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Taking Ownership of Poverty

Jesus loved the poor.

You might notice that I talk a lot about Jesus. Depending on who you are, and where you come from, this will either make you disgusted or encouraged. For a lot of you, the name Jesus makes hurt or anger swell up inside of you. You may have come across some people called "Christians" who turned out to be major hypocrites. You may have married one who ended up abusing you. You may only know the name Jesus as something that shapes and manipulates a voting population of the most powerful nation on earth. You might have a snapshot of Jesus. You might unknowingly try to live by his golden rule. You might respect him as one of many spiritual leaders.

But let me tell you why Jesus is the most important person in my life, and why I end up talking about him a lot.

Jesus loved the poor. And when I mean he loved them, I mean, he singled them out while on this earth, and poured himself into them more than any other group of people on the planet.

Some of you might not like that statement. But I dare you to read the gospels and tell me otherwise.

You see, Jesus loved the poor, because that is where his love flourished the most. The saddest judgement ever made by human beings, is that the poor are less than human. In reality, the poor, are in a sense more human than anyone else. What I mean by that, is that poverty produces a level of hopelessness unknown to most of us. The scope of experience for many of the destitute is a suffering we wouldn't dream of. A financial "struggle" for me is having to make a decision not to eat out for a month. A struggle for most of the worlds impoverished means making a decision to drink absolutely filthy water, and going days without food. To be a human is to experience suffering, and I'm afraid, the poor are the most human of us all. Poverty has repeatedly been linked to crime. It is also obviously one of the major contributing factors to health care issues. Illiteracy, inequality, abuse, slavery - poverty is at the root of so much of the worlds grief. How do we respond?

There was a time, when Christian thinkers created a dichotomy of the gospel. They drew a hard line in the sand (funny how we like to do that) and separated the gospel into two parts: social, and spiritual. One group considered the people on the social side to be less spiritual, and some considered the others to be less interested in social issues. And for some reason, like the sheep that we are, we allowed these labels to define our doctrines and actions. I have no idea why we are unable to see the big picture. The big picture where Christ died for the sins of the world, and to teach people a love that could actually change it. We actually allowed such an anti-Jesus dichotomy to exist.

When anyone says they are a follower of Jesus Christ, and they refuse to follow him into the world of poverty, they are not a follower of Jesus Christ.

There are no excuses. Jesus loved the poor.

One of the most exciting projects that I have been involved with the past several years is seeing my friends, family, and church members on a regular basis cook a meal for over 200 people and help serve it in on the street through the Salvation Army. It's the gospel. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and making sure they hear about the hope and grace of Jesus Christ. There are countless charities, from multiple denominations that share in Christ's love for the poor.

Standing in opposition to poverty is too important to be left to governments. What I mean by that, is that the poor are in desperate need of a loving hand, from one person to another. It's too important to be left in the hands of a system which above all values power over freedom. It's time that we start to take ownership of poverty. For far too long, left economist thinkers like myself have thought that governments can solve the issue of poverty. I could reiterate to you the long list of broken promises, lies, deficits, and failures that our governments have made in my lifetime alone, but I am not sure I have the time to do so. This issue is too important to be left to the bureaucrats. Are you angry about poverty? Learn from the great teacher himself, and reach out and participate in the solution. The solution has always been before our very eyes, that when we, as individuals reach out in love to those who are suffering, the vision of a government which would rather spend billions of dollars on prisons, than make sure every person is feed and housed, will begin to change as well. No matter what your economic ideology, religion, political,or cultural affiliation is, we are all responsible for making sure human beings are treated with love.

How are you personally attempting to end the injustice of poverty?

(http://www.disinfo.com/2010/04/religion-in-america/)

For more information on the causes of poverty you can go to globalissues.org.

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