At our Voices for Justice National Gathering last year, long-time Micah advocate and high school teacher from Sydney's Blue Mountains, Paul Karlik, shared his journey of 'doing justice' with Micah over the past 10 years. Read some of his story below and see what it looks like to make advocacy part of your everyday life.
How and when did you get involved with Micah Australia (formerly Micah Challenge)?
I’ve been fortunate for several years to have been part of the Blue Mountains TEAR support group. TEAR is a coalition member of Micah Australia and we became aware of Micah through TEAR.
Is there an area of Micah’s campaigning work that you are particularly passionate about?
Particularly the campaign for a more appropriate and generous level of aid. I feel this calls on us to be prophetic, to speak of God’s purposes, it calls on me to examine my own priorities, and it calls for us as a nation to say we have higher values than just short term personal economic interest. It recognises that all people are precious to God and created in His image.
How has journeying with Micah impacted your: faith, community, everyday life?
I, along with my wife and other members of our TEAR group are very grateful to Micah. We have lots of reasons for this. They include opportunities to be informed about the reality of life for many around the world, the easy access to clear information, resources and creative campaigning ideas. Also we’ve found the Micah staff to be consistently encouraging and supportive.
Throughout your advocacy journey is there one particular memory/story that stands out to you that you’d like to share with us?
I guess the realisation that meaningful grassroots engagement is possible. That there doesn’t have to be a big disconnect between a sense that there is injustice that must pain God and the capacity to address that injustice, albeit in a modest way. So some of my fondest memories involve working with our TEAR group to creatively highlight some of Micah’s campaigns in our local community. Outdoor classrooms, slum houses, lines of nappies, birthday parties, surveys on aid, along with engagement with successive politicians come to mind.
...there doesn’t have to be a big disconnect between a sense that there is injustice that must pain God and the capacity to address that injustice, albeit in a modest way.
Is there a bible verse or quote that particularly inspires you to seek justice?
I think so much of Scripture points to God’s particular care for marginalised people and for ‘wholeness’ for creation, but I find the opening of Philippians 2 to be a very high calling: to imitate Jesus and have the same attitude.
A well-known quote that is possibly attributed to Edmund Burke is sobering for me. Summarised it is this:
Evil will occur if people such as myself do nothing…
What are you looking forward to/hoping to see with Micah in 2016?
I’d like to see Micah continue doing what I believe it does well: educating and mobilising Christians to take God’s priorities seriously and to help hold our political leaders accountable.
Paul Karlik is a long-term TEAR supporter and Micah advocate from Sydney's Blue Mountains.
If you'd like to be equipped for advocacy within your local community, join us at our Voices for Justice National Gathering on November 19-21 (or one of our events in Adelaide or Brisbane). Click here for more details.