Thursday, November 03, 2005My friend Glenn Lucke at Common Grounds Online sent me this post several days back concerning the nature of poverty in America. The writer of the post, David Lumpkins, feels that the Church is capable of dealing with poverty on these grounds:
"The sad irony is that the Church is uniquely capable of addressing the root causes of poverty in ways that can make a difference. That is because at its core, poverty in Americais not due to a deficit of resources. Poverty in America stems from the moral, spiritual and behavioral deficits in the lives of those ensnared in it. And to the extent that the Gospel represents Truth - that is, the true reality; the way the world really works, and the way that individuals work in that world created by God – then the Church has the best answers for those for whom the world doesn’t work."
That is a terribly controversial remark in some quarters, but I must admit that there is a fair amount of truth to it. I hear a lot of talk about poverty these days, but the solution is usually suggested in the form of government aid. I won't say that aid is always and forever bad, but government solutions rarely address any root causes of poverty. I should mention hear that sometimes poverty just happens in ways that cannot be explained, but let us not kid ourselves. In this day, when people choose to be sexually promiscuous and have children out of wedlock, powerty often results. I'm not saying that the government force people to wear cast iron chastity belts, but it should be obvious to anyone that on some fundamental level, behaviors have results.
The problem here is that it is difficult to make people act in a certain way. I think it is imperative for Christians to acknowledge that until some behaviors change, in America or in the third world, it will be difficult to change poverty. To pretend otherwise is naive and, dare I say, negligent.