The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus, quoting Isaiah
Last week I was at Drake University in Iowa to prepare to teach a class on poverty.
I was in the midst of a sea of United Methodist Women and I was jazzed. UMW is an organization that has long sought to empower women and children and raise a voice for justice for those too often silenced.
I will teach the “poverty” class in mid July at St John’s University. In attendance will be women (and some men) from throughout the state who take the time to open their hearts to the real of the issues around poverty, as well as classes offered on Immigration and the Bible and Haiti.
In order to teach this class, I have been immersed in study about the issue of poverty.
It has been hard heart work.
How is it we can devote newsprint and airwave time to so much twaddle when nearly a quarter of our children live in poverty (defined as an income of roughly $24,000 for a family of four)?
How is it that alarm regarding the growing chasm between the rich and those who cannot afford health care and shelter is not being sounded daily?
How has silence around this issue been countenanced?
I write this on the day when the Supreme Court has ruled on the so-called “Obamacare” issue. The verbal posturing that is going on in the aftermath of the ruling is nauseating.
How is it Christians who embrace the teachings of Jesus blithely side-step the portions of his teaching that have to do with God’s vision for the eradication of poverty?
How is it we could claim that any child or any child of God is not our compassion concern?
This is an age of rhetoric gone mad. Faced with so many incomprehensibly twisted proclamations, one of the tactics has been to refuse to enter the noisy fray.
But I believe we must.
How are the children? Disproportionately poor.
How are many veterans? Disproportionately poor.
How are people of color and women? Disproportionately poor.
Poverty doesn’t just happen. It is allowed to happen.
To us all.