Saturday, July 26, 2008

....And He's Lutheran Too

I enjoyed Rick Steves' thoughts on "Faithful Travel," an interview he did for our church. Right now, some of my own thoughts on Travel and Spirituality are percolating, and I hope to share them with you soon.


ProclaimingSoftly (PSanafter-thought) said...

I saw one of the videos he did at our church for part of our lenten series last spring. I endorse the idea that we can/should travel in a way that makes us appreciate another way of life, be it country, social, racial, economic, etc.

I find a tension in this and any travel, however. If we are really "tight" with our resources so that we can give more to the poor, to the church, etc. then we wouldn't travel at all. If we travel and are pinching our pennies for the same reasons, we might choose not to buy from a local artist, for example.

Having done Habitat travel, I think that the same tensions exist in its philosophy. If we didn't travel for Habitat, we would remain stuck in our mis impressions of poverty, for example. But the people who travel to "build" a house would do more, in pure economic terms, by just sending the money. The Habitat volunteers don't actually "build" the houses because that takes skilled labor. The volunteers do the grunt work.

Diane said...

Good points, PS. when we think about travel from a "broadening perspective" framework, it still ends up being about us, not about the ppor.

Though, if enough people have broader perspectives, perhaps we could get better policies in place regardoing the rest of the world. there are lots of tensions inherent in travel, etc.

Lindy said...

For me, I couldn't fool myself into thinking that I was doing good by going somewhere to build a house. I am already aware of the great needs and it would be better for me to just send the money. But, having the experience of seeing poverty, and being in it, is transformative for those who aren't aware. I think there's a place for both.

Rick Stetves is a Lutheran. I can see it.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Rick makes some good points. Traveling and seeing true poverty changed me and made me much more aware of what a greedy bunch we are here in the US, using far more than our share of the world's resources, with the exception of the poorest in our midst. Even when we try to live green, it computes to our taking more than we should. Seeing the abject poverty in other countries opened my eyes, but I don't know that I've done a whole hell of a lot of good with my knowledge. Aye, there's the rub.

Jan said...

His website helped me a lot when I traveled to Germany to see my daughter about 7 years ago. I didn't know he was a Lutheran.

The Unlikely Conversationalist: said...

thanks for sharing this nugget. Rick Steve's has offered a lot to the church lately.
I like the idea of independent travel and traveling with a purpose that includes relating to the world as a person of faith who is aware of wealth and poverty and the effect that we have on our global neighbors

Border Explorer said...

Diane, I'm so grateful to see this vid. Rick is a wonderful person!

Twenty years ago I accepted the suggestion that instead of using my vacations to move "up" the economic pyramid--and live a life a little nicer than usual--that I use vacation to move "down" and experience life there. Incorporating that idea into any vacation experience thereafter has been life changing.

Repeatedly, communities I've visited in 3rd world countries have thanked me/my group for coming, saying that the solidarity the visit represented meant as much as any money I/we would've sent in lieu of our visit.