While much hay has been made in the days leading up to and since the epic “government shutdown,” what seems to have been lost in it all is any discussion of the ill effects of the shutdown upon the average federal worker, not to mention its effects upon the poor and vulnerable. Even amidst all the political grandstanding and photo-ops, Congress has seen fit to make sure they still get paid.
But how ought communities of faith address issues of political idiocy such as this? How might churches and other faith communities become part of the solution rather than part of the problem?
In a piece on Huffington Post entitled “Shutdown Turns Americans Into Captives in Need of Delivery,” Rev. Chuck Currie makes the case for the political powers to stop playing games with the needy of our land and get back to the work of leading. But even as we might bemoan the intransigence and incompetency of Washington and how it has led to hungry families further impoverished by their own government, we might want to ask a bigger question about what ought to be the appropriate response to caring for the least of these. Is it larger government programs with more funding? Is it less taxes so individuals and churches can pick up the slack in the social service sector? What balance ought to be struck between the two, if any?
No doubt there are many who would fall on one side or the other–or maybe right in the middle–but no doubt the status quo, both now and in the past, hasn’t worked. So maybe rather than complaining about returning to what was, we ought to use this as an opportunity to creatively engage the issue and figure out how we all might partner together to ensure that there “were no needy persons among” us.
What do you think?