Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Affluence of Poverty

I have often thought of and then hesitated to put my opinions here, but well that's what blogging is all about, okay maybe not all, but at least somewhat about and so I figured I would enjoy being my own opinionated self on my own blog. Mark would tell you that I enjoy being my own opinionated self all the time and every where, but really I have toned it down over the years of being a pastor's wife, okay so at least I've tried. I'll use the label opinion for these little imo posts and if you just want to keep up with John and not read the soapbox version of the inside of his mothers head just skip them!

Last week sometime Rush - yes I listen to Rush Limbaugh, and yes we like him, and yes we let John listen to him too, and no we don't agree with everything he says, but then if you've met us you know that we don't agree with everything anyone says! Okay, Rush was saying last week something about the affluence of our country and that it is not the richness of the rich people, like the Kennedy's and Hollywood types, but the richness of the poor among us that he was discussing. Now I don't remember all of what he was saying, actually not much more than what I've stated, but it has linked together in my head with a comment from my mother about the seeming global irresponsibility of kids today, by which she normally means anyone younger than her, and the way that the church is trying to cowtow and cater to society just hoping that a few people will deign to darken it's doors and sit upon it's pews.

The affluence of poverty here in the good old USA is well abundant around every corner and in every commentary we hear about how the citizens of the US are getting fatter all the time. It's hard to listen to the whining of the left about those in poverty and then at the same time listen to them whine about how fat everyone is. I don't think you would find obesity and poverty tied together if it weren't for affluence, after all how many fat kids have you seen running around in those Save the Children commercials, or in the news of Darfur and other places that actually has poverty. Mark and I lived south of the Pine Ridge Reservation in Nebraska/South Dakota and I'm here to tell you that even though that is statistically the most poverty stricken county in the US it is still full of people struggling with obesity Now, anyone that knows me knows that I fit in the fat kid category, although at 41 kid could be debated, but not really if you knew me, anyhow I'm certainly not sitting here in my plus sized pants whining about how impoverished I am, so well I'll continue to stand on my somewhat squashed down soapbox and opine.

I think we as a nation, and as a church are choking on our affluence. We nor our children know the meaning of NEED, for we have food, shelter, clean water and clothing, even the poorest of our children go to school, most of us have at least one television, air conditioning and when was the last time that you saw someone walk to work or school because they needed too. We do not need the basics in life, few Americans my age have probably ever gone to bed hungry, unless they were being punished. Now I'm not advocating that all of us shut off our utilities, stop buying food for our families and sit in poverty to see what need feels like. I'm not really sure what I'm advocating, or that I'm advocating anything, I'm really just thinking out loud and mostly I'm thinking about my own life and the people that I'm around. How we are focused on things and money and not on others, even our focus on others is on providing food and things and not so much the One Thing Needed, the Gospel of Christ. We no longer reflect the stories of our parents, struggling to feed ourselves and our kids, struggling to make the world a better place, we are focused on us. Okay there are those out there who are trying to save the planet but that's a whole other soapbox for a whole other day.

Pastor's that I have heard who have returned from the mission field in Africa and Russia speak of how people walk miles to come to church, how they sit for hours on end hungry for God's Word to be spoken in their ears, how blessed they feel to have the Bible in their hands, how they teach there children to love God and all of these things are a wonder to hear. Especially when we sit in a place where people whine and complain if the Pastor preached a few extra minutes because then lunch was served at 12:05pm instead of noon, how inconvenient it is for them to attend church because you know that's their one day off, how they would rather be somewhere else and often that their bodies sit in church while their minds are off wondering around somewhere. I must admit that I have the same temptations and the same downfalls, as a pastor's wife I sometimes attend church because I must instead of because I desire it, so I'm no better than the rest but still what is with us. Are we so engorged on our life that we can no longer hunger for our life in Christ, is everything so good here that heaven is just really not that appealing anymore and why is it that our American rear ends cannot stand the pew for more than an hour but the African rear end can endure many and still long for more, it must be that obesity thing again.

So I sit here in my air conditioned home, having just eaten supper, typing on one of the computers in my home that is hooked to DSL and wonder, are we so affluent that we are dying of starvation.

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