Thursday, October 04, 2012

The Language of Poverty

Food for thought:
By D.L. Mayfield (an excerpt) 
"But when God speaks and writes about the poor, he envisioned us seeing real faces, knowing real people, he never meant for it to be an abstract. And that is where we have gone awry, my friends, and this is where the word has become evil.
When we don’t know the poor, that is when they become the Other; easy to categorize, easy to help, easy to fix, easy to forget. When we only see them in short bursts, when we never truly live in their context, when we only get fleeting  glimpses from our safe perch. It is not the language that is the problem here; in fact, when we try to sanitize it (the economically unstable, the financially depressed, low-income) it only serves to create safe and sanitized boundaries. But in the words of the Bible, the human condition is found. When we read the words “the poor,” we are expected to feel something. If you don’t, then this is a grave problem. For us, the term is one to be bandied about, argued over, molded into whatever best serves our purposes. But for people living in poverty, it is another story. We would do right to remember what the majority world already knows: beyond being theological or evoking imagery, poverty kills people. It ends lives, changes them irrevocably, fills them with suffering. According to Scripture, the poor are never to be pitied; but they are to be taken care of, to be at the forefront of our minds just as they are in the eyes of God."