One example of this is in the cedar arbors we installed on either end of our rose garden: Quite aside from the looks of it, there then came the stability problems.
Personal Each and every year around this time, thousands of churches around the country participate in an organization called Operation Christmas Child. If you are unfamiliar with Operation Christmas Child, the gist is this: Many churches I attended throughout my formative years participated in Operation Christmas Child, and many years my family and I dutifully picked up a few shoeboxes and went to the Dollar General in search of what we thought would bring poor children around the world happiness and joy.
Well, not so fast. And Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, appears to be making a valiant attempt to go down in history as the Donald Trump of theology.
His Facebook and Twitter feeds are a never-ending font of racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, xenophobic and otherwise bigoted vitriol. He even recently went out of his way to defend Judge Brett Kavanaugha man credibly accused of attempted sexual assault, violent alcohol use, and participating in gang rape activities.
In short, Graham is a complete embarrassment to those who claim the name of Jesus in particular, religion in general, and basic human decency overall.
Now, for me, this is enough. If it were actually true. In fact, in many cases, they do not even know what to do with them! Sure, toothbrushes and the like are universal necessities. But beyond that, many shoeboxes get filled with with cheap, easily breakable trinkets and toys that adults, let alone children, in these countries do not even know how to use.
I have even heard stories of gloves, scarves, and hats being sent in boxes to children in countries where it never snows! Joelle McNamara, a former classmate of mine and founder of Kenya-based non-profit Badalahad this to say: African kids trying to figure out what to do with American toys, and then adult African men trying to teach them what to do with them… Incorrectly!
Click here for another recent article about Badala and alternatives to Operation Christmas Child 3. It disrupts the local economy. As a general rule, mass dumps of Western goods into non-Western countries with struggling economies are never a good idea.
The shoeboxes themselves are both racist and sexist. Not every shoebox that gets sent overseas by Operation Christmas Child is an official OCC box as many families and individuals simply use real shoeboxes from their homes, but the organization often does provide its partner churches and parachurch ministries with OCC-branded boxes that come emblazoned with cartoon illustrations of barefoot Latino and African children the likes of which you might find in colonialist missionary hagiography or racist Party City Halloween catalogues.
This is NOT to say, as so many of my more conservative commenters love to accuse me of, that children in need would be offended by receiving traditionally gender-coded toys.
In every country where it is legal, Operation Christmas Child adds tracts and religious material promoting their narrow theological perspective—that all those who do not believe as they do will be eternally, consciously tormented in hell forever by God.
Operation Christmas Child administrators on the ground are also provided with followup material that children are pressured to participate in, where they can be further indoctrinated into exclusivistic Evangelical ideology.
Operation Christmas Child is a well-oiled machine for a brand of religion built on colonialism, white supremacy, and American exceptionalism. It encourages reliance on white people to solve problems.
But ultimately it perpetuates the damage that followed post-colonialism aid, which instills in children overseas from an early age that you need white people to give you things, and in our children, that the poor need our things.
Good intentions do not cover over a multitude of sins. How many abusers have been enabled, victims have been silenced, violent ideologies have been perpetuated, injustices have been unchallenged, because we have been afraid to step on toes or hurt feelings or break with tradition?
In the case of Operation Christmas Child… …the influence of a theologically violent and spiritually bankrupt man is being magnified. The good Samaritan thought of everything the man needed at great personal expense, and not only financially.
It cost the time that the Levite and Priest were unwilling to give and it took great humility. Just because something is fun to do and appears on the surface to be beneficial, does not actually make it so.
If you know of any, I would love to hear about them! However, there are a multitude of options for families or churches who want to provide those experiencing poverty with things they actually need and teach their own children about generosity and global poverty at the same time.
By far food and clean drinking water are some of the largest global needs for those experiencing poverty. The Organization WaterIsLife has created a straw that, when used, purifies water in real time as you are using it, so clean water can be found anywhere.
Teaching families and small farmers how to sustainably farm and harvest their own food is also key. There are a huge number of organizations that do this in a variety of different waysand this is not an exhaustive list. There may even be organizations that do the very same thing but in your own local community!
And for a more hands-on approach with your children, the best thing you can do is get involved in local charities doing good in your community during the holidays.Don’t see much of the Polish but there is Irish in the mix too, so that’s probably what it is.
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