Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Blessed are the poor

“What I love about the ministry of Jesus is that he identified the poor as blessed and the rich as needy...and then he went and ministered to them both. This, I think, is the difference between charity and justice. Justice means moving beyond the dichotomy between those who need and those who supply and confronting the frightening and beautiful reality that we desperately need one another.”
                                Rachel Held Evans

the First Church of Mutual Need
now THAT
would be a great name for a church

for the fact is we all have needs
and we all need each other

we do of course all have different needs
and we all have different things we can offer one another

but like it our not
convenient or not
we are all in this together

and if there is a hierarchy of needs
it is a reverse hierarchy
those we think are the neediest are the most blessed
and those we think are the most blessed are the neediest

now that will make your mind explode

the rich are perhaps the neediest of all
think about their compulsive need for more
and about how difficult it is for them to share
(the rich give proportional much less to charity than the poor)
and I suspect, how difficult it is for them to connect with others
to feel, to have empathy

the poor?
we can’t sugarcoat things, and create some sort of caricature of the blessed poor
being poor sucks, big time
insecurity, struggles with housing, transportation, food security, healthcare, education, and all the rest

no one wants to be poor
no one should be poor
and that is partly the point

Jesus advocated the rich opening their hands
In the early church, apparently, they did (Acts 2)
and everyone’s needs were met
the need of the rich to learn generosity, and experience the
joy of giving, and then need of the poor for food

of course we live in a country with extreme and growing inequity
the rich are really rich, the poor are really poor
and the gap between the two is growing

and it is devastating
the entire system is designed to keep the poor poor and make the rich richer
and it is done, often, in the name of Jesus (which is blasphemy)

and now we have Covid-19
and we are living out our failure to take care of each other

we have protected the stock market, but not the poor
we have protected the rich, but not the poor

and that is why we are in pain, around choices related to
opening or safety
and why people are literally willing to let people die for the economy

if we had more equity
if our response to the virus was to take care of everyone
I suspect the dialog would be different
The questions would be different

Is suspect this would all feel different

What if, instead of asking
How can we open our country so that businesses and people can pay their bills?
We asked “how can we help businesses and people pay their bills so they can stay safe?

Perhaps instead of ending up in armed (literally) camps
With the “open” folks on one side and the “safety” folks on the other
With both sides shaming and condemning each other

We would be working together to find solutions
Finding ways to take care of everyone, as they have need

I realize there are no easy answers
But it seems that one answer is to change the starting point
From taking care of “me”
To taking care of “all”

Welcome to the First Church of the Needy
(which might end up being First Church of the Joyful Givers)

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