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….’

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