What this is about:

Tales and Tidbits about Community Development, Peacebuilding, and Bringing food for the hungry on a continent in my spirit and a world away.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Last Owning Poverty: Hunger

"The brokenness we see on the macro in the structural evils of this world find their origins in the micro in our own hearts. That interior landscape is equally as war torn. No one enjoys the feeling of being a charity case beggar with nothing to contribute, but if that is the truth, then we had better feel it. Yes, you say, but aren't Christians beyond that experience after saving. Grace? Going to that hard place of experiencing hunger, is an act of receiving grace from the God who fills us. He continually calls us there. While the world spends all its energies denying or reducing or escaping from the experience of realityy, we not only go there, but find life and health and peace. Christian discipleship is not a life of denial but is characterized with a heightened internal and external awareness of poverty and consequently, great hunger."
-Dr. Michael Pucci
In the beginning of this trip, I couldn't tell you what owning poverty meant. I could only make these seemingly profound, abstract guesses in hopes that I was slightly right on. I've actually always been good at doing that and just as long as people think I know what I'm talking about and it points me to future knowing, I keep the habit up. But I get this now. You say it and I get it. I understand the basis behind it deep in my soul, born out of the challenges of this experience. I thought this trip wasn't going to change me much but it has.

To me, poverty was this thing out there. I was blessed and they weren't, so I was going to help them. How magnanimous of me. I felt that there were a few similarities between me and them and that misfortune was the difference between my position and there's. What a shame. :tisks: It must be because we're in a fallen world. I didn't know that I was them. I didn't want to admit that I hungered and they hungered and we were all waiting to be redeemed.
I didn't give God much credit before now either. Deism was the way. Blargh, evangelical religious jargon. I hate hate hate hate hate it. I smite thee. "Praise God" this and "The Lord has been so good" that just made me flinch and mock your "praise report" with my people. Americans come from a Euro-hellenistic mindset and I supported this view: You found because you searched. You feel better because your hormones have shifted and your antibodies fought off that disease. I do this-this-this-this-and this will happen.
I'm a socialist and sociologist. That program is good thanks to good systemic infrastructure. Poverty can be eradicated if the government would get their policy together. You found that man to marry because he's in your same social class, race, neighborhood, and has your values. You want that particular job because you're going along with social trend--conventionality, individualism, prosperity, whatever. Not because God did anything about it.
But learning/doing development, I've learned that sometimes you do this-this-this and something else happens. Sometimes you do this-this-this and nothing happens. Sometimes you do nothing at all and miracles happen. And oddly, it has less to do with the greatness of your program. And oddly, it has more to do with something else.
Meaning is a gift given, not something that is harvested from the soil of a particular career. We'd like to think so, but I'm becoming less convinced that's the way it works. You can end up with no meaning at all as a social worker and all the meaning in the world as an accountant or media editor. Less about it, more about something else.
I’m not here because I’m a visionary.
I’m not here because I’m a saint.
Africa, Poverty, Social Change does not matter to me because I’m a bleeding heart.
I’m not a visionary, saint, or bleeding heart.
My pride's been widdled down to the point where my only motivation is to say thanks, God, for the compassion. Thanks for saving me from myself. I'm so pumped for the new world you're making.
All of this makes me sound really religious :flinch:, but....it doesn't mean its not true.
I cannot eradicate poverty. That’s not my job and I don't think that's a cop-out. However, that doesn't mean I don't try; joining the greater plan of re-creation is so exciting and revoluntary, man! Development is not something we put on people; it’s something we participate in. I didn’t get it before but I get it at this moment. Much needed sobriety..and now I want to go out more than ever. Anywhere.
To say thanks.



Joel Runyon said...

Praise you Lord :)

ask nate about that one :)

when you coming home?

Michelle and Phillip said...

that was

a morsel

goes down to the innermost parts.