I am writing this from my vacation in Mexico. Maryan and I have joined Maryan’s brother, David, and his wife, Tami, for a week in Bucerias, a small tourist town in southern Mexico, about half an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It is mainly occupied by Canadian snowbirds who are escaping below the freezing temperatures of the Canadian Rockies. We hear the most common conversation about how cold it is “back at home” for them. Of course, this conversation is happening at an infinity pool on the beach. It is another day in paradise.
Some of you might be asking if Sunny is on vacation, why is he sending a newsletter article? I am not trying to tell you I am having a good time (even though I am), but I am reflecting on how much I appreciate our partnership in our ministry. Being here in a tourist town, I am reminded of the economic disparity and its degrading impact on the majority and the importance of our work as a faith community to dismantle systems of inequity and advocate for a system of justice.
Being in a place like LA and not living in the zip code 90210, it is easy to think that I am not privileged. But being in a tourist town where my money goes much further, I am reminded that many of those who provide me with comfort rely on my generosity. This makes me really uncomfortable. On the one hand, I enjoy the comfort and the ease of laying by the poolside and having food and drinks served to me; on the other hand, it is tough to think that their livelihood depends on my comfort.
While I cannot change the system wholesale today, I try to do what little I can do to make a difference. We buy things from women on the street and patron small restaurants and coffee shops that we know are owned by locals and not expatriates. We know that we could get better prices when we barter, but we don’t.
As a community of faith, let us continue to think about how we can use our resources for the benefit of others in meaningful ways. We are privileged in many ways, but mainly because of where we are born and the conditions we were born into. All this has nothing to do with who we are but with whom we are associated. The real question now for us is how we will use that connection for others so they too can experience the grace of God.
Yes, it is another day in paradise for me, at least for two more days, but what we can do together as a community of faith is to help bring a sense of a day in paradise for others.