CBM & Simeon

Ordinary Time 6/Epiphany 6 – Saturday

[ now playing? ] VA – Survivor Songs: This Side Of Heaven

I have been rather encouraged by what is going on with EMP MYF in terms of social justice/action. February ’09 was designated as a month for Christian Blind Mission (that’s the Australian site, they have offices in a number of countries in the world, including the USA and the UK). Some of them probably didn’t know about CBM before but I think a few of them might have known about CBM from the various flyers that are sent out with Koorong & (sometimes) Word catalogues. I’m one of those that have received their flyers from Word & Koorong (along with other flyers from groups like the Roman Catholic aid organization Caritas). But I heard a personal story about what CBM does while I was at NCYC.

One of the bands that I heard at NCYC09 Converge was Simeon. The leader of the band, Simeon Shinkfield, lived in Niger during the 1990s and while initially shocked at the situation there, eventually became numb to the poverty, hunger and sickness around him. Until one day he woke up from his apathy to the plight of others around him. He wrote a song about it (“Not Calming Down”) and now, his band Simeon is partnering with CBM Australia to improve the lives of those in Niger who are blind or otherwise uncared for in their disabilities.

The Republic of Niger is one of the most impoverished nations on the earth, with a high Gini coefficient (50.5, the higher the number, the greater the inequality between those who are rich and poor) and ranking 174th on the UN’s Human Development Index (which is only marginally better than Mozambique, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic and Sierra Leone). Nominal GDP per capita is $312 and when adjusted for purchasing power parity, is scarcely better at $667 per capita. The figures are enough to tell you that poverty is almost a fact of life for the people in Niger. But a fact that can be changed into a better fact.

I daresay that living in a country as blessed as Australia, Christians unfortunately become apathetic to the world outside of our own little bubble. Myself included (I may even be at the top of the number of Christians who are apathetic to the plight of others in the poorest parts of the world apart from prayers for their receipt of aid and assistance). As such, support for a project that CBM does in Niger is a good thing (as is any project that CBM does anywhere else in the world to aid and assist “the least of these”, Matt 25:37-40). The feel-good factor is the last thing in my mind as I made my donation (the tax deduction come end of financial year was the second last thing in my mind). Instead the money was sent and donated with a prayer that God allows these funds to be used to restore the health and vitality of individual Nigeriens and their community so that those whom God has created in his image can begin to live a life with the same dignity that all of God’s creation deserves to live with.

For those of you who actually want to listen to “Not Calming Down”, you can purchase the CD single and Simeon will donate $10 out of the purchase price to CBM in providing cataract operations. That’s actually quite good because while at NCYC09, I paid $10 for the single meaning that every cent from the sale is going to CBM’s work in Niger providing cataract operations and eye care. And you may even want to make a donation to other projects that CBM is doing in Niger as well.

And locally here in Brisbane (and in other Australian capital and some regional cities), the next time you see a guy or gal selling The Big Issue, pick one up too. It’s a good read and half the money goes to the vendor, who is most likely homeless in the capital city you live in (which reminds me to pick up a copy from one of the vendors in Brisbane’s CBD on Monday).

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“Not Calming Down” by Simeon

It’s drawing me under | It’s taking me out to sea | My spirit’s asunder; heart ache | Evil spreads naturally | I keep seeing the faces | Your brokenness becoming mine | Even in my sleep I’m shaking | I’ll speak up; I’m over the line now

I’m not calming down | Another father’s child laid in the ground | I won’t turn around | I’m sick of thinking that this life is mine

Another Sunday; | a life at rest but will we wake? | If we talk and cry but do nothing; | we fall | We deny Jesus face, yeah | She closes his eyes | She says goodbye to | her hope in life laid dry

I’m not calming down | Another father’s child laid in the ground | I won’t turn around | I’m sick of thinking that this life is mine

Who hears his cry? | Who cares enough to push themselves aside? | Do we see the lie? | Something’s giving as our worlds collide.

I’m not calming down | Another father’s child laid in the ground | I won’t turn around | I’m sick of thinking that this life is…

I’m not calming down | Another 30,000 buried now | I won’t turn around | I’m sick of thinking that this life is mine.

+ bf 1054hrs

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One thought on “CBM & Simeon”

  1. Hi B,

    Thank you so much for your support of our ministry. On behalf of the poorest people living with disabilities and their families – thanks – we appreciate it very much!

    The Simeon Project is a fantastic blessing to us and we praise God for our partnership with the band. Not Calming Down is going very well in the charts, we are excited and hope it continues to climb.

    We noticed you are a Queenslander! Simeon his band will be performing again this year at Easterfest in Toowoomba at Easter weekend. If you do go, be sure to stop in at the CBM Stand and say G’day to our team.

    Thanks again for all that you do!
    Bless you Heaps,

    The Crew at CBM Australia.

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