A Mile In My Shoes
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“Love your neighbor as yourself.” With this imperative, Jesus made compassion for others central to the Christian life. Being personally and deeply aware of the suffering of our neighbors (both near and abroad) requires deep listening and action. As we should, we’re quick to pray for victims of tsunamis, casualties of war and starving children, but has prayer become a way to avoid taking real action? Are we only attentive to suffering “over there” while detached from the desperate needs of many among whom we live and work? Hudson issues a challenging charge to pay attention all around us and to engage in the spiritual disciplines that enable us to see, hear and respond to the living Christ in our midst. In the dark period of South Africa’s history, the author developed an eight-day experiential program called The Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope. He designed it to enable comfortable, young middle-class South Africans to reflect on the meaning of their faith and discipleship within the harsh and oppressive socio-political realities of their nation. From this experience grew a pattern to help all Christians cultivate the depth of compassion Christ requires. “We seldom become more compassionate without working at it,” writes Hudson. “One practical way to cultivate compassion involves building the pilgrimage experience into our lives. …The risen Christ meets us in the lives of those who suffer.” Learn and experience the three essential ingredients of both an inward and outward pilgrimage: 1. Encounter involves confronting the pain of our shattered and fragmented societies. 2. Reflection comes through daily meditation on scripture in light of the encounters you have. 3. Transformation into greater Christlike-ness comes as a gift. Through these ingredients, pilgrims learn to be present wherever they are, with whomever they meet, and whatever they see as they go about their daily tasks. Questions at the close of each chapter guide the thoughts of individuals and groups as you consider becoming a daily-life pilgrim.