We have returned recently from a trip to South Africa. It is all somewhat discombobulating to return from there to the USA. One drives to the airport in Cape Town past some truly dreadful slums with tense of thousands of people living in tin shacks. One drives home from the airport in Dallas past some of the greatest mansions in the country. The contrast is stunning.
As I have said to many people, the big difference between South Africa and most of the world is that problems are in one’s face over there. It is so much easier living a gentel middle-class existence here to pretend the problems away. One comes out of a Dallas church, waves goodbye to nice people getting into nice cars, and drives to a nice restaurant for a nice meal before going home to a nice house in a nice neighborhood. In Cape Town, one comes out of church to meet a beggar with hand extended, saying “Inasmuch as you do it to the least of these, you do it unto Me.” It is a challenge — an inescapable and very disconcerting challenge.