Loving Your Neighbor: The Water Project

Jesus said,

‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.

I’ve been having some rich conversations lately about faith, skepticism, and social action (mostly) through the wonderful medium that is the Internet. In the course of conversation, I’ve made the claim that Christianity can be an incredibly powerful source of social change, justice, equity, and charity. As a Christian who’s been involved in the church for my whole life, such a claim is self-evidently true. I mean, I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes and contributed it to it in a variety of ways in my own life. But I take that experience for granted, experience that others with whom I converse regularly do not share.

 

So I began thinking about the people and organizations I was familiar with who were doing this type of work in the world, i.e., loving their neighbors altruistically – with no strings attached. Hence, the title of this post (and hopefully some more to come!).

The Water Project.  Here’s who they are, what they do, and why they’re doing it:

Who We Are

The Water Project, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that’s bringing relief to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water.

What We’re Doing

We help raise both awareness and the funds needed to provide the most basic and life-sustaining need of people…clean water.

We do that by connecting donors to water project implementers who are providing clean water to under-developed nations efficiently and sustainably.

We work closely with partners around the world who identify, implement, report on and follow up on each project. We share this information with our supporters through innovative tools online that inspire confidence in the work being done and the impact it has.

Why We’re Doing It

We believe that providing clean water restores hope by enabling our partners to make a "whole-life impact" in the communities they serve through their broader development activity. We desire to see access to clean water enable schools to thrive, people to get back to work, farming to provide enough food to earn a living, and suffering to be alleviated as health improves.

We believe the issues facing Africa, India and other under-developed parts of the world are not simply today’s problems. We know that a lack of clean water stands in the way of tomorrow’s hope. And we’re sure that together we can change that.

Are We a "Religious Organization"?

No. We are simply a Christian non-profit.

Religious organizations are organized and recognized differently than public benefit charities. The work we do through The Water Project is for the good of the general public. The reason we do this work is because we are Christians. We believe that important distinction allows us to work with people of all backgrounds and faiths for the benefit of all people. Our projects do not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, ethnic or religious backgrounds. We serve others.

We believe that bringing water to those who need it most is a natural expression of how Jesus Christ teaches us all to live. We believe these essential, life-sustaining projects will help enable our partners to demonstrate what loving one’s neighbor is all about. We believe these water projects relieve suffering, open doors to education, stimulate economic development, and most importantly introduce a true and lasting hope.

So simply put, we follow the teaching of Jesus who has called each of us to act, in this world, for peace and justice by loving our neighbor — however, whenever and wherever we can.

We exist to see the world changed through this love. It is a simple message of hope in an increasingly difficult world.

That’s a pretty clear picture of what it means to love your neighbor, I think. We love because we are loved, and love doesn’t distinguish among race, creed, ethnicity, or religious background (or lack thereof). And there are no strings attached – there is a need, and the need is being met, period.

The Water Project is on Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow them here. You can help support them by giving “Twollars” (I’m not kidding), which doesn’t cost you anything but a few seconds of time. Details are on their site under “Action Alert.”

What do you think? Do you have a favorite charity or philanthropic effort that you want to share? What about a personal story?

 

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15 thoughts on “Loving Your Neighbor: The Water Project

  1. I know this is going to sound like a cynical question, but give it serious consideration. So you follow the teachings of Jesus would that change if he were a mythical rather than historical figure? If you yourself came to think of him as a mythical figure?

    1. If this, If you yourself came to think of him as a mythical figure? ever were to happen, I don’t see why I would stop following Jesus. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, part of the reason I am a Christian is because I’ve found that the Christian worldview is persuasive to me and has a lot of explanatory power. I don’t think that explanatory power would disappear or become less persuasive if Jesus were only the “Christ of Faith” and not the “Jesus of History.”

      You may already know this, but the two phrases I quoted just above are phrases that have been/still do get used in the Historical Jesus conversation/debate. The former is akin to what you mean by mythic (I think, don’t mean to put words in your mouth). Rudolf Bultmann wrote and lectured a lot about that topic and has some very interesting things to say about it, at least to me.

      That’s a long way of answering, “No.” 🙂

      And fwiw, it didn’t sound cynical, just honest. I like honest.

      1. Me too.
        That is very interesting. It indicates the power of myth. It can be as or even more influential as actual historical events. If that is the case then it would make little difference if Paul were writing about a mythical Anointed Savior (Christ Jesus) or a historical “Jesus of Nazareth”?

      2. That is interesting background on Bultmann and historical Jesus. Thanks. Seems like this is a discussion that most biblical scholars don’t take seriously. I always wondered why writers like Pagels, Armstrong and Ehrman barely mention the influence of paganism on the development of early Christianity.

  2. Not to get us into a semantic tango, but it all depends on how you or I would define “difference.”

    I’ll go with Websters.Difference is a pretty basic term. Kind of like “is”. Everybody knows what it means. So it’s not a matter of semantics. Instead, you seem to be saying that there would be differences but they would be inconsequential.

    1. I think for many, if the historical Jesus did not exist and all that remained were myths, their faith would evaporate. In that case, there would be a big difference.

      For others who have doubts about the historical Jesus or have already concluded that the Jesus of history and Christ of faith are largely different things (i.e., Jesus may have existed, but the Christ is a myth), then there isn’t much difference.

      In other words, if Paul were writing about only a myth (knowingly or unknowingly), and if that were to be demonstrated beyond question, then I think it would make an enormous difference for a lot of people — because historically, faith in Jesus has been rooted in what are perceived to be historical events (birth, life, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection).

      That’s all I meant to say but didn’t say well.

  3. Well what I thought was remarkable about the article mentioned was the idea that Paul and the Gospel writers were writing about two entirely different conceptions of Jesus. The former mythical. The latter historical. I find that possibility entirely plausible. If there were some shift in the scholarly attitude and this became the prevailing opinion, it’s quite possible that it would make a huge difference to some people.

    “historically, faith in Jesus has been rooted in what are perceived to be historical events (birth, life, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection).”

    These would probably have to reexamine what it means to be Christian and either have to leave the faith or shift their way of thinking away from Jesus of history to the Christ of faith. From Jesus to Christ for short. Because Paul was writing about Christ. And the Gospel writers were writing about Jesus.

    1. Reading Galatians. Paul claims to have met James “the brother of the Lord”; indicating that he did indeed think of Jesus as a historical figure.

        1. Would like to have heard your views on UF topic Worst Father Ever but you chose not to respond. Why not. The hostile environment? Why not respond here? I’m having trouble seeing any image of God in the Bible except the one D.Florian delineates.

        2. Which gravatar? I’ve been playing around with a new photo program lately, so it’s hard to keep track! I’ve had several over the past few days 🙂

          About the Worst Father Post at UF and me not responding. There are a variety of reasons:

          It was Father’s Day, after all, and I just didn’t want to dwell on that post. I have a lot to be thankful for in my own father and my two grandfathers — and I’m very grateful for them and the faith I’ve inherited from them. I just didn’t feel like thinking about Daniel’s post and get involved in a debate about who the Christian God is/is not.

          I didn’t really think about that post much, to be honest. I read it. I thought, ‘nothing like some controversy on Father’s Day to generate traffic to one’s blog,’ and then I kinda forgot about it. Not that he didn’t have something worthy of addressing; I just didn’t feel like it at the time.

          I’ve been really busy at work 🙂

          The time I have spent writing has been in response to a different post at UF, actually, which is still a draft and nowhere near ready to post here. I’m actually doing some research for that one 🙂

          The hostile environment… well, I guess that feeds into my first reason. It was Father’s Day, and I didn’t feel like getting into a debate. No doubt about that.

          I don’t want to turn this blog into a brgulker vs. Daniel blog. I responded to one of his posts ~ a month ago, and I’m working on a response to another currently…

          And for what it’s worth, I’ve never really thought of my blog as a platform to argue for the merit of Christianity (i.e., apologetics). Originally, the people who followed the blog were family and friends, and we all have fairly similar assumptions about God and religion… so apologetics hasn’t been something on my radar when it comes to blog posts.

          Anyway, let me think about the topic for a while. If I don’t make a post out of it, remind me of your interest here. I’ll get an automated e-mail, and then maybe we could chat about the topic more.

  4. Not sure how. But the site is Debunking Christianity.

    The article is

    Where is the 800 pound gorilla?
    By bart willruth at 3/02/2008

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