely about local crime. Yet this hyper-focus on crime wears thin all too soon as well. Bad news is everywhere.
Social media is not free from political excess. In fact many people who rarely post narrative opinions are suddenly going on record to share their thoughts on who should or should not be elected, supported, rejected, or what is going to happen to our country if so-and-so is elected. If not specific about political support, people begin to rail against the expression of political opinion, threatening to un-friend or block those whose views are disagreeable. It is amazing how tolerant we seem to be for pet videos and funny memes, but when things turn political, we get very sensitive.
So my husband and I are on en route to San Diego for the annual World Vision Conference. This high-powered program will occupy our time and thoughts for the next two days, leaving little or no time for TV news, good or bad.
Instead, we will learn of amazing things World Vision is doing around the world to help people. This highly effective organization operates in nearly one hundred countries, serving people of many different religions and political persuasions. They receive love, water, food, clothing, financial and vocational training, education, and health care. Children are freed from trafficking. Quality of life is improved in their communities. Nearly half a million refugees have received water and sanitation facilities through World Vision.
The people we will meet and dine with are extended family. We traveled to Africa with some of them. We will celebrate the conclusion of a five-year campaign in which 500 million dollars were raised and spent on the global poor.
Selfless generosity is the hallmark of each one who attends. There is joy and gratitude at this conference. There is no worry, no competition, no division, no rudeness or name-calling, no fear. The reports will be about meeting goals early, about renewing efforts to provide clean water access to every World Vision area by 2030. There will be someone from a far-off country, telling a story of hope and wholeness and the love they received from World Vision staff.
Rich Stearns will speak about the need to do as Jesus did, walking where others fear to tread, in efforts to share the love of God. We will cry, but not out of pain or frustration, rather in joy for the way God has blessed us to be a blessing to others. Our horizons will broaden as we gain God’s perspective and leave our national news behind.
Every Last One Conference: Here we come!