Change takes time.
I love watching turn-around shows because they give the satisfaction of a total transformation in less than an hour. It skips most of the slog and waiting and indecision, highlights one problem, offers a valiant solution, and then ta-da! The house, kitchen, hoarder’s room, bride, or dowdy dresser is now brand new. It’s addictive.
I want that quick change everywhere, and get mad when it doesn’t happen. I went to counseling hard core for 9 years and still have flaws. My kids still think toothbrushing is optional. My marriage is still the safest and hardest thing I know. My faith is full of gaps.
It’s even harder when I think about the world. Will refugees ever stop dying at sea? Will ISIS ever be thwarted? Will homelessness end? Will there always be orphans, dirty water, jails, and sex trafficking? I can’t take it.
My kids can’t take it either. And that’s why we started having a Family Compassion Focus every year. We want to be World Changers. We want to “defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed” (Psalm 82:3). We know we can’t wipe out poverty in the world, but we can ask things like, “God, what would you like our family to do to help refugees today?”
Kent Annan has been cheering our family on from our very first compassion experiment, a little bake sale that exploded into raising $37,000 to help rebuild Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. We were ready to do that partly because we read his first book, Following Jesus Through the Eye of the Needle.
Now we can’t stop cheering Kent on. His new book, Slow Kingdom Coming, grabbed my heart. He addresses how hard it is to do good things with good motives when the bad is so bad, and keeps coming, and keeps getting worse. As I read through his 5 Practices for doing justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly I found myself writing questions in the margins about my motives, desires, and failures. But I didn’t feel shame or despair. I felt challenged, inspired, and encouraged.
I was blown away when Kent asked me to put together a way for families to begin exploring the 5 Practices in Slow Kingdom Coming. I said yes immediately. We’re both desperate for families to find hope, surrender, and joy through practicing justice and compassion. But not as a burden. As a gift.
We put together a Family Toolkit as a gift for you. It is a free download from InterVarsity Press. (You can download it right here: Family Toolkit – Slow Kingdom Coming) It’s a practical, simple, flexible resource for you to explore Attention, Confession, Respect, Partnering, and Truthing as a family. It contains:
- 20 Car Questions – Including “If you had super powers, what would you do to change the world? What would your superhero name be?”
- 11 Family Justice & Joy Activities – Including: I Spy, Reading like an Opera Singer, and Pretending Your Life is a Movie
- Family Prayer Prompts – Including: What do you say when the news is scary, and you really don’t want to go hand out sandwiches to people, and your family can’t stop fighting?
We hope you’ll give the Family Toolkit – Slow Kingdom Coming a try. Some folks already told us they want to use it in their churches and small groups, too. So great!
We’d love to hear what works and what doesn’t, what surprises you, and what you want more of. You can reach us on Facebook, twitter (@kentannan and @aimeenfritz), or in the comments section below. Enjoy!
- Family Toolkit – Slow Kingdom Coming (free download)
- Slow Kingdom Coming Book (amazon)
- Slow Kingdom Coming – World Changer Wednesday (author interview)
- Our Story – How Family Compassion Focus Started (background)
- World Changers (people doing justice, loving mercy, & walking humbly)
©Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2016