Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Poverty issues tie me up in complexities upon complexities and I started to write a post for Video Meliora until I realized that I don't have the foggiest notion what I was talking about. Rather than let it go completely to waste, I figured I'd fire it out on this blog.

Post-Katrina, there has been a lot about poverty in the media. Part of the complexity of poverty is that it is not merely material but, as a social worker in the Dispatch said, also psychological. Hopelessness plays a role.

Can we allow people to fail? For individual Christians (rather than the government) the answer would seem to be "no", at least if we see a spiritual parallel and ask ourselves if we would want Got to allow anyone to fail, that is to go to hell. We would want Him to go to heroic measures to insure success, we would want him to reach out to us while we were still sinners and we have seen in the example of the Incarnation and subsequent Crucifixion. One touches on the issue of free will of course, although it's always been odd for me to understand how someone, in true freedom, would choose their own destruction.

But going back to material poverty, there is St. Paul's line about "those who do not work, shall not eat". Which suggests that Paul thinks some should be allowed to fail. But then you get into having to judge who is not willing to work and who is, and to what extent they are culpable for that decision given, say, psychological problems. And that seldom seems cut and dried.

• • • • •

The thought that pops into my head re non-workers not eating -- and very little attention should be paid to thoughts that pop into my head about Scripture, so heavy disclaimer -- is that like many such religious standards, at least for some of us, I should most focus on applying to ourselves and not so much on puzzling about what it means for others. I mean, at least for someone like me. Maybe the head of a monastery has more reason to dwell on its other implications. I just feel guilty thinking about the disparity between the work I do and the good things I consume, and have the opportunity to allow myself to be motivated by it.

And I'm not saying you were dwelling on what Scripture means for other people and not yourself, or any such thing. At this point, I can only hope what I said is at all relevant to any of your post. Is this kind of thing why you don't have comments on the other blog? :)
Actually I don't have comments on my other blog because I've never been able to get them to work with my template and I'm too attached to my template. But I do have a thin skin. But you never break it ever RO! I think it's because those who are scrupulous are more sensitive to others' feelings! But I wouldn't wish scrupulosity on anybody...
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