Gratitude

14 11 2011

A bunch of my friends on facebook are daily making their statuses something they are grateful for. For whatever reason, I did not join that bandwagon. Probably because I’m typically ungrateful. So here is my attempt at getting up to speed with them. A list of 14 things I’m thankful for and why (in no particular order):

1. I’m thankful that I get to experience life in Barranquilla. It has been challenging and difficult at times, but I know I am the better for it.

2. I’m thankful for my mom and Billy. Without them. I definitely would not have survived my transition into life as a grown-up. They have been there for me emotionally, spiritually, and financially. I owe them an unpayable debt.

3. I’m thankful for my awesome sisters. All four of you mean more to me than I can express. I love that we can laugh together and that we can celebrate each others’ successes and support each other through the “failures.” I love you all!

4. I’m thankful for my mutt Abelard. He has been my little shadow for three years. It’s been a difficult few months without him and I’m sure he’ll have some trouble transitioning back into my care. But I love that crazy dog even when he poops in the house and eats things he shouldn’t and gnaws on my dresser. He makes everyday a little more interesting.

5. I’m thankful for my nieces and nephews. These kids light up my life. I’ve watched some of them grow from adorable little babies who just wanted to curl up on my chest and go to sleep to amazing young adults. And for the younger ones, I’m enjoying watching you grow and learn. All of you make life worth living. I’m so blessed to be your aunt.

6. I’m thankful for my brothers. Ryan, I have some great memories of when we were kids. I hope that we can make more now that we are adults. Jason, I’m so thankful that we were finally able to meet! It’s been a great two years getting to know you and your family. I love you!!

7. I’m thankful for Monica and Alvaro, my Colombian parents. I’m constantly amazed by their generosity and hospitality – not just to me, but to everyone that they encounter. May I learn to be that gracious.

8. I’m thankful for Divine Life. I’ve been a member of this particular community since the summer of 2004. This community has been there to support me during some of the darkest moments of my life. They have also been there to celebrate with me through my successes. I’ve learned more about grace and forgiveness and hope and love from you all than you will ever know. I miss you all and cannot wait to be back amongst you. (fingers crossed that you are missing me, too!)

9. I’m thankful for my dad. He and I are a lot alike in that we are both very hardheaded and stubborn. It is this that makes us argue so much. But I’m grateful that I get to hear his stories a hundred times and that we have a good relationship. It has taken many years on my part to get to this point, but I’m thankful that I won’t have any regrets about our relationship when all is said and done.

10. I’m thankful for Colombian style hotdogs. Seriously, they are delicious. I’m going to learn how to make them before I come home.

11. I’m thankful that I can at least understand some Spanish, even if I can’t speak it yet. It definitely helps that I can figure some things out on my own.

12. I’m thankful for the way God has provided for me to get to Colombia and while I’ve been here. I still need a few hundred dollars to get me home, thanks to a passport issue, but I’m confident that God will handle that.

13. I’m thankful for good friends. I’m thankful that I can laugh until I cry with you. I’m thankful that you forgive my stupidity and let me be myself. I’m thankful that you stuck with me when I was difficult to tolerate. I miss you all!!!!!!!

14. I’m thankful for Skype. Without it, I would be very limited with my contact home. I’m so grateful that anytime I’m homesick, I can call my family or friends and speak in English really fast!

So there you have it, up to date gratitude 🙂

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It Hurts Like a Billy-Oh

30 08 2011

This post is very personal.  It’s a bit more personal than I’m comfortable with, but I think that I should share it anyway because people want to know what this whole experience is like, not just the good parts.  Right?

This week was rough.  We’re talkin’ curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-cry-myself-to-sleep rough.

I was lonely.  Not the kind of lonely that made me want to go home.  Not the kind of lonely borne out of self-pity.  It was an entirely new kind of lonely.  It was isolation.  Yes, I have friends here.  Yes, I live with people who speak English.  Yes, I can call home whenever I want.

But I was still lonely.

Have you ever had an experience of loss (a break-up, death, end of a friendship, etc.) ?  Do you remember how it felt like something was literally ripping open your chest?  That’s what this felt like, except without the loss.

I emailed by pastor back home asking him to pray with me and for me.  I told him that I needed an English-speaking friend that was fully, 100% fluent that I could have an easy conversation with (perhaps even a thoughtful, deep conversation) or I was going to have a meltdown.  In typical Chris Green fashion, he encouraged me to embrace the isolation, to lean into God, and to not resent the process.

I’m trying. It’s not easy.  And I’m fairly certain I have some more time in this lonliness before I get the friend I so desperately want…if I get the friend.

Upon reflecting on this time, I was reminded of the book The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis (part of The Chronicles of Narnia).  In the story, there is a character named Eustace.  Lewis writes, “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

He is not very likeable and he doesn’t try to be.  He resents the fact that he is in Narnia and that he is stuck on the ship, “The Dawn Treader,” against his will.  The crew lands on an island where a dragon lives. Eustace, in attempt to avoid work,  stumbles upon the dragon only to discover that it is dying.  He decides to tell everyone that he killed the dragon.

Now, as we all know, dragons are hoarders of treasure.

With the dragon dead, Eustace finds that he is surrounded by all sorts of gold and diamonds and jewels.  He finds a golden bracelet and puts it as high on his arm as he can so that it won’t come off.  Then he falls asleep.  When he wakes, he discovers that he has turned into a dragon overnight.  This discovery of his dragoned self humbles Eustace and he seeks to make amends with the crew for his behaviour, but that’s difficult since he’s a dragon that can’t talk. It seems that he is set to be a dragon forever now.

But then comes this beautiful scene. Aslan comes to Eustace and tells him to unrobe.  Eustace tries to remove the dragon skin several times, but each time he finds that he is just as much a dragon as he was before.  Finally, Aslan helps him.  The way to remove the dragon skin is deep, painful clawing into the flesh.

This is how Eustace describes it:

“Then the lion said – but I don’t know if it spoke – You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep and I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know – if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

“And there was I as smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.”

All that to say: If I need to be undragoned, so be it.  It hurts like a billy-oh, but it is necessary.  I cannot undragon myself.  If this is part of the process, I welcome it.  I don’t want to be a dragon anymore.





a brief update with some photos!

16 07 2011

My suitcase finally arrived. The airport delivered it to the house. It was a bit strange not going to the airport yesterday, but it was also kind of nice. For the first time in a week, I wasn’t at an airport. I thought that day would never come.

Yesterday I visited the school. It was wonderful. I was introduced to all the classes. The younger kids could not believe that I don’t know Spanish. The older kids were fairly disinterested in me. The middle kids were totally intrigued by me. They had so many questions. When I left the sixth grade class, my translator said the boys were all saying, “bye, my love!” During lunch, I was surrounded by around 15 children that wanted to start my Spanish lessons. They had me saying everything from star to flute. I’m not 100% certain what they were having me say. I was assured it was nothing bad.

I went to the mall last night. This mall is a billion times nicer than any mall I have seen in America. It is four stories in two buildings. It’s classy and awesome. I kind of want to be there all the time.

So, when Monica introduced me to the school and some members of the church, she said that I will be staying for four months….. I guess they only need me this one semester. Perhaps that will change by the time November rolls around. I am prepared to stay for at least a year, so we shall see what happens. I must have misunderstood or assumed or something. Oh well. Four months or a year or ten years: this is an experience of a lifetime and I will take in every minute!

For those of you who are curious, I do have an air conditioner in my room. I only run it at night to save costs. Right now, I’m in my room and I have a fan going, but I’m probably melting. All I know is I won’t be complaining in Oklahoma (at least not for a while). Here are some pictures of mi casa.

my bedroom

my dining room

my living room

So,I was thinking, when this is all over, I can start my life in the states back up wherever I want. I will have so much freedom of choice! What are your thoughts? Where should I go (Stilwell is not an option, sorry!)?





Oh, how things change.

9 06 2011

It’s weird to think about how things have changed in my life in the last year. And how happy I am that they have, even though I fought the process every step of the way.  Let’s go back to 2010.

January 2010 was the first time I ever met my brother, sister (in-law), nieces, and nephew.  It seems strange that it hasn’t even been 2 years since we made contact.  It is like we didn’t miss out on anything.  They are my family and I’m constantly amazed at how unforced the developing of our relationships have been.  God really did know the timing for us to meet. 

Then in February I started dating this guy (for the sake of this blog, let’s call him Monty).  Monty and I had a long distance relationship and it had its ups and downs, but, overall, it was a great experience for me.  I don’t regret dating him and I look back on our time together with fondness.  Monty is a good man.  But our lives were going in different directions.  He has a daughter and what’s best for her trumped what’s best for “us” any day of the week – and rightfully so.  I could never ask him to choose between us.  Finishing my education is non-negotiable.  And that could take me anywhere.  One of us would have had to give up on something  that is very important to us – and we both felt like that was only going to breed resentment if we tried to continue our relationship.  So we ended it, on good terms.   I don’t talk to Monty much anymore.  He’s seeing someone else now and they seem very happy together.  And I’m moving to South America – something that couldn’t have happened if we had stayed together.

In August, my youngest nephew was born.  Landon Rhone 🙂  Oh, how I love that baby.  I was totally shocked when my sister said she was pregnant, but this precious little boy has definitely brought us closer as sisters.  I do hope I get to see him before I move since I’ll be in South America on his first birthday.  I guess I’ll just have to get him something awesome from Colombia as a gift.

In October, I was unemployed for a month.  That was actually not that scary.  My bills were all paid and I saw people being generous with me all the time.  Unemployment, though seemingly scary, ended up being a time of prosperity and encouragement for me.  I’m so glad I went through that.

Last November, I had to move. I was living in a townhouse owned by some friends of mine.  I had told them when I moved in that if they ever found a buyer to just sell the place.  The sold it in November.  So, I moved to the highlands – where I currently reside. 

Since my unemployment and my move, my budget has been getting steadily more restrictive.  I have felt like every time I pay a bill, I was using borrowed money.  I have felt trapped by my financial obligations and I have been praying for months for a way out of them.  I didn’t expect it to be Colombia as the answer, but I’ll take it 🙂

Then, sometime in the fall, we found out my oldest neice was pregnant.  She was very young – very.  It was world shattering at the time.  I had no idea how to respond.  I remember adamantly refusing to call it a “mistake.”  I never want to think of my precious little Addilynn coming into this world as a mistake.  She was a surprise, for sure, but no mistake.  Our family had a hard time adjusting to this new development, and an even harder time learning how to respond to it.  But, despite Kendra’s age, she’s handled this parenting thing like a pro.  Addilynn is the best thing to happen to our family in a long time.  If she’s not one way that God intends to restore and heal my family from the things that try to destroy us, then I don’t know what is.  She is redemption. Period.

she is fat, also.

And through all of that, there was the thesis.  That nagging little assignment that was the difference between a degree or wasted energy.  I was convinced that God had good things in store for me when I finished.  Not because he was holding out on me, but because the thesis writing process was making me who I needed to be to receive the good things.  I was right.

A lot of other stuff took place last year, a lot of really painful things, a lot of really great things, a lot of really personal things that are just none of your business. 

When 2010 was over, I was ready for 2011.  I ended 2010 exhausted, broke, and very unhappy.  After the break up with Monty, the moving out, and the budget crisis, I felt hopeless and faithless.  Good thing my faithfulness has nothing to do with God’s faithfulness to me.  I remember talking to my pastor Chris and telling him I thought that my faith in breaking it off with Monty, quitting my job, and moving to a new place was going to be rewarded with a season of good things.  I was so mad at God for me being in a worse financial situation than before, by being alone, and by not giving me a job in a school like I had prayed for.  I was so sick of 2010 by the end of it! 

The first couple of months of 2011 didn’t really start out much better.  My budget didn’t change, my anxiety of doing it “alone” only increased, and I was still working insurance – not teaching, which is the dream. Where were my good things?  I’m glad I didn’t know then what I know now. 

I had to learn to trust others with my money.  I had to learn that living alone and being single does not mean I’m living this life “alone.”  I had to finish my thesis.  I had to learn the value of my family.  I had to recognize the things God has called me to and be willing to pursue them no matter the cost (i.e. ending things with Monty).  I had to learn to live on very little, trusting that God will provide for my needs – and trusting that if it’s not provided, it’s not a need. 

In short, I had to grow up.  Yes, there is a lot more growing to do.  But I am convinced that those lessons must be learned the hard way – only this time in Colombia.  Hopefully, I won’t fight them as much this time.  Hopefully, I will trust that God is in control even when I don’t understand the way it’s happening.

So, I’m moving to Colombia.  I’m excited, terrified, nervous, exhausted, happy, sad, and invigorated all at once.  It’s a weird place to be in.

Until next time…





How do we respond to Japan?

18 03 2011

If you are anything like me, the minute you heard about the devastating earthquake/tsunami/nuclear-crisis trifecta, you began plotting ways to get there – to help hands on – to make the difference. Then, if you are anything like me, you realize how terribly arrogant we Americans can become in situations like this.  “I” am going to help.  “I” am going to make the difference.  Well, I’m a Christian before I am an American.  The fact is, God is the only one who can make the difference – in Japan and in me. 

I’m not saying I shouldn’t go and do what I can.  There is definitely a solidarity this world desperately needs when people can put aside cultural, religious, and political differences and just help.   According to James, true and undefiled religion is helping the widow and the orphan.  Well, Christians, there are several thousand more widows and orphans needing us to reach out with the hands of Christ.   And they aren’t statistics – they are people.  People God created and loves.  People that Christ died for and loves. 

What I am saying is, before I pack my bags and aimlessly go, maybe I should pray.  Maybe I should trust that God really is in control even when disasters like this cause me to doubt.  Maybe God really does love Japan and knows how best to heal the wounds.  Maybe, just maybe, God knows what needs doing better than I do. 

I’m not going to pretend I know why these things happen.  Why God would “allow” this sort of devastation to occur.  I’m not sure I would understand even if I did know.  It is encouraging  that I’m not the first one questioning God.  And I’m not the first one being answered with silence.  As God reminded Job: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”  But Job never did get to learn why the bad things happened, but he did come to rejoice in God again. 

I am also not going to pretend I feel much more about this than I do watching a crime drama.  It’s unbelievable – and the 30 second reports I am getting here and there only reinforce my warped sense of reality – that this is just entertainment.  These things don’t really happen.  People in Japan aren’t really suffering.  I am seeking out every opportunity to talk about the tragedy.  To read everything I can. To watch everything I can.  I NEED this to be real to me.  I NEED my emotions to catch up with my brain.  I NEED to feel this.  I NEED God to teach me how to feel it rightly!

During this time that I, half a world away, struggle to even just believe the reports I am seeing, I must have faith.  And if it is in my story that I should go and help, I must have faith.  I must have faith that God is redeeming creation – ALL OF IT – even if it’s not happening my way.  I must have faith that God is mourning with the people of Japan – even if I want to blame him for not stopping the devastation.  I must have faith that Japan will be able to rejoice again, even though they are irreparably scarred.  I must have faith – faith that risks me looking the fool. 

And maybe now is also a good time to say a prayer for all those irreparably scarred by Oklahoma’s bombing or 9/11 or the New Zealand quake.  Or the countless other tragedies that remind us of our vulnerability and need for one another.





FEMME discussion

6 07 2009

This is something i wrote for the women’s group at my church. A little less formal of a writing style on this one. enjoy!

Before you read this, I suggest reading Genesis 29:1-30:24. If you feel ambitious, read the entire “Jacob cycle” (27-35); it’s interesting stuff.
The story of Rachel and Leah is an interesting, and often overlooked, one. The part of their story I want to focus on details the births of the first eleven sons and the one daughter. Many commentators have read this story and celebrate the birth of the tribe’s of Israel. In most Bibles, the caption for this passage is something along the lines of “The Birth of Jacob’s Sons.” While this is true, it immediately puts the reader in a position to read with blinders on, so to speak, ignoring what can be learned from Leah and Rachel. The names they give their children tell the hidden story of the sisters, and it is this story from which I think we can learn.
After the debacle that is the Leah-Jacob-Rachel wedding triangle, the story moves us into the birthing narratives. First to conceive is Leah. This is an interesting twist in the story. As one might guess, motherhood was highly valued in ancient Israel, and a wife that was not bearing children could be reconsidered, to put it delicately. So it is quite interesting that, after we are told that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, Leah is the first to bear children. As the first wife, Leah was chief wife (polygamy was a common practice and seemed to be more concerned with protection and survival than “love” in the way we think of it); as the wife producing children she was the wife with social status. But notice how she names her children:

Reuben: “Because the Lord has seen my affliction, now surely my husband will love me.” Her first son is conceived through God’s direct intervention (this is why you should have your Bible close by…). But Leah assumes God is intervening to bring Jacob closer to her.

Simeon: “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” Her thoughts are still on her unloving husband, not on the work of God in her life.

Levi: “Now this time my husband will be joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Levi is the only son she bears whose naming does not acknowledge God at all. For a moment, Leah seems to lose her awareness of God’s work with her attention solely on Jacob’s approval.

Judah: “This time I will praise the Lord.” This naming is, for me, the most interesting. Jacob is not even alluded to. Interestingly, Matthew’s gospel traces the genealogy of Jesus to the tribe of Judah. The one child born in pure praise to God is the ancestor of Jesus. I find this beautiful (albeit a digression on my part).

After this sequence of births, we get a rare glimpse into the domestic life of Rachel and Jacob. Rachel becomes envious of Leah and demands that Jacob give her children lest she die. It is evident by the multiple children borne by Leah that the fertility problem does not lie with Jacob (though even if it did, no one would ever know; women were thought of as “incubators” so any problem with reproduction was because of the incubator, not the seed). Her demand for children is followed by one of the most darkly ironic statements in the Bible: “or I shall die”. Genesis 35:16-18 reports that Rachel died during the birth of her son Benjamin.

Jacob’s response to Rachel is very important. He told her that it is God who has withheld children from her. I think this indicates two things about their relationship: that Jacob longed to give Rachel children and that Jacob trusted in God’s timing (though some have read this as Jacob pushing the “blame” on God). Unfortunately Rachel was too caught up in her competition with Leah to trust God. This is evidenced by the next portion of the text.

Rachel recruits her maid Bilhah to bear children for her (it always amazes me how quickly the Sarah/Hagar story is forgotten). “So that she may bear on my knees” is interesting. Some think it was a sort of adoption ritual. Others, myself included, think it was a kind of fertility wish. The birthing mother would stand while giving birth and the mid-wife would lie on her back with her knees up to catch the child as it was born. It was thought to magically increase fertility in the midwife. Note the children’s names:

Dan: “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Naphtali: “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and have prevailed.”

Rachel feels in some ways vindicated (by God and in front of Leah) in having these children, but the reality is that Leah still had more kids and they were from her own womb. Regardless of her obvious advantage, Leah is provoked to jealousy. She volunteers Zilpah for childbearing to Jacob. She conceives and names them:

Gad: “Good fortune!” Asher: “Happy am I! For the women will call me happy.”

Note the difference between how Leah names these children and how she names her natural borne children. With the first four sons, Leah recognizes the role of God in the birth though she may be confused as to why God was involved. Here Leah is solely concerned with herself. She has “good fortune” and she will be called happy by the other women.

It is interesting that for Leah(29:31, 30:17) and Rachel(30:22) God opens their wombs so that they can conceive. With Bilhah and Zilpah (the maids) God is not said to open their wombs. The children borne of Bilhah and Zilpah are borne of the works of Rachel and Leah.

The next scene is full of as much manipulation and dehumanizing usage as the scene with Zilpah and Bilhah. Only this time Jacob is the pawn in the sisters’ struggle with one another. Rachel asks Leah for the mandrakes Reuben brought her. This seems innocent enough, but Rachel likely understood mandrakes to be a powerful fertility drug. Leah’s response is bitter and jealous: “Is it a small matter that you have taken away my husband? Would you take away my son’s mandrakes also?” Rachel agrees to let Jacob “lie” with Leah that night in exchange for the mandrakes. When Leah informs Jacob of the agreement, he silently complies.

God again opens Leah’s womb and she conceives two more sons and one more daughter:

Issachar: God has given me my hire, because I gave my maid to my husband.” It is possible that Leah was trying to aggravate Rachel with this. If “bearing on my knees” is a fertility wish, then it did not work for Rachel. Leah was the first to conceive.

Zebulun: “God has endowed me with a good dowry; now my husband will honor me, because I have borne him six sons.” Notice that she claims to have given Jacob six sons, ignoring the two borne of Zilpah. Leah here refuses responsibility for what she has given another. She has also gone back to square one, hoping Jacob will give her the acknowledgement she deserves for the children she has produced.

After this, Leah gives birth to Dinah, who unfortunately is given no naming speech. This is followed by God opening Rachel’s womb for no apparent reason. We are told that God remembered Rachel and she gave birth to Joseph saying “God has taken away my reproach; may the Lord add to me another son!” Rachel is still unsatisfied with her lot. Bilhah’s children were not enough, and neither is Joseph. She does eventually have another son, and dies in childbirth, naming him Ben-oni (son of my sorrow). Jacob calls him Benjamin.

What can we learn from these two sisters and their struggle with one another? First, I think it is quite obvious that neither celebrates the work of God in their life. They see the birth of their children as a means to an end and not an end in itself. They, being unsatisfied in their situation, refused to enjoy and appreciate the happiness God was giving them. Leah’s constant struggle for the love of Jacob, endlessly threatened her relationship with her sister. Rachel’s incessant need for children, most likely for social gain, threatened her marriage. Both sisters, instead of rejoicing that God had opened their wombs, craved more so that they could attain what they wanted: love and approval from those around them.

This happens in our life as well. We live in a society that judges us on performance, but we fortunately do not serve a God that does so. If we base our judgments of those around us on how well they perform and not on what God says about them, we sin. Those who regarded Leah highly because she bore Jacob many children were wrong to do so. They allowed the societal standards to determine her value. Had Jacob divorced Rachel because of her infertility, he would have been wrong to do so. He would have judged her worth on her function. We cannot allow ourselves to judge another on performance. We must trust what God has said about us and live as though that were the reality. And this is not easy.

We also learn what jealousy can do between two people. We cannot allow ourselves to be envious over what God is doing in another. Leah could not be content that God knew she was unloved and blessed her with many children. Rachel could not accept that the love of Jacob was enough and craved something that was not for her. Their jealousy led them to use their maids as objects to attain more children. They played God and ultimately dehumanized others. I have heard it argued that it was socially acceptable to provide a surrogate in the event of infertility to continue the family lineage (and I am convinced of a few instances where perhaps it is), but in this story I do not believe it is. Jacob has his heir; the lineage is intact. Bilhah and Zilpah are used to gain a want, not a need. They are ignored as soon as their function is performed; Rachel and Leah are still unsatisfied. Attempts to attain what God has for you outside of God’s timing, though seemingly fruitful, are ultimately futile and dissatisfying.

I think we can learn a lot more from these two sisters, but this is a start. Here are some questions to help guide your response:

1. In what ways are you viewing the work of God in your life as a means to an end, and not rejoicing in the work itself?

2. How have you judged those on your life? On performance or on truth? How do you change the tendency toward performance-based judgment?

3. How has jealousy over God’s work in others hindered you from growing into who God would have you to be? How can you rejoice in the growth of others without allowing jealousy to blind you to your own growth?

4. How have you dehumanized and used others (even in socially acceptable ways) to attain what you want?





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.