27 March 2008

The Poor You Will Always Have With You

Jesus said you'd never be able to eliminate poverty. No matter how hard you try, someone's always going to be poor. Strange of me, but whenever I read that passage of scripture I always think of the "poor" living in "poverty" as living in some African hut covered in red dust or something. With 500 relatives, all sharing two grains of rice and three outfits between them.

http://stuff.co.nz/4454204a10.html

Not living in beautiful New Zealand in a house! I read this article in astonishment. Can you imagine the silliness of the officer who reports that he *even* knows of a family with 10 people in a three-bedroom house!?? Oh, please. We have eight people in our three-bedroom house, and we're not even poor! We don't qualify for any food stamps, housing subsidy, WIC... nothing like that. I wonder what kind of rich country New Zealand is that this is an amazing idea. It makes me wonder what the "sheds" are that are being alluded to. They're probably gorgeous beachside cottages, more like. With "only" 5,000 square feet each, sitting on 10 acres. Sigh. I can't wait until the Flat Stanleys show me the opulent lifestyle out there!!

But even the "poor" usually have an apartment with a phone and electric here in the US. I can't think of too many places here that don't have running water, either. Elf and Emperor and I were reading the Little House series today. Laura is on a train and has discovered that when you turn the handle on a faucet in the passenger car, water comes out! She's amazed. She thinks nothing of sharing the same dirty cup with every passenger riding with her. The wonders of modern times are all she's thinking about right then. Not that when she gets off the train to pick out a homestead with Pa, she's going to have to use an outhouse and count herself privileged when Pa gets 'round to digging a well.

Maybe we expect far too much from this life, and forget about the next one. Our pastor was reading a bit about the martyrs last night. It shouldn't stretch the imagination to think about suffering persecution. It's not as though missionaries have some special "suffering" gene that they're different from us. It's not as though we should be different from them.

I'm not saying that we need to suffer to be spiritual. I'm just wondering how well we American Christians will do when suffering DOES come. When we really ARE poor. We won't *all* of us be able to move to New Zealand. You guys will have to figure something out when I'm gone to live in that shed by the beach.

4 comments:

  1. Being classed as "poor" in any country depends on what the "norm" is I believe. Here in New Zealand being poor is when you live on a benefit in a state owned house with half your relatives living in the garage! I don't believe 10 people in a three bedroomed house is poor here either!

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  2. More... I don't think there are any truely poor people here, it's a Welfare State, if you ain't got something you can go crawling to the government and they will give it to you!.. especially if you are a Maori... this gets up my nose though, cos it's REVERSE racism.. and isn't right. We do have a tiny percentage of people who live under bridges and on the street, but it's more of a CHOICE than necessity! They do have alternatives in this country.

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  3. Chris h, it's plain ol' racism. I don't think racism is only real racism when it's against non-whites.

    Also, I couldn't agree more about people living under a bridge by choice. I am so tired of people feeling sorry for the cute and cuddly "homeless" who would just as soon commit violent acts on those who feel sorry for them.

    Anyhow, I can't help but think of Extreme Home Makeover. Some of the episodes lately have given new mansions to families who I find suspicious in their deservingness. Oh, the politically incorrect horror!!!

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  4. Whether by choice or circumstance...


    Mercy triumphs over judgment.

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Non-troll comments always welcome! :)