Reflections on the issues facing a contemporary ministry in an urban
small-membership church that is socially conscious as well as salvation cognizant.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
The Dark Side of Christmas
Christmas brings many images to mind including angels, bright stars, shepherds, wise men, and most importantly a baby who was born into poverty. Wisdom recognizes in young life a new start or fresh beginning, but also sees in it a growing power for good. The Wise Men searched to give honor and reverence but Herod, however, viewed this young potential as a threat to the status quo and attempted to get hold of and to destroy it.
During this critical time in America's history, it is imperative that our children overcome the evils that attempt to extinguish their potential and the world's future, especially the evil of poverty and its derivatives. Let us continue to raise our voices loudly that our leaders may give attention to ending poverty in our time.
God help us to end poverty in our time. The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask and grow. The poverty of watching your child suffer and get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have a car or health insurance.
The poverty of working your fingers to the bone every day taking care of someone else's children and neglecting your own, and still not being able to pay your bills. The poverty of having a job that does not let you afford a stable place to live and being terrified you'll become homeless and lose your children to foster care.
The poverty of losing your job because you cannot find reliable child care or transportation to work. The poverty of working all your life caring for others and having to start all over again caring for the grandchildren you love.
The poverty of earning a college degree, having children, opening a child care center, and taking home $300 a week or month if you're lucky. The poverty of loneliness and isolation and alienation—having no one to call or visit, tell you where to get help, assist you in getting it, or care if you're living or dead.
The poverty of having too much and sharing too little and having the burden of nothing to carry. The poverty of convenient blindness and deafness and indifference to others, of emptiness and enslavement to things, drugs, power, violence and fleeting fame.
The poverty of low aim and paltry purpose, weak will and tiny vision, big meetings and small action, loud talk and sullen grudging service. The poverty of believing in nothing, standing for nothing, sharing nothing, sacrificing nothing, struggling for nothing.
The poverty of pride and ingratitude for God's gifts of life and children and family and freedom and country and not wanting for others what you want for yourself. The poverty of greed for more and more and more, ignoring, blaming and exploiting the needy, and taking from the weak to please the strong.
The poverty of addiction to drugs, to drink, to work, to self, to the status quo and to injustice. The poverty of fear that keeps you from doing the thing you think is right. The poverty of despair and cynicism.
God help us end poverty in our time in all its faces and places, young and old, rural, urban, suburban and small town too, and in every color of humans You have made everywhere. God help us to end poverty in our time in all its guises—inside and out—physical and spiritual, so that all our and Your children may live the lives that you intend.
Male, Afra-feminist, Liberationist, Doctor of Ministry (DMin), Pastor/Social Activist of an urban, inner-city church offering a theological perspective on the day to day issues faced by a marginalized people.