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What can you buy with $90.

In an offering during a service a few years ago the widow in the front row who lost her husband at war gave a few coins which was all that she had in faith that God would supply for her.  The rich man sitting behind her gave a lot more but it was out of his surplus. In a different country a younger brother was sold into slavery by his older brothers and forgave them many years later when they came to ask him for help.  He had become a king. A few years after that a story was told to teach about love. There was a father that began a celebration for his son who left home with his inheritance and spent it all living a loose lifestyle. When the son woke up one day in a pig pen, he decided to go home. From a distance, way before when he could hold him, the father saw the son and began the celebration.

A human. That is what you can buy. It only costs 90 dollars to purchase a trafficked child from overseas. Don’t complain about anything but be thankful for where you are.

I just got out of a class on human trafficking. In a hotel room 15 people sat and learned. Change is not about the media making stories important, Change is about the individual public taking a vision and doing something different with the knowledge they chose not to forget.

It seems as the tides are turning in both directions tomorrow and the next day to follow, they will turn again. A leadership will present by simply being present a new set of humanitarian morals and moral never before seen in the eyes of those who look to him and those who look at him. A type of checks and balances not for the White House, Congress, corporations, CEOs or CFOs but for the individual, brought on by the outlets for paid professionals’ opinion and research,  will decide that today the tide of tomorrow will not touch or determine the ebbs and flows of how we think, treat, love or wonder about another human being.

A recession has been announced and the scape goats counted for slaughter yet the individual has voted and set their own didactic to play.  31 days after 9/11 I could see a recession begin. 5 days after 9/11 I witnessed with my collegial set vision, what was confusion and questioning for the previous 96 hours started to take shape coast, as they say, to coast, caressed by the humbled hands of catastrophe into what some but not all regions of this country are known for; hospitality. A country filled with pride for brotherhood. A country filled with the thought of others, what a beautiful thing.  It is odd to me that the two proudest times in my life were the months after 9/11 and when I think of where we are going with Barack Obama. Not that where we are going with Mr. Obama is the to the promised land but it is to a place where as an African American young man I interviewed in Grant Park 5 hours before Mr. Obama would win said, “If President Elect Barack Obama wins, we (African Americans) will have no excuse.”

If we as a nation in this time of change could not only change how we think of the big R but also change where it is and where it belongs in our lives than “Change” will occur.  Lives are lived, from others perspectives, as slogans of religion, education, perception or constitution.  God Bless “fill another country’s name here”. I believe we are already blessed with more than enough. Oh, a recession, a humbling point to where not only auto makers but baby makers, baby dadies, mamas, drama mamas and everyone in between are forced to check the empty space in their wallet for the “insert budget guidelines here” tab and await its removal with our hopeful minds set on the $700 Billion removal fee. What is a recession without the hope for a better time when all of us can go out and buy whatever we want whenever we want it? It is 2:22 am and I will finish this tomorrow, wait, I’m sorry, make that later today.

Understand that time wears out the springs (in both the water and metallic sense) of hope that only rest on the consequences of the moment and ignorance. Even then though, the ripples and repercussions of that hope are counted and considered answers to prayer in countries you’ve never been to and in children lives you will never get to meet.  It appears that when the hours that separate tomorrow from today melt together without an eye closed to miss it, things just end up being all the same.*

*Yes I was inpsired after watching the Jack Bower in the  24 kickoff to write this message.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

$2000, or 600 Mochas, gave this Vietnamese boy a heart surgery. Saved. His. Life.

http://www.eastmeetswest.org

Over 7,000 people from over 50 Countries have come to this blog, woah humbled.

This map represents 834 people from over 40 Countries who have come to this blog in the past month. 7,000 people have come in the past 6 months that I have had this. Thank you for being one of them.

Random Christian fact #1, it says in the Bible that God appoints the leaders of this world like Barack Obama.

Did I lose you? No more faith talk? Ok how about this, Someone from Mongolia has seen my blog. Crazy.

To me it is crazy that we can have a map of the whole world and see where people are from who are clicking on my site. It seems so simple now. I posted this blog because I was inspired by the global inquiries which is why i posted the screen grab of my Clustrmap. Back to the post.

A cat I saved from the streets of Detroit is playing with my slipper’s shoelace. The heat is on full force fighting the 27 degree F weather outside. Two days ago I was in New York City and two days from now I don’t know I where I will be. That is the life of a photojournalist. But for here, for now I am at home. In comfort. But I do not seek comfort, I seek to activate and meet face to face the drive that stares at me when i sit still. The drive that makes me want to photograph when I see good light is the same drive that makes me wonder and ask questions. So my drive, is it humanitarian? Empathetic? Passionate? Selfish? Is it love or fulfillment that I search for? Or blog hits? Facebook friends? Are the things we as a society spend the most time on also the things we hold most dear? In this world of impersonal responses and friend requests, what is really your point to it all?

Randomly planned, I am thinking now where my homeless friend Bruce is now on this cold night. It is just another lonely night for him. He asks for candles for heat, gloves and a blanket for the cat he cares for in the abandoned sanctuary of a warehouse, keeping only the cold steel forged to fortify this nation with autos and wealth. Now that building, built in 1892, is Bruce’s home. Makes you think about what being thankful actually means and who you are thankful for for that. In a life where we can’t predict the economy let alone if we will be alive tomorrow or not, what really is there to bother you? If we don’t find what we are looking for in this world do we find ourselves in the gutter of despair or in a mansion of hope.

For those who don’t know who I am, I am a photographer. I am also a filmmaker. But to stop there would be only to set the things that I do as the definition of what I am. I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. I, like many, put success on different levels of obtainable and achievement and judge ourselves accordingly. The power in that is that we get to decide what all of that means; taking into account how others consider what we are doing, the overall thought on a community, national or global scale to what we are doing. We have the power to care or not care and we have the power to decide what makes us and what breaks us. What builds us up and what tears us down. Or do we? Does a dam chose to stop a river or is it the dam’s builder?

What looks like hope to you? What looks like gold? What shines on you like rays from the sun only more constantly than the clear days of your life? For me it is Jesus.

Guess what, “The Right” might be people who call themselves Christians, but in the Christian faith it is not up to the followers of Christ (those who go to church, those who read the Bible those who believe Jesus is the only Son of God) to bring judgement on others so if you don’t agree with Christianity because the people who follow it don’t agree with you, remember that Christianity is not about Christians, it is about Jesus Christ. That name will silence a conversation if the person saying it is actually talking about the man, Jesus Christ. That name will bring more division because of the egos that men carry and the pride that sets our self consciences above our peers. If we can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink and if we can put a man through school but not make him think then why do people think it is best to point at the opposite of what they think they are and call them wrong?  My readers, man does not have the authority to tear another man down. We only have the authority to lift each other up. God is cool (if you can even put a name on the infinate pressence that started this world, whether speaking in Palin time or Darwin time).

If you have a problem putting the name God on what created us and this planet, awesome. Love that sign of respect. “The Creator” works just fine. Or simply, “The Provider”. I think the name God is thrown around way irrelevantly by many people, including myself. There is beautiful scripture in the Bible that talks about how much God loves us and provides for us and the scripture continues with talking about how if God provides for the sparrows, who don’t harvest or plan ahead, how much more will God provide for the children he created. (Christians say “He” because as the creater God is considered a paternal figure who knows best for us but gives us the freedom to chose what we want in this world).

So is the worth of me measured with my awards (which could get stolen), my 343 Facebook friends (120 or so whom I don’t know really at all), my 7321 blog visitors, my family, my cat, my car, my home, my personality, my looks, my faith, my God, my traveling, my escaping the US for far away places? I am not sure because I go back and fourth between all of it, excluding my cat. The one thing I know is that God loves me and that should be where I find my worth, that God loves me enough that He (all of the presence that made the birds and the trees, the mountains and the lakes, the cameras and the photographs and everything in this world besides what is evil), all of that came together and made a woman name Mary pregnant 9 months before the forgotten holiday of Christmas with a baby that would be names Jesus (Christ is not a last name, it means savior).

But woah, Savior? Christ? In this day where there are wars and famines, economies failing and people by the hundreds of thousands losing their jobs, most of which I have seen first hand. Why is Jesus’ last name Savior? We as the human race can do this life on our own. We have modern medicine and science and smart people who can plan stuff out that only screws the poorest of people. Well then, Savior, what can you do for me? You are quiet and it seems like you are never here, or never anywhere. If you love us why is all of this happening. Why are Christians always blaming you for things like Katrina or 9/11? Do they know?

I was going to be a scientist, a paleontologist to be specific. That doesn’t mean I am smart by the way. I just like dinosaurs.  In all of my study and all the studies I have seen I see that the common thing in it all is that the scientist is searching, searching for the truth, searching for why things work, searching for why things are the way they are. It seems that “small” is still being defined and “big” is in that category too. In a world where people are searching, in this world where no one knows how small small is and how big big is, all that we don’t know in science is ok with us but all we don’t know in God is not. What if for a moment I with all the power and authority I have as a 26 year old single male with out a completed college education said that the word God was switched with the word Science. What would happen then? Would God seem more intricate or Science more aloof?

Have you ever lost your way? Have you ever felt tomorrows guilt today? Have you ever watched this world leave you behind? Won’t you take a chance and give a man, give a woman, give yourself, a home that can not be shaken or taken away. Do you know where to begin. No bags needed, no big breaths, just a release.

I consider myself successful but I do not think “I have made it” yet. The power of Jesus, oh how it is. I consider myself searching for what truth is and in that search I have found that it will make a weak man mighty and will make a mighty man fall, it will fill your heart or leave you with nothing at all, it will be the legs for the lame and the eyes for the blind. That is the power of the words found in the Bible which are alive because the same God that created the world long ago lives today in us and around us. And for me the Gospel is for everyman, every woman and every child.  The power, the might power of the Gospel is that we get to have the choice to be a part of it or not.

It is now approaching 2:30 am. It still looks cold outside which brings me to my point; What is my point. Why the random photos I post in the posts before this, why give my thoughts on what is happening in my life. If there was a point where 100 people beat the same drum, would there be one drum beat that sounded different or one that would stand out from the rest if all the viewer did was listen?  My mother told me to listen with my eyes and my ears will follow. One after another each of the hundred people beat the drum, the first one was one year old and the last one, in successeding year, was 100. Each beat was almost similar when only heard, but took on a life of it’s own when the source of the beat was witnessed. Then the beat became unique.

I want to change the people in the world, ruin them from average by showing them from my angle the way to find theirs.

In closing, a dear uncle of mine passed away a year ago. I miss him greatly. I would call him, not as often I should have, and he would tell me stories of his travels or about the books he was reading and I would listen. Much of my edicate came from him and his lessons on manners and supper conversations.  In all the teachings, the one I learned and apply most in my life is how a simple “thank you” will “go a long way”. So thank you Jesus for everything you have done in my life.

Photograph by Stephen McGee

"photographs to make you think" by Stephen McGee