A friend and I have a "bookclub for two" and this is a title he recommended. I find the book quite a challenge. First, because it's written from the perspective of a Christian. I am just not sure where I fall on the Christian scale any more. I'm a cultural Christian. That is my background, was my strong belief system for most of my life, was the framework in which I took action, and those are the holidays I celebrate. But this modern Christian world is not something I recognize as being very Christ-like. A predominance of American Christians seem to have gotten faith and belief mixed up with ideology and politics. I can't be a part of that. So I wonder how this Christian-based book can be translated for a more secular audience that still is drawn to the idea of social outreach and equity.
Beyond that, this book is challenging for its message. What would it be like if we as a people actually LIVED the teachings of Jesus? What if we dwelled with the poor and disenfranchised? What if we cared for the sick, dying and homeless personally? What if we shared all our meals? What if we loved our enemies every time? What if we lived the Beatitudes?
Challenging indeed. In many ways, not very practical while raising a family and trying to provide health insurance. But challenging, nonetheless, to do what we can in our ordinary lives to be as servant to one another.
Perhaps it's taking me a long time to read this book because I can only take so much of this kind of challenge at a time. Then I have to stop. Think. Pray. Mull. And dive in again.
Today marks the 100th time I've made a loan through Kiva. Today I loaned to Yana, a woman in the Ukraine who owns a needlework shop.
I absolutely love this organization that helps folks in the developed world give small loans to small business owners in the developing world. Kiva now even facilitates loans to the working poor in the United States.
Folks in need turn to Kiva when they cannot obtain loans from the usual banks and financial institutions.
Folks with means turn to Kiva to help others collectively in ways that they'd not be able to do individually. So even gals like me that have limited funds to give away can become micro-philanthropists! I give because giving feels good!
So, why Kiva? And how does it work?
Kiva is a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.
You make a loan on Kiva. All Kiva loans are made possible by Field Partners, who vet, administer, and disburse each loan. The Field Partners are little community financial institutions located right in the region where the loan is needed.
Get Updated. Throughout the life of the loan, you will see progress updates from Kiva through your email, and if you come back to the site.
Get paid back. As the borrower repays the loan, the money becomes available in your account. This is called your Kiva Credit.
Repeat.You can now use your Kiva Credit to fund another loan, donate it to Kiva, or withdraw it to spend on something else.
I was able to make my very first Kiva loans because I was given a Kiva gift certificate for Christmas a couple years ago. Over the course of several months, the money I lent was paid back. I loaned again. I was given another gift certificate. I loaned some more. Gradually, I've added to my loan amount so that I am now able to make one loan per week without having to add any more money into the pot. I can loan and reloan and reloan.
For now, I get to help the world economy grow $25 at a time. But should my own circumstances change, I can always withdraw the Kiva Credit as it is repaid to my account and use it for my own needs.
This is a world-class organization ... people helping people ... heart to heart.
Kiva. Loans that Change Lives.
Let it change yours!