8.24.2006

poverty

"When we think of poverty, we must think of more than food, shelter, and clothing. There are girls sold into prostitution whose enslavement in some small way mirrors the suicidal Ivy League co-eds who hate the way their bodies look. We find poverty when we look at children of divorce sitting next to children who grew up without fathers. Equally, men who are addicted to porn are trapped in a poverty of spirit that demands intervention.
The truth is disturbing, familiar, haunting, and normal all at once. Issues abound on the streets of our cities for all to see and point their finger at, while similar issues wreak havoc in the suburbs, behind gated communities and closed doors where no one will notice. More and more, these images describe a group of people known as the church. And this fact is both invigorating and instructive when we recognize that the ones commissioned to reach out to the poor are also quite poor. "


Bo White's words are so cutting. So true.
Living in suburbia is a new thing for me (if a year is still considered new). I've been shocked by the extremes of overparenting and underparenting. I've been disturbed by the emptiness, yet complete reliance, on materialism. It's wickledly contagious.
I know that God has called me to this place through the words of my congregation, through the work that He has put before me. But it is easy to covet the sensationalist ministry of the missionary or the emerging church down the street (across the country, same difference). In fact, I read so much in Christian "literature" that promotes my coveting. They ask me what I have done lately for the poor. It's never enough that I have a compassion child, Ruth, in India. That I give food and clothes and money regularly to food banks and emergency relief. If I am not giving food and clothes, I am not serving God and his people adequately? The people that I am called to serve here do not need food and clothes. They suffer from Bo's poverty, the soul kind.
It's arguably worse. I wonder what Hosea would say.

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