Monday, March 16, 2009

Where is your attention? (Where is your wealth?)

It doesn't matter where you are - the US, Europe, Taiwan - the bleak state of the international economy has everyone's attention.

In the face of Global Economic Depression, we First-World, Middle-Class Americans must keep a healthy perspective on our condition.

Social Intelligence is described as the ability to understand social situations and managing oneself successfully.

Through a conversation with a student here in Taiwan, I came to realize today just how fitting that definition is in our current fiscal fiasco.

What are we doing to manage ourselves successfully? Yes, this means Nationally, but when it's answered on a personal scale, it sheds clear light onto our priorities.

We feel as though our cozy way of life is threatened, but what about those around us?

According to *Global Rich List, I am the 773,071.647th richest person in the world.
That's in the top 13%.

That means 87% of the world is in a worse-off financial situation than I am. What am I doing with my wealth? What choices am I making to give a hand up to those within my reach. And let's be honest here. What is keeping me from answering these questions honestly?


How do you feel about that? A bit richer we hope. Richer and ready to give some of your newly found wealth to those who need it most. It not hard - just slip your hand in your pocket and pull out something special. Something that can help redress the balance - and also make you feel uncommonly good. Many peoples lives could be happier if you donated just one hour's salary (approx $6.41 - UK estimate).

All you have to do is make a choice.

What are the choices that we're making?

"But I don't know any poor people!"

That may be too true. Today, I heard someone challenge:

"Isn't most of your life people you like who like you? We rarely have space or margin for those who are different."

How many times do we pass the opportunity to create change, our margins held closely at our sides? Blinders over our eyes keep us from the expanse of the horrizons.

In response to a recent post a friend from a netherland (lame joke), Renée, pointed me towards a video that has served as a reminder to all of this. I love art that points us to a bigger picture. Art that is inspiring, challenging, and convicting all at the same time.

May we learn to expand our horizons.

May we keep the perspective of the great wealth we have by keeping our attention in the right place.

May we "be the change we hope to see in the world."


*I had come across this site before, but was brought to it this time by a Facebook Friend named Brandt Russo. Brandt's the type of guy you write books about, not blogposts. And if he doesn't get to writing a book soon, I'm flying to Louisiana to give him a good shaking. Brandt's an ordinary radical, as accurately as the term has been coined. Arrested for wanting to talk to a pastor about helping the homeless, Brandt is one of the few crazy-dangerous people in the world that take seriously what Jesus said about selling all your possessions to give to the poor and remembering the marginalized in society. Check out his website for more information on his on-the-road ministry/nonprofit "Can't Ignore the Poor".


Also, Thanks to those of you who helped reach the goal of purchasing 10 Mosquito Nets for 10 Families in Africa. You know who you are. Nothing But Nets
Now it's time for me to lower my own mosquito net, and drift off to sleep. Thanks for reading.


insomniaclolita said...

This is inspiring, I never really take any time to do what's right these days.

Don said...

Chase, I especially like the "how rich are you?" web-site. Looking at the data behind the calculations provides me with extra information for those I meet (especially teachers) who complain about their wages. Above $45,000 a year? Top 1% in the WORLD! That's well-paid.

floreta said...

"Isn't most of your life people you like who like you? We rarely have space or margin for those who are different."
i remember seeing that quote in your twitter, nice to see it assimilated in your full blog entry! it made me stop and think, that's for sure.

i think lately, i have been wanting to do more than just what i can do for myself. your friend Brandt sounds interesting.. civil disobedience! like MLK (letters from a birmingham jail).

Young Traveler said...

It's official: you're a better person than I am.

Loved, loved, loved this post. Every quote, every webpage reference flowed perfectly and made me think about the bigger picture.

Thanks for bringing my inner humanitarian to life.


Lindsay Champion said...

By world standards I am probably rich, too. But by New York City standards I am dirt poor. To qualify as middle class you have to make at least six figures here.

lindsay ||

Like a Mustard Seed said...

Just the other night we were thinking about the idea of Brandt Russo writing a book, and concluded that it is actually a cool, and rare thing that he has NOT written a book, but instead shares the things God has been teaching him through personal interactions with people, whether in person or throught the web... Seems like it'd be real easy for him to take his experiences, write a book, and spend the next however many years touring and speaking, but we wonder, would he continue to be following the path God has called him to, or would that actually mean captolizing on his experiences? Seems like the approach he's taken so far is a good example for all of us...


Chase said...

Daniel, I do agree with you.
(Mostly, I just enjoy books :P)

Brandt wrote on my facebook wall, "i cant even find enough time to email folks back, much less write a dang book."

It likely would be too easy to "Capitolize" on God's work. And Brandt's life isn't exactly a life of consumerism. haha!

Great insight!

Colin Biggers said...

wow! i like this! thanks for posting this! this reminds me of how much God has truly blessed me! God is sooo good!

love you bro! miss ya!

Rachel said...

I'm still reeling from that $20 I accidentally threw into Salvation Army Santa's bucket outside the mall...but you do have a point!

Boye said...

thank you for sending that to me

i needed to read that for sure man. i like your blog.

and for sure, let's keep in touch : )

Gavin said...

I like this post, I love to hear of people aware of what is going on in the world (so many are not!) and to hear of activists. As you may know I am no fan of organized religion but anyone out there challenging the system and trying to make a change is all good in my book, although my beliefs would differ to Russo and co. they are braver men than I to give up the comfort of modern life to make a change. More power to 'em.

Chase said...

@Gavin, I know your thoughts on Organized Religion, but I still think you'd get along with this guy. Today, a pastor (a "head" of organized religion) called him a heretic for suggesting that the church give more money away to those who need it. hah!
He's definitely a good dude. As you said: he, in his activism, is braver than i.

"May we be the change we want to see in the world"

Muppet Soul said...

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much I have in comparison to other people - and feeling like a bit of an ass when I feel sorry for myself...

Totally agree - be the change you hope to see in the world, etc.

J.T's Tale said...

The poor cannot be ignored. Great write up. I loved it.

Kali said...


Seriously. I want to retweet that every day for a week.

Or maybe make my own.


Chase said...

@Kali Do it up! Tweet away... or if you make one, you better post it! I'd love to see :)

Jon and Steph said...

I tagged you.

Geeta said...

Wonderful thing to try and remind people about. Recently, I've been surrounded by some of the elite here in the city, and it's been astonishing watching the way their money is spent (trust me when I say in most cases, it ISN'T in helping those unfortunate). Finally, a company I work for is talking about a charity dinner which I was asked to help plan. At least it's a start.