The Poor & The Powerless

The Poor & The Powerless June 14, 2013

I became a Christian at 19 or so. I mean I guess I was a Christian before in the sense that I said a prayer and all.

Either way.

When I was 19, I remember hearing that every single night when we sleep over 30,000 children died of a lack of starvation and basic needs.

The professor who said this said something like, “I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.” – Professor Campolo (Eastern University & University of Pennsylvania)

I didn’t realize that the way I lived growing up in upper middle class Suburban America was NOT the norm. I thought everyone had a two car garage, two story house, and a solid education.

I had never thought about the fact that the way I lived, and was brought up, that it was weird.

I had no idea that I was brought up living in the top 5% of America, and that Forbes listed my neighborhood in the top 15 most affluent neighborhoods in America.

This sickens me. I’m really not sure how, in light of Jesus and his words to the rich, how a Christian can be stoked on being rich so much so that they dedicate the entirety of their lives to being rich, having safety, and living a life of comfort, all the while 30,000 children (under the age of 5) are dying of a lack of basic needs.

My ignorance. My lack of awareness…  The fact that I thought it was normal that we built “houses” for our cars. That I thought it was normal to own multiple storage units because our two story 5 bedroom home wasn’t enough space for our stuff. Even worse, that i felt ENTITLED to a car, cell phone, ’emergency’ credit card, or for my parents to even pay for my education.

The thing was, I wasn’t so discouraged with my selfishness that I felt defeated… I oddly felt motivated, inspired, and encouraged to go out and do something, and just knowing that I am in a position where I can really make a dent in the world in poverty, for better or for worse, I wanted to choose better. So at 19 years of age, I ran back into the church, having read the 2000 scriptures in the bible stating we should help the poor, powerless, orphaned, widowed and marginalized people, thinking I’m ready to join this movement of JESUS!

But here’s the thing. I’m not so sure that the church is on board with this. I’m not so sure the church cares enough to go beyond serving the poor, but loving and becoming one with the poor, essentially living a life that Jesus lived. Pursuing the opposite of a popular/wealthy status, but a humble and possibly despised status.

Loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Stepping away from a “me-centered gospel” and embracing a Christ-centered Gospel.

My prayer and my hope is that the church will come to question what we many of our selves as young twenty somethings are questioning as we enter into our careers and lives:

What good is it to have gained the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their whole self? (Luke 9:25)

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