Someone recently was telling me about the incredible testament to human achievement with the Great Wall of China... largely built, I've been told, through slaves and prisoner labor. Which got me thinking about another great human achievement, the Kolyma Highway in Eastern Russia, nicknamed "The Road of Bones" because the bones of those who built it... inmates of the gulags... were actually incorporated into the building materials which make up the road. Which got me thinking about another great human achievement, the Pyramids of Egypt, which, although arguable, were built from slave labour. Which got me thinking about so many other things that we enjoy today that have been produced directly from imposed cruelty and human suffering.
Which got me thinking about so much of the church today. I've heard all the justifications and made them myself. But nothing excuses the incredible human cost for some of the things we enjoy. Like ministries which verifiably rely on the outrageous support of the elderly and the poor for their success oriented lifestyle, personally and corporately. Sure, bigger better and richer reaches more people saves more people touches more people hires more people attracts more people etc etc etc... but it neglects the pain inflicted upon others along the way to get there. And I think it is inexcusable. I've been a part of ministries that glory in their success which has been directly built upon the foundation of the abuse of human beings. I've done it and I've been done to! Paul implied that we will continue to use the justification that we should sin so that good will result (Let's sin more that grace will much more abound!), but that doesn't excuse our sin. In no way. Yet we do it all the time. Yes, even small churches, house churches and poorer Christian leaders. We all are willing to impose pain and suffering on others for the desired good results. We do it all the time. The beginning of transformation is to first of all admit this horrific tendency in ourselves and in our organized religious institutions!
This awesome tattoo was created and applied by my friend Zara Leaf.