On poverty

21 05 2009

I was speaking with a friend last week about the gospel, poverty, and activism. One of the things he said was “The best way to fight poverty is to make the poor uncomfortable in their own poverty.” I am trying to remember that what I think of when I think of poverty is not always what other people think. I assume he was thinking of the poor as those who take advantage of government programs and people’s hospitality, not an Iraqi family living in the midst of a war (a new report just came out saying that one in four Iraqis live under the poverty level). Regardless, I think this statement is telling of many people today, and I have a few responses.

1. I highly doubt that those who are truly living in poverty find it comfortable.

2. We are so distanced from the poor that we blame them for their circumstance instead of reflecting on our own greed and critiquing those systems of government and religion that systematize oppression.

3. We have believed a lie and ignored the gospel’s call.

What are your thoughts. I have many more, but it would end up being a rant.

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2 responses

23 05 2009
Josh

first off, i miss you a whole lot. my first response to what your friend said frustrated me to say the least. but it does remind me like you that not everyone thinks likes me. at the same time people don’t always interpret what the gospel or ευαγγελιον is really about. as i grow continue to grow in my understanding i see how it is not only a present and future spiritual gift/calling, but also a present life calling to look after the poor and oppressed. one of the big themes of both the old and new testaments is the calling to look after and care for the orphans, widows and those who are oppressed.

if God is truly the god of the oppressed, which I believe he is, then the whole theme of the Bible revolves around God saving those who are oppressed. Rob Bell does a great job in talking about this subject in the book “Jesus Wants to Save Christians”. along the same lines i believe that the poor are included in the category of oppressed. i have so much more to say, but it is late. another time i will speak more.

23 05 2009
jillnelson

Josh. Agreed! please, speak more!

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