file00041641157

Should Christians Live In the Suburbs?

Let me start with full disclosure here; I live in the suburbs. All around me are pristine sidewalks, manicured lawns, and SUVs. I live here for what are probably the same reasons as most people. First, I am raising a family. And secondly, because I could. However, I have begun to wonder if I am just another person contributing to the problem. More so, I am wondering if I can really follow Christ in the suburbs. White Flight Here in America, we have a phenomenon known as “white flight.” It is the somewhat obvious fact that whenever an area starts to have problems with poverty or social integration, the solution to those with resources is to, well, leave. This “flight out of harm’s way” removes the ability for money to flow across economic and social classes, making the poor even poorer. The suburbs are an unofficial “boundary” keeping out those without the money to afford the price of entry. Segregated Community While there aren’t any more laws keeping us apart, we are doing a great job of it on our own. Within 10 miles of my house are FIVE megachurches with huge university-like campuses, the parking lots of which are their own satire of suburban life, looking like a SUV dealership. Within the churches, are a sea of people...

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motherteresa~01~01

Do Christians Really Need to Be Poor To Follow Christ?

No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. – Luke 16:13 (ESV) Many of the heroes and Saints of Christianity are known for their intentional poverty. For some, like Mother Theresa and St. Francis, it was as serious as taking a vow. For others, such as George Mueller, they just kept refusing wealth. Most of us can recall the story of the Rich Young Man, where Jesus says, “sell all that you have… and come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21) Because of all this, Christians often struggle and wonder, “Do Christians really need to be poor in order to follow Christ?” To answer this, we need to look at the purpose behind choosing to be poor. The Freedom to Serve Others We all have to make choices in life and prioritize our decisions. Sadly, the priority which usually rises to the top is the need to make money. While money is not the most important thing in the world, neither is oxygen, but you kinda need both to live. Because of this almost all of us, at one point or another, trade off our principles and youthful ideals to appease those writing our...

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cliff

How Apathy Creates Systems of Persecution

There is a disconnect, you could say a deep valley, between how the rich view their behavior and how the poor perceive their treatment. Those in poverty often feel like “the man” is working against them. The rich, on the other hand, feel they have nothing “against” the poor and there is nothing stopping them from working their way up the ladder. What’s going on? Often, this gap is explained by saying the poor are just making excuses, but the truth is that society really has made systems to persecute those in poverty. These systems seem so spiteful to those at their mercy, but really they are just systems which formed by those in power not paying attention. In order to repair them, we have to wake-up and act with purpose. The Cliff Effect The Cliff Effect is a phenomenon that occurs in varying degrees from state-to-state, but basically it is a system of persecution which punishes those in poverty for trying to work to improve their lives. See the video below for an explanation: Those We Don’t Help On Purpose, We Harm On Accident This is just one example of how we create systems of persecution when we aren’t paying attention. Our ideological, political, and religious dialog is so polarized and fantastic that we never see problems as...

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The Most Misunderstood Difficulty with Being in Poverty

“If someone can’t live on what they make, they should get a better job. If they can’t get a better job, they should go back to school.” These kind of naive and careless expressions are heard often by those of us trying to promote social justice and combat poverty. So many people fail to grasp the greatest reality of being in poverty: That you have less time than you have money. I have been broke, but I have never been poor. So what’s the difference? The difference is that I always had time to improve my circumstances. When you are a young adult, going through college, you may have little to no money, but you are not poor. Your family, community, and social systems are conspiring together to give you time to improve your standing. Those in poverty seldom have anyone but themselves to rely on. We may have 24hrs in-a-day, but none of us have 24 hrs of “brain time.” Let’s be honest, even the most professional among us can only really focus on an intense mental activity for at most six hours without sleep. Even as a writer, I need to be completely undistracted for at least four hours a day to be productive. Those in poverty aren’t just always distracted, they are consumed with worry and...

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fishrich

Blessed are those with things…

            I sometimes follow a cartoon strip called Buttersafe and this week as I was doing a bit of catchup of older strips, I came across these two that are both so simple and yet powerful: This is a perfect advert for Common Change, the non-profit I work for, as we are all about using the resources you have [while joining together with a group of friends to do so] to meet the needs of those you care about [those people who are in and around your life – the problem in this particular cartoon above]. And the second is like it [and hopefully a reminder for us to take a long hard look at the things we own and how we spend our money, time and energy and see if there are not some changes that perhaps need to be made while we still have access to the feelings]:  [For an interesting post taking a deeper look at the relationship between Poverty and Inequality, click here] [To take a deeper look at the question of giving poor people a hand up or not, click here] [To look at the possibilities of  living a waste-free life, click...

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