Showing posts with label Poverty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Poverty. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

The Bankrupt Christian

I find the answers on the GotQuestions website to be biblical and well-thought through — most of the time.

This one was a rare exception. It’s not that the writer is categorically wrong in his take on the question of Christians declaring bankruptcy, but I do think there are aspects of the issue he fails to consider.

Short version: his answer to “Should a Christian declare bankruptcy?” is a hard “No.” I’m going to suggest a better answer is “Maybe.”

Hear me out.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

That Guy Outside Starbucks is NOT Jesus’ Brother

God bless the poor.

In fact, I don’t even have to ask him: we’ve been told he will; at least inasmuch as their poverty is primarily one of the spirit.

But we should pray for the poor, of course, and share as we are able. We should care, we ought to avoid partiality and we need to act. Our faith does not amount to much if it does not make us compassionate in a very practical way toward those in need, and toward those who may have started life at a huge disadvantage, or have encountered trials and troubles we have never experienced.

But that guy outside Starbucks who invades your space — the one with the tatty green or brown jacket, bad breath, body odor and uncomfortable social habits — while he may be made in the image of God and deserving of whatever we are able to do for him for that reason alone …

Sorry, that guy is just not Jesus’ “brother”.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

Ian Gillan of the seventies metal band Deep Purple reportedly once asked the sound engineer mixing the band’s live album, “Could we have everything louder than everything else?”

I’ve always loved that line. It just sounds like a title for the perfect rock and roll anthem.

But when you think about it for half a second, the request is absurd. If the bass is louder than the high hat, the high hat cannot simultaneously be louder than the bass. If you mix the snare drum louder than a guitar cranked up to eleven, you cannot make that guitar louder in the sound mix without reducing the volume of the snare. It’s absurd.

“Everything” cannot be louder than “everything else”. It doesn’t work.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

The Ideal and the Reality

“There will be no poor among you; for the Lord will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess ...”

“There will never cease to be poor in the land.”

It is impossible to argue that the glaring contradiction between the quotes above can be explained away by assigning them to different dispensations (or covenants, if you prefer), by pointing out that they were written by different writers at different times for different audiences, or even (if we’re totally desperate to be done with the issue and silly enough to throw inspiration under the bus), by contending that one or another of them is mistaken.

None of the usual explanations work.

Sunday, July 08, 2018

How Not to Crash and Burn (14)

Ah, ants and sluggards.

This next bit is one of my favorite sections of Proverbs, and probably my youngest brother’s least favorite. I recall quoting it to his prone form on at least one occasion as he lay blearily sprawled across his waterbed, the hour approaching noon. I have always been a very early riser (these days it’s usually somewhere between 3 and 4 a.m.) and found his inertia appalling in some indefinable, slightly jealous way. So I leaped on him fists-first and played the part of the proverbial bandit.

Not my finest hour or my most accurate application of scripture, but when your parents raise a bunch of boys together, these are the sorts of things that happen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Problems You Can’t Fix

The rich get a bad rap sometimes. But they also have their defenders.

A few years ago in Forbes, John Stossel pointed out that the big-money folk in America don’t have enough spare change between them to put a dent in the financial woes of their own country, let alone the rest of the world.

“If the IRS grabbed 100 percent of income over $1 million, the take would be just $616 billion. That’s only a third of this year’s deficit.”

The finer details of Stossel’s math might be debated, but all the same he’s got a point, and one that won’t go away. Some problems can’t be fixed — at least not by human beings.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Flirting with Fatalism

I read a column this morning by popular Christian blogger Ben Corey in which he makes a spirited defense of his support for government programs to help the poor on the basis that Christians simply don’t given enough voluntarily to make a meaningful dent in poverty.

It’s an interesting argument, but it begs one obvious question.

What do we do when the poor can’t be helped?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

That Guy Outside Starbucks is NOT Jesus’ Brother

The most recent version of this post is available here.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Everything Louder Than Everything Else

The most recent version of this post is available here.