It was pretty hard to look at a twitter feed or facebook page on Tuesday night and not see some mention of KONY 2012. Put together by a group of twenty-somethings who express, "We are storytellers. We are visionaries, humanitarians, artists and entrepreneurs. We are a generation eager for change and willing to pursue it", the group of savvy marketers have put-together a small 501(c)3 non-profit that is revered by most high school and college age students. The video above is their latest work.
Hillcrest teachers have spent devotion time giving a Biblical perspective to the inspiring work of Invisible Children and KONY 2012. The group, which has garnered support from politicians and entertainers, was once thought to be in partnership with WorldVision, a Christian relief organization that brings the Gospel, with good deeds and community action, to rebuild impoverished and depressed areas throughout the world.
Creating a frenzy on social media sites, KONY 2012 has formed into a mass-mobilization of young people via their twitter and facebook accounts. The mass movement has been discussed at Hillcrest, largely out of concern students will be swallowed-up in a worldly pursuit of good, and lose a comprehensive Biblical apologetic to fight for the oppressed.
Eric Hoffer in his book The True Believer documents similarities in mass-movements ranging from Nazi Germany to the early Christian church. His findings bear a warning for those drawn to revolution. Hoffer notes:
Nothing that has its roots and reasons in the self can be good and noble. Their innermost craving is for a new life-a rebirth-or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose and worth by an identification with a holy cause. An active mass movement offers them opportunities for both.
It is near impossible not to raise a hand in support of the people of Uganda after the video; and also to clench a fist in opposition to Joseph Kony and the horrific atrocities he has committed. That is the power of empathy. However it is important to consider why should one get involved and what would one hope to accomplish, lest the words of Eric Hoffer ring true in the lives of our students:
If they join the movement as full converts they are reborn to a new life in its close knit collective body, or if attracted as sympathizers they find elements of pride, confidence and purpose by identifying themselves with the efforts, achievements and prospects of the movement. To the frustrated, a mass movement offers substitutes either for the whole self or for the elements which make life bearable and which they cannot evoke out of their individual resources.
The Bible calls for a different following. Rather than finding identity and hope in the movement, or even the message of the movement, Christ calls His followers to find identity, pride, confidence and purpose in Him. From a complete understanding of Him, Christians engage the world, not to curb evil, but to bring restoration and redemption found in Christ.
One the books the Hillcrest Mission Department has referenced is Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert's When Helping Hurts. Uniting the helpers and those being helped into a group of people in need of Christ, Corbett and Fikkert show that helpers can often have a "god-complex", engaging the poor and oppressed from a position of superiority. When Helping Hurts calls readers to question motivation for helping, noticing many times those helping have a desire to do something worthwhile, to become a person of significance and to feel like they have pursued a noble cause. Corbett and Fikkert note that these reasons are a calling to be "a bit like God."
Fikkert and Corbett state, "We are not the reconciler; Jesus is. However, we are His ambassadors, representing His kingdom and all that it entails to a broken world...Povery alleviation is the minitry of reconciliation: moving people closer to glorifying God by living in right relationship with God, with self, with others, and with the rest of creation."
It's an ambitious goal to make Joseph Kony famous, but their goal is close at hand. However, the marketing prowess will fade as new dictators rise in the ranks in a humanistic education system. The greatest way to create a community of morality and freedom has been proven to be founded upon the inerrent scriptures of the Holy Bible.
Many Christian organizations are on the ground in Uganda rebuilding, educating and establishing communities from a Biblical perspective. This restructuring of reality recreates an understanding that the world is God's and is made whole in Him. This new view of the world, the oldest worldview, is what truly makes life significant.