|The little white lines are pieces of your soul,|
forever lost to some bank of servers
at the Facebook headquarters.
Luckily for you, Joe's got you covered. Besides a slew of rambling thoughts on poverty from my own skull, I've consulted with some folks who actually have experience in the realm of poverty, as in missionary work in Haiti, China, Kenya, El Salvador, and Ghana. As the semester progresses, I will share with you their experiences and thoughts on true poverty, and we'll all learn from their wisdom and experience.
But for know, lets look at poverty on a local level. Poverty is an important subject. As long as man has been rich, he has also been poor, and understanding the nature of those two things is crucial to understanding the nature of man himself. What in us drives us to be so rich, and what in us causes us to be so poor? The great temptation is to assume that the rich are rich because they deserve to be rich and the poor are poor because they deserve to be poor, and that assisting them in any direct way would only serve to enable them. While it may be true, this mentality all too often stems, not from concern for the person, but as a justification for our indifference. Yes, handing money to a homeless person on the street might be patronizing or enabling, but sitting down and talking to him isn't. Assumptions about poverty are dangerous, not just for the sake of the poor, but for our sake. When we neglect the poor, either by ignoring them or by writing off our reluctance to aid them as being for their benefit, we risk our own soul. We deceive ourselves, we somehow come to believe that we're any better than them, that no matter the circumstances, we'd never make the decisions that they have made to get where they are at. Truthfully, we make them out to be less than human. And that's wrong.
|"What, give him compassion? Nah, he'd probably spend it on booze anyways."|
So, all things considered, I'd like to make a proposal, I'm going to call it "Welcome to Poverty". What I want all you awesome peoples to do is to carve a chunk of your time each day and find poverty in your own life. How are you, like those without money, also poor? Money is not the only inequality in this world, nor is it the measure of the value of a man. So, in order to understand poverty, I want all of us to become poor, or rather, to realize that we've always been poor, making us no better than any beggar, panhandler, hobo, or what-have-you. Think, or even better, pray that you might come to know your own poverty. Take the time to deprive yourself for the sake of the poor, whether it be money, time, consideration, or (most importantly) pride. Empty yourself a little bit, so that they might be full. Step down from society's lofty heights, so that they might look a little taller. Take the time each day to think, and welcome to Poverty.