Reality check

on tuesday,  i stood on the san carlos apache indian reservation,  in the mountains a couple of hours east of phoenix.

i saw poverty.   i saw brokenness.   i saw forgotten people.   i saw exploitation.   i saw struggle and conflict and powerlessness. i saw people who have been robbed of dignity and who cling to just a fragment of hope.

for the majority of americans,  the story of the native american indians is pretty murky…more influenced by the pictures painted in movies and television during the 1950’s and 1960’s…than by the actual truth.

there are over 2.5 million native american indians in the united states…and over 4000 distinct tribes,  spread over all 50 states.

i grew up going to featherstone canyon christian camp…located on the barona indian reservation,  about 20 miles east of san diego.   yet i knew nothing about the people we shared the land with.   the junior college where i played football was the southwestern college apaches.   i always liked tonto better than the lone ranger.   i’ve never gambled my money away at an indian casino.

standing on the indian reservation a couple of days ago,  my heart hurt.   it hurt over my ignorance.   it hurt over my lack of compassion.   it hurt over injustice.   it hurt over out-of-control teenage alcoholism and suicide.   it hurt over homelessness and joblessness and disease.   it hurt for people who only know about a great spirit…but not the grace and provision of a merciful father.

it will be an honor to take our youth group to stand alongside these people on our spring break trip in march.   we will serve and give.   we will learn and be changed.

if you can’t go,  would you be willing to help others go?

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