09 May 2013

Broken relationships in Lunik IX

I came across this fascinating look at Lunik IX, an infamous Roma settlement in Kosice, Slovakia - a short documentary by Artur Conka.  He was born in Lunik IX, but emigrated with his family and went on to graduate with honors from the University of Derby, England. 

These scenes are familiar. I have been in these apartments several times.  I personally know people who live there today.  As I watch this short documentary, realizing that it is without the full sounds and smells that accompany a visit to Lunik IX, I am reminded of the definition of poverty emerging from the work of Christian development theologies as represented by Bryant Myers, author of Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development - that poverty represents the broken image of God in humanity.

Sin as brokenness is reflected not only in our relationship with God.  We also can suffer broken relationships with ourselves, with others, and with the environment.  As long as any of these are broken, we suffer in poverty.  Poverty is more than not having food to eat or living in filth.  Those things can be resolved with enough investment.  However, unless the poverty of broken relationships is overcome through reconciliation with God, with ourselves, with others, and with the environment is addressed, then no amount of investment is able to restore the image of God in persons.  The healing of the environment in Lunik IX and the Romani people who call it home is rooted in restoring healthy relationships.

Though you may not be familiar with places like Lunik IX, you are probably familiar with the poverty of broken relationships.  How do you bring healing to those situations?  How does your church seek to bring reconciliation in your community?