One of my favorite podcasts tackled faith and feminism in such a wonderful way: “The problem isn’t the Bible,” a queer feminist chaplain said. “The problem is whom we’ve allowed to read the Bible.”
I didn’t know at the time that “slum tourism” was what I was doing, but my first experience of this phenomenon was in 1993, at age 13, visiting various kinds of neighborhoods around San Miguel, El Salvador, with my uncle, who is Salvadoran. He wanted to impress upon me and my younger sister the vast disparities in lifestyles experienced by rich and poor in that country; we were very sheltered, relatively wealthy white kids. Our experience in El Salvador was life changing, and one of the reasons that I am an avid traveler, unafraid of going almost anywhere or meeting anyone, a former journalist, a seminarian, and a border dweller.
Some question the very premise of slum tourism, calling out the ethics of privileged people paying to witness others’ misfortune and suffering. Experts, however, point out that slum tourism, for better or worse, is almost certainly here to stay. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Our pastoral identity should be grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and obedient above all else to Jesus. We should live as whole persons — not bifurcated — saying and living what we believe the gospel requires of us.
The best reaction to Sofia Vergara at the Emmys that I have seen.
“Vergara’s turn (pardon the pun) arrives at the heels of too many examples of tin ear.”
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