A Swirling Mess of Questions Regarding Poverty.
by Chris Kamalski
Arthur Stewart, commenting on the questions swirling around my heart regarding the poor, raised another profound thought:
“similar to the last question… ‘Does anyone ask the poor what they think?’ (John Hayes).”
who determines ‘what poverty is’ and ‘who is poor?’ do most ‘poor people’ even consider themselves poor? (do the rich and privileged arbitrarily determine what poverty is without even asking the poor what they need)?melanie: as we submerge, maybe a better question is not ‘how are you poor?’ but actually ‘what do you need?’ex: owning a car, home.most values are culturally determined
Which got my brain churning as we entered into our Conversation (Teaching/Discussion as an Apprentice group) this morning, which was about submerging into culture this morning. At one point, we began sharing our thoughts as we began submerging into culture(s) here these past several months, and these thoughts came tumbling out in a heap:
- Who determines ‘what poverty is’ and ‘who is poor?’
- Do most ‘poor people’ even consider themselves poor?
- Do the rich and privileged arbitrarily determine what poverty is without even asking the poor what they need?
Melanie Lorenz then lets this gem slip:
As we submerge, maybe a better question is not ‘how are you poor?’ but actually ‘what do you need?’
Doug Rhoads, who was leading the conversation, then ‘concludes’ the following: Most values are culturally determined. As most Afrikaners would say, ‘Ish….’
Agreed. One story that Scott Bessenecker told in “New Friars”” has stuck with me when thinking about this (to go from another perspective). He tells the story of a dream he had where he woke up to see his children playing on top of a large pile of dung. He called to them to come out, but they couldn’t hear him, and he describes this feeling of watching those that you love live delighted in something that is so utterly disgusting.
But, just as the filth in slums is disgusting, so is the wealth and materialism of O.C…. just through a different lens.
There is something about living in what we have determined as poverty that allows the light of Christ to shine like a beacon, that is blurred from our vision in the realm of wealth.
So pretty much – no conclusions here.
Melanie’s comment is brilliant – it’s a question anyone can resonate with… that loves rather than labels. Thanks for sharing 🙂