And to guide the direction of your reactions a bit I would suggest several things.
1) If this video makes you guilty or uncomfortable, don’t run from it, but don’t let it destroy you either. Though wealth and poverty ARE relative (a dollar has less purchasing power in America than in, say, Bangladesh), yet generally those who read this blog could stand to significantly alter their spending habits and lifestyle (myself included).
As an example, consider a man I respect named Cliff Kindy. Cliff serves in Christian Peacemaker Teams, has served several tours of duty in Iraq for CPT, is an organic farmer in Indiana, and committed to non-violence as a disciple of Jesus. In other words, Cliff sees the destructive violence of this world, puts himself in dangerous situations for the love of Christ and peace, and backs up his words with action at home too, by giving away every cent he makes over the poverty line so he doesn’t have to pay taxes because the bulk of them go to the military.
Kindy believes in the God beyond the chaos who calls us to witness to another way, and that leads to courageous statements like this;
“We didn’t come into Iraq with armed guards, we don’t wear flak jackets, we don’t ride in Humvees or tanks. And I think we’re alive today because that’s how we operated in Iraq. There’s no way anybody who is armed could have done the things we’ve done. We’ve been in the razor-wire cities. We’ve been in the homes of Iraqi families in Fallujah, Ramadi, Karbala. Abu Hishma village that was razor-wired for eight months, we slept overnight in that city. People would say, ‘Well, that’s naive.’ In fact, it’s realistic. If you’re going to run around with guns, you’re going to get killed.”
Do you see how Kindy, once confronted with the violence of this world, did not run away from the discomfort of the truth nor become paralyzed by the problem? He’s working proactively in all areas of his life to bring it into line with the peace of God and the selfless giving of one’s life for others. And in so doing, Cliff has become an example of courage to look up to.
In a society of passive people who live their lives vicariously through the success and failures of athletes and reality TV stars, we need people whose examples stick like a thorn in our sides. People who inspire us, frustrate us, and remind us that all is not lost yet, people who inspire us to “be the change we wish to see in the world.”
All this to say; if this video makes you guilty, consider how to reject cowardice and passivism to put that guilt to work in proactive ways.