Saturday, September 30, 2017
Blessed are the poor
" The poor man
is not disgraced by poverty
For mankind attains ... glory from penury.
Gold and silver are the glory of the rich,
But the poor have inward repose. "
Shaykh Sa'adi Shirazi
It is interesting how the well off in America
Love to shame the poor
Moochers, Lazy, Stupid, Unmotivated,
There seems to be no end of labels that can be applied
No end to the strategies that can be used
To minimize, diminish, even oppress the vulnerable
Why do we feel the need to do it?
It is simply a matter of creating a “pecking order”,
pushing others down so we can feel bigger and stronger?
It is a way to assuage our guilt, for our own affluence,
Or for our role in creating the dynamics that make others poor?
How else does a CEO who makes multiple millions a year
Justify failing to pay a living wage to the worker he/she relies upon?
We have always had a complex relationship with wealth
I like having money, and the things money can buy
I am certainly not poor, although I have had moments when I was close
But even then I had a safety net, and never believed I would be without a home, without food
But for so many that is not the reality
They work, they struggle
The scrounge for food and clothing
They do everything they can
But the wages are too lower
The opportunities, even though they look for them, are too few
Many of them have been at a disadvantage since they will children
Poor diets, families that did not prize education, no resources to pay for and education
Surrounded by violence, legal issues, and so many other adversities
We cleverly call them Adverse Childhood Events
But they are real, and basic
And if you experience them you are at risk
For cancer, obesity, failure in school, encounters with the law,
The children of poverty grow into poverty
Not because they are lazy
Not because they or their parents are stupid, or have grown up in a culture of dependence
But because they started from a place from which
Yes, in America
There was little chance of recovery
This is the great American failure
The great American sin!
We not only do not have justice
We do not have the kind of equity that allows people to succeed
We had it once
But the rich have taken control
And so that they might stay rich, and get richer
They have made chosen to use and oppress the poor
And neglect the vulnerable
All for a few dollars more
That they don’t need
But here is the joke!
Jesus understood it!
“Blessed are the poor”
Even the poor can have, and often do have,
And the rich?
“It is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom (a place where they valued and celebrate justice and equity) than it is for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
We need to rethink things?