Editor's note: In the United Methodist Great Plains Conference, 10 young adults are learning more about walking with God, strengthening their leadership skills, connecting with churches and working for social change as Micah Corps interns this summer. In this essay, intern Maddi Baugous compares social-justice work to weeding in a garden.
This summer I have been focused on learning more about food security and how we can help those who struggle with getting enough food for an active healthy lifestyle. One of the organizations we have closely worked with is the Big Garden through United Methodist Ministries in Omaha, Neb., which helps create community gardens. While serving as a Micah Corps intern, I got to see a variety of different programs and services the Big Garden provides from helping to start gardens to educating children on the importance of gardening.
These weeds were just like the different problems we are focused on learning about in the Micah Corps.
One day all of the interns were in a garden helping to pull weeds. While pulling the weeds a thought came to mind that these weeds were just like the different problems we are focused on learning about in the Micah Corps. For instance if I just pull off the leaves of the weeds, it may look pretty, but I know the roots are still in the ground, and if I come back in a few weeks the weed will still be there.
In our society this is often how we solve the issues of the world. For example, I can donate food to help someone for a week (pull off the leaves), but if I come back the next week there will be more of a need, more leaves to pull away. To fix the issues, we have to start at the root and work from the ground up.
Pull the roots
As Micah Corps interns, we try to find the ways to fix problems from their source. Sometimes it is difficult because some issues have deeper roots than others. Just like when we were weeding in the garden, some of the weeds’ roots were deeper than others, some have easier fixes than others.
When working for social justice it is important to see that often the best solution is not the easy solution. We need to pull the roots of the weeds, not just their leaves.
Consider becoming a gardener for social change by pulling at the roots of injustice. Check out United Methodist Committee on Relief-endorsed Bread for the World andUnited Methodist Women Action Alerts.