Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Of Slumdogs, Millionaires and Karma for you and me…

How does one justify suffering? Where is a loving God amidst the injustice, the suffering and contrasting lives of the rich and the poor? Questions that arise in our natural selves!

I am moved, my heart stirred when I see poverty on screen. For a few hours, I feel the pain in my heart but I am so thankful for the movie to end on a high where it all ends in song and dance and justice being served. The director and script writer teamed up to serve justice to their characters on screen. I am so relieved at seeing it end the way it did and I walk out of the theatre with a sense of goodness, relief that I was sympathetic to the plight of the poor. My inaction in real life was substituted by action on the screen. Life is good!

In a lot of places in this world, you don’t have to go to a movie to watch poverty in action. In fact, for the slum dwellers, most of the time, the movies are an escape to fantasy world, a world very much like we live in American suburbia or better. None of them would care to watch their daily lives on screen. On the other side, poverty and the poor are considered an intervention to the good and selfish lives of the upwardly mobile class of people. Small change is used to keep the urchins away. As in the movie, poverty is an inconvenience in the life of a wealthy man relaxing in his chauffer driven shiny Mercedes. This picture of contrast, of wealth and poverty is a constant in a lot of countries. Goodness that has been done in previous lives and the present one, has bestowed goodness to the rich man and the same has served justice in the form of poverty to those in the slums. I have no cause to be stirred or sympathetic for more than the duration of a movie or some “small talk” at a social gathering.

Come evening, I am at a social gathering of friends. As I walk into opulent surroundings, I feel how blessed I am, for the air is filled with the aroma of food, wine and soothing music. The movie I saw is fading in memory and my friends and I are soaking in the ambience. As the evening winds down into song and dance, inhibitions shed, we start to discuss wide ranging topics from global warming, the war in the Middle East, the new President and social justice, the injustice in our system and how selfish the rich in our countries are! Seems like the movie I watched is in everyone’s spirit (pun unintended). It feels good to be talking goodness. It’s great for all of us to stand out in the crowd, out of the misery, yet to point fingers at the rich who wouldn’t just give it away. The names of billionaires and millionaires, strangely enough, we know their names, most of them! Some of our kids at the party act fuzzy with not wanting to eat all the food in the plate. The problem with food, of its abundance, brings an end to our rather enlightening conversation on the scarcity of the same for the needy.

Reverting back to the movie, the tears that rolled down our cheeks or the lump in our throats, watching the wretched lives of the slum dwellers are tears that roll down the cheeks of God. The difference being God’s tears are for our hearts. We have opened our minds and not our hearts. Ideas that justify our selfishness have seemingly offered us a good life where we can judge others on social injustice. Karma has been good to us. Karma from previous lives and our self-reliance, our hard work is the difference between the slum-dwellers and us. Our goodness is, in talking about the poor in social events and trying to avoid them at all costs in real life. But, yes we do write that odd check every once in a while for we believe in doing good and karma.

They, that are seemingly poor, are richer on a bigger canvas of the Creator. They are there for us to serve Him. We have to shed our natural selves and ask questions from our heart. Open our hearts for Christ to live and for us to be amongst the poor. Justice is first served when Jesus Christ starts to live through you and me. Until such time, we will be master’s of our little kingdoms, seemingly in control of our selves yet getting ready to lose the biggest prize of it all, our souls! The wealthy knows that the Master, God, is good, but steps back when He asks us to give it all away to the poor and worse still, to follow Him. It takes more than a good movie or the check we write to make this fundamental change in our destiny. Charity, at best, should be an inconvenience to our seemingly blessed lives.

2000 years ago, a person know by the names, Isa, Yeshua, Jesus, Hey-sus, The Word became flesh, walked on earth, leaving the majestic heavens and stepping down among the poor. Jesus chose to be amongst the least in society. He wined and dined and broke bread with the least and the so-called uneducated class He said the poor will always be with you! The poor man or woman and their cries, often silent, will always be with us amidst our apathy and affluence. He turned around the workings of Karma telling us how they, the poor are a blessing to us and not the other way around. The water you offer to the poor is serving Him who is not in flesh with us!

When time stood still some 30 odd years after His birth, this God sacrificed himself for us, rejected and suffered the most gruesome death. His death being an offering at the altar of our depraved souls, for us to know him personally, for the love he has for us. When He told us that He will not be in flesh with us, he also offered a blueprint for serving Him. It was in taking care of the least among us. He took all of our Karma, our guilt, shame and sin and nailed it on his body. In so doing, He set us free from the bondages of apathy, injustice and death itself. He wrote the script for His life.

God is not dead and though it seemed like a tragedy of God-like proportions, He rose and He lives! Died on the Cross for us is Karma. He took it upon Him, all of our Karma. Rejected and suffered for the curse of Karma. Karma was nailed on that Cross and it’s no longer available as an excuse for sin in our heart or to feel proud of our accomplishments or to be boastful of ourselves. Neither is Karma an excuse to judge others or for paralyzing guilt. He is here today and He is standing with the poor, calling us to “The Life”. A Life beyond a good movie or a social gathering, or a check we write for the poor. A Life free and forgiven!

Just like in the movie where the stars start to break into a song and dance, we will sing and dance and live! We’ll feel like a millionaire yet not want the money for we have found a love that is much bigger, one that is unconditional! Yeah..I do believe that movies capture real life, even if, it is for a few hours. Isn’t our life itself supposed to be as such, only of little duration when compared to Eternity?

So, the priceless answer for you on the hot seat of life...He has already answered this one for you. It's Grace...silly!


  1. What if you have gained the whole world and lost your soul? It's hard not to imagine a life without its would be dead for eternity..separated from its creator and Lord..hmm..makes me wonder how many of us pay attention to such things these days...after all we are living for the fleeting moments in time and forget the bigger picture that is always there..They have eyes but do not see..They have ears but do not see...How true of most of us!!! Sad..Sad...Sad..

  2. Thanks for your comments buddy! You need to get past 'Time' on your blog. :-)

    I changed the script on this one and gave out the answer. I had to, wanted to leave my reader thinking about it.

    God Bless!