If I define my neighbor as the one I must go out to look for, on the highways and byways, in the factories and slums, on the farms and in the mines - then my world changes. This is what is happening with the ‘option for the poor,’ for in the gospel it is the poor person who is the neighbor par excellence.
The poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order.
— Gustavo Gutierrez
You took my son away from me. Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate? You know how many black men graduate? Not many. Because you bring them down to this type of level, where they feel like they don’t got nothing to live for anyway. ‘They’re going to try to take me out anyway.’
— Lesley McSpadden (Mike Brown’s Mom) Police Say Mike Brown Was Killed After Struggle for Gun in St. Louis Suburb - NYTimes.com
Solidarity with the poor is not the same as empathy. Many people feel sorry for the poor or identity with their suffering yet do nothing to alleviate it. All too often people of privilege engage in forms of spiritual materialism where they seek recognition of their goodness by helping the poor. And they proceed in the efforts without changing their contempt and hatred of the poverty. Genuine solidarity with the poor is rooted in the recognition that interdependency sustains the life of the planet. That includes the recognition that the fate of the poor both locally and globally will to a grave extent determine the quality of life for those who are lucky enough to have a class privilege. Repudiating exploitation by word and deed is a gesture of solidarity with the poor. -bell hooks (130)
— bell hooks
Walked here this morning between the rain showers. As we hiked through fields of tall wet grass, the trail lined with wild raspberry canes just setting fruit, the calls of summer birds filling the air, I was reminded of this lovely poem by Mary Oliver:
Walking to Oak-Head Pond, and
Thinking of the Ponds I Will Visit in the
Next Days and Weeks
What is so utterly invisible
not the wind,
not the inside of stone.
And yet, how often I’m fooled-
I’m wading along
in the sunlight-
and I’m sure I can see the fields and the ponds shining
I can see the light spilling
like a shower of meteors
into next week’s trees,
and I plan to be there soon-
and, so far, I am
just that lucky,
my legs splashing
over the edge of darkness,
my heart on fire.
I don’t know where
such certainty comes from-
the brave flesh
or the theater of the mind-
but if I had to guess
I would say that only
what the soul is supposed to be
could send us forth
with such cheer
as even the leaf must wear
as it unfurls
its fragrant body, and shines
against the hard possibility of stoppage-
which, day after day,
before such brisk, corpuscular belief,
shudders, and gives way.
(Erzgebirge; iphone 5)
We did it. (at Lake Avenue Church (Official))
Picture with my mentor, Ryan Bolger, after hooding ceremony this afternoon. #fuller #selfie (at First Baptist Church Pasadena - FBC Pasadena)
Some of my travel journal. #sketchnotes
Working on travel journals first thing in the morning. (at 210 Freeway)
The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.
Samuel P. Huntington, cited on the ‘Where is Raed?’ website, a day-to-day journal of everyday life in Baghdad under bombardment.
Extract in Robert J. C. Young, Postcolonialism, A Very Short Introduction (UK: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 32.
We have been reading through Parker Palmer’s “A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward and Undivided Life,” at our church lately and are loving it.
I have been sharing our discussion notes each week (Week one and Week two can be found here).
Here are the links for chapter three:
Quotes, Scripture and Discussion Notes for chapter 3 here.
Download sketchnotes for chapter 3 here.