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Monday, November 9, 2015

The Naked Truth

I have no idea if this is going to come together fluently or not, but I have a couple of things on my mind.

Lately I have seen a lot of social media posts regarding the concept of a "living wage".  Maybe it's because we're getting ready to enter an election year.  It seems that people who are making enough money to have whatever they want get really nervous about this kind of thing during election years.  I sure wish they'd stop to think about how distraught the people who cannot find jobs that make ends meet are feeling every day.

I've been thinking about this for a variety of reasons.

First, there are my friends who seem to have no discretion when posting conservative memes.  If I see one more quote about how fast food workers don't deserve the same hourly wage as firefighters... or whoever... I am going to scream (into a pillow, behind a closed door, when no one is home).  Don't misunderstand me.  I sort of hear what you're trying to say, but when the audience you're reaching includes my twenty-something year old friends with new babies who cannot find jobs, even in the fast food industry; well, what you're saying is falling on deaf ears.  All they hear is, "You don't deserve to support your family."  Just think about that.  How would you feel if someone was saying that to you?

You didn't take time to think about it did you?  No?  Because this query is almost always answered with something quick and impersonal about how "they" should just look harder, apply for more positions, go to college, or gain more useful experience.  And my sweet friends listen to you, with their heads in their hands, wondering how they can do better than applying for jobs every single day when each one seems to require education and experience to begin with.  Are there no entry level positions left? 

I am tired of hearing about how these "kids" (yes, I'm getting old) should pull themselves up by their bootstraps.  They... don't... have... boots!    

Matthew 25:36a, "I needed clothes and you clothed me..." (NIV).  Well, I could talk about the van loads of clothes we've donated to the Salvation Army (that's good, and if you have extra gently used stuff, you should donate it), but what if we talk about providing some figurative clothing instead.  Let's consider how we might put boots on some feet.

This brings me to the second reason I'm so upset about all of this, today.  Last week, I was involved in a discussion during which I was essentially told that since we only have so much time we should spend it with powerful people, because that's the best way to influence the world.  If that's true then let it be known, right now, that I will never influence the world, because I'm not going to do this.  If you want to know why, here it is:  I... don't... want... to.  Just ask the people who know me best how easy it is to get me to do something I don't want to do.  I'll give you a hint.  You have to be intensely compelling, I have to think you're right, and I have to love you a whole lot.  That said, I have made an intentional decision to spend my time with people who have nothing, and if that means I will also live the rest of my life with nothing, so be it.  Being the Church is not about power.  I'm so done with that model.  But, really, that's nothing new.  I've been done with that model for a long time.  I just thought I'd lay it out in no uncertain terms today.

Instead, I'd like to provide some boots.  I am in the very beginning stages of thinking through how I might do that.  I have degrees in business and theology.  Perhaps it's time to put them to work.  Perhaps it's time to do something bigger than myself that will actually provide for the needs of some significantly needy people.  I am currently overwhelmed by fear and doubt regarding how this can actually be accomplished.  I think I might feel a little bit like someone who has an idea in the storyboard stage... without a storyboard... 

I know this is vague.  You could pray for me (and my family, because, you know, they have to put up with me) as I work through this.  And while you're at it, take some time to think about how you might put some boots on a pair of feet... or two... or three...


1 comment:

  1. Your heart cries out to help those overlooked, the hurting and the poor. With all due respect this is your very specific calling, "I have made an intentional decision to spend my time with people who have nothing, and if that means I will also live the rest of my life with nothing, so be it. Being the Church is not about power. I'm so done with that model."

    Attagirl! May God give you the ideas to place on your storyboard and then see them carried out!

    I do believe that as Christians we are all called to love and take care of our neighbors whether we walk with those in power or not; whether we're a part of a small church, large church, on no church. It takes prayer and seeking guidance to know how to carry out our callings for each of us are given different gifts.

    They will know we are Christians by our love!