I promised the folks at Blog Action Central that I would write about Poverty today. The idea is invite bloggers to all write on an important topic in order to influence the conversations that we have today with family, friends, co-workers… Most of the time we talk about the weather, politics, the economy and other things outside our circle of influence. Today, let’s talk about poverty.
At the beginning of this year, I set some goals for myself, one of which was to
Move my spiritual journey from one of “learning about” to intentionally expressing God’s love in a tangible way to people who are in need. (hurting (everyone), poor, hungry, homeless…)
Even as I read that statement, I am stirred. What does it mean when your own words stir your heart 10 months later? One of the biggest lessons of my year is around humility in my beliefs. I want to hold my faith with open hands up to God and declare, “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t believe the same things I believed 30 years ago. I don’t even believe the same things I believed 10 years ago. I am constantly changing, learning, adapting and I won’t believe the same things in 10 years that I believe now. With that in mind, I pray God to help me have a humble heart that values the thoughts, beliefs and feelings of others. Help me to see your thumbprint in everyone.”
This year has been one in which I am intentionally moving my focus from my intellectual beliefs to actually doing more of what God is calling me to. Moving from talk to action. you might say that I am adding more orthopraxy to my orthodoxy. With that goal, the Justice Project has truly captured my heart; “a yearly comprehensive service initiative, where we invite a diverse collection of churches, organizations, & individuals to help us make a change for good in an inner-city community through selfless service, radical hospitality, & a message of God’s love & ability to transform the human heart.” I can hardly tell you how excited I am about what is going on here. I am such a small part of it with such a huge desire to be more involved. Folks from all over Charlotte have joined together to help folks in just one inner city neighborhood. It’s a grass roots organization with little funding and the intention to remain that way. It is relational from the ground up. The focus is on building relationships with the community in Villa Heights as we serve them and partner with them to promote positive change in their community. It’s about building relationships within the helper groups as well as those who have needs.
When I think about poverty (like any other problem), my troubleshooting skills take over. Let’s solve this problem once an for all! I begin to consider the causes of poverty, but to find a solution, not just to blame. The problem overwhelms me. Part of me would like to explain away why it cannot be solved then walk away having appeased my own conscience. H. L. Menken said, “There is always an easy solution to every problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” There is no easy answer… and I fear that many “easy answers” exacerbate the problem. I could be oversimplifying things by saying so, but I believe that the solution begins in Jesus’ answer when someone asked him what the greatest commandment was. He replied that nothing is more important than loving God and loving our neighbor. Oversimplified or not, that’s where I am focusing my efforts.
Anyone want to join me in Villa Heights this Saturday?