We begin with our neighbors

In recent years the public has been urged through the media and private mailings to save a child, save the whales, join the Peace Corps, volunteer to be an inner-city Big Brother/Sister, contribute to Oxfam, help refugees—in effect, to join a cause. The impulse to respond is strong, but it may also require some self-examination. We want to stand up and be counted, but why? To fulfill some personal moral responsibility? Because it makes us feel good to be unselfish? Or do we believe it has an effect? What does have a practical effect in a tumultuous world?

I battled these questions in college. And I began to discover that the answer may start with something as simple as learning how to get along with others and to bring the healing Christ to our relationships with friends and neighbors. At the time I was coasting—I was comfortably and casually enjoying life, concerned mostly with improving my grades, my social life, and my squash game. I felt safe and secure in my own little world until nagging doubts about my future relationship to the "real" world began to clamor for attention. The more I talked about a desire to help others, the more hollow it sounded. My desire needed a surer foothold than verbal explanation; it needed a Cause that had proved itself to have a lasting, healing effect.

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Satisfying our hunger for closeness
March 22, 1982
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