April 21, 2014

The Poor and Bonsai Trees

“To me, the poor are like Bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed of the tallest tree in a six-inch deep flower pot, you get a perfect replica of the tallest tree, but it is only inches tall. There is nothing wrong with the seed you planted; only the soil-base you provided was inadequate. Poor people are bonsai people. There is nothing wrong with their seeds. Only society never gave them a base to grow on.”

-Muhammad Yunis

We are eight weeks into our Social Investigation course at the Baptist Seminary.  We have a great group of students who really seem committed to the course material and learning how they themselves and their church community can better serve the needs around them.

A couple of weeks ago we shared the above quote in class and then asked students to share what "soil-base" is missing in their communities.  We heard responses such as education, adequate housing, employment, supportive relationships and networks and access to healthy food and nutrition.  We then asked them to consider how they might respond to these needs, to turn these needs into their prayers, actions and dreams.

It was a powerful time together, a time where there was both hope and despair in the room. Much of our work here is like this, there are little sprouts of hope among the difficult realities that we live in.  We hope to continue to water those sprouts and watch them inch out of that dusty soil.

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