Thursday, April 3, 2008

Opulence and Poverty.

I am in San Diego this week attending a conference, doing some reading and resting. I took these 2 photos near my hotel.  I am absolutely amazed at the wealth here (it's in Chicago too but I don't usually hang out in this kind of area there).  

I am also amazed by the homeless population.  Folks are everywhere!!  I am reading a book that is page for page the book that has taken me longer to read than anything in my life.  I have been carrying this thing around for at least 3 years and still not done.  Mainly this is due to the fact it is over my head and secondarily to the fact that I am a painfully slow reader.  (Just ask my wife!)  

Anyway the book is called "Until Justice and Peace Embrace".   Each chapter has brought serious challenge but the one I have read here is called "The Rich and Poor".   The author concludes that it isn't that we don't know what to do about poverty but that we (the Christian church) refuse to do what must be done.  

Walking around here I have to admit that from my perspective there is clearly enough money here to house, feed, clothe and care for the poor that are walking around here.  Perhaps that's not the American way.  But is it the way of Christ?  

What would it take to actually do something about it?  On the issue of "extreme world poverty" I highly recommend Jeffrey Sachs book "The End of Poverty".  On local poverty I would suggest John Perkin's 3 R's are a good place to start (Reconciliation, Relocation, Redistribution). On personal level how about just taking Christ at his word?

Luke 6:30:  Give to whoever begs from you. 
Luke 14:2-3: 12Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,


Brittney said...

Hey joel!
I was just in San Diego a couple of weeks ago too, visiting my aunt and uncle that live there! I was hit by the poverty in the city as well. It seemed more prevalent than what I was seeing in Chicago, maybe that's because it was 50*
warmer there and people werent trying to find a place to hibernate :) I also was up in LA for a few days and saw a few different sides of that city too. Midwest or West Coast, hearts are still at stake! Keep reaching the kingdom, I'm praying for you!!

Kyle said...

That top picture is crazy. It seems that what popular culture tells us (not to hand out money to the poor) has really begun to shape what we as Christians think we're supposed to do as well.

As you presented to us 2 weeks ago, Jesus' words are ringing loudly. Give. To whomever asks.

I hope you're getting a good time to recharge.

Kyle Lantz

hammerdad said...

Brittney -- great to hear from you. I had heard that southern california has a really high degree of poverty and I am sure that the homeless in the context of touristy upper class urban setting is just the tip. Like Chicago, you can't really get a sense of what is going on until you get out into the neighborhoods. Great to see God at work awakening us all. Let's pray we can bring 1000 more with each of us -- from isolation, into Kingdom views.