Africa for Norway – getting compassion down cold!

Have you seen this parody of music fundraiser videos such as Live-Aid? It’s funny and clever and wise all at once:

We are called to comfort others with compassion, to coming alongside others as God comes alongside us. (2 Cor. 1:3-4.) As the video shows through its parody, though, it’s not always easy to discern what real compassion (to suffer with others, literally) looks like.

How do you discern the right way to comfort others with true compassion?

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9 Responses to Africa for Norway – getting compassion down cold!

  1. Aimee Byrd says:

    Great video and great topic. One takeaway from a parody like this is starting with our “local” neighbors. Are there people suffering close to us? What if we were all to start with our true neighbors? Our family? Our church? Our neighborhood? Our friends? The stranger at the gate? Instead, sometimes we make ourselves feel charitable by sending radiators to Norway. (Of course, this video also forces us to think about real versus perceived needs.)

    • Tim says:

      Real versus perceived: good point, Aimee.

      I was just listening to a report on NPR last night that talked of the thousands of toys and stuffed animals that are sent to a community after a disaster. It’s happened after Hurricane Katrina, the Haitian earthquake, Super-storm Sandy, the Connecticut shooting. One Red Cross worker said they once had to divert a cargo plane full of medical supplies to an airport hours away because the small airstrip in the country she was in was piled high with things they couldn’t use but people had sent anyway.

      Occupy Sandy, a relief group that arose in answer to the devastation in New York and New Jersey, came up with an answer to this problem of connecting needs to those who want to give. They created a type of registry on Amazon, much like a wedding registry, to list items needed. Then people could click on something and feel that they had given in a more tangible way than merely sending money. But all the relief groups said money was still the best donation they could use.

  2. “Frost bite kills too”. . .thing is that this could actually make it somewhere if it were real!! I love Band-Aid. 😦 oh well.

    • Tim says:

      “if it were real”

      Good point, Victoria. I like how this video points out that cultural differences can lead to misunderstanding what each other’s needs really are. And they can get in the way of meeting the needs that are really out there in this world.

      It reminds me of an old Archie comic book I read where Archie and Betty were trying to get Veronica to understand why they helped people in need. Veronica started to get it, then said she wanted to help out too. So she packed some caviar and foie gras and drove over to another rich friend’s house, saying she’d heard that they had to sell a Bentley or something like that because money got a little tight. Betty looked at Archie and said, “Well, at least it’s a start!”

      People know that others need help, but they don’t always know how to go about helping in the right way. Prayer and jumping in to start helping are key, I think, trusting God to guide us in delivering compassion as he has had compassion on us.

  3. Jeannie says:

    This excellent video made me think of The Five Love Languages — we might think we know best what someone needs/wants, but are we really thinking about what is best for them? I also liked Aimee’s point above about starting where we are: not that we want to “circle the wagons” and take care only of ourselves, but we often miss what is right under our noses because we think it’s “sexier” (if I can use that word) to jump on some more popular bandwagon.

    All that said, the video is so funny and appealing too! That bouncing radiator really did it for me.

  4. Lyndsay says:

    This was brilliant. For all the reasons above: real vs. perceived needs, imperialistic attitudes, culturally insensitive, ignorant to the real issues, and as mentioned above, the “Band-aid” that generates dependency and not self-sufficiency. It is also an excellent parody of how social media becomes an easy “feel-good” outlet for people (without requiring them to do anything other than watch the video and post a link.) Thinking -Kony 2012…

    How much better then to build long standing relationships, thinking globally but ensuring you are also acting locally, using relationships to foster community development, learning about someone (i.e. 5 Love Languages), and letting them determine their own needs. Hum, sounds an awful lot more like Jesus’s ministry than I ever realized (dawning realization…).

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