The Plank In My Own Eye

In the circle of blogs that I frequent, there are frequent calls for social justice, from calls to redeem the structures that hold people in poverty to calls for vast government redistribution of wealth, as well as fingers of blame pointed at everyone from Republicans and racists (you mean they aren’t the same?) to Fundamentalist Christians and Capitalists.

And I will admit, while I don’t normally blame the same folks as many of my fellow bloggers, I often extend my index finger and open my mouth to criticize those who I believe desire to harm those they intend to help. We all do it. We love to pass the buck because it eases our guilt. When I see the homeless family walk by my apartment with their grocery cart filled with aluminum cans, I immediately think about how socialist policies end up hurting these people the most because they quelch job growth, leaving folks unemployed. Others may see the same homeless family and think to themselves, “if those awful rich people would just give more money away, or pay better wages, we wouldn’t have people walking the streets collecting aluminum cans in order to feed themselves.

But, when it really comes down to it, neither me, nor the unnamed liberal/socialist/democrat blaming others helps put food in the mouths of those people. When I sit down at the computer and write a blog post about how raising the minimum wage hurts the poorest of the poor, or when someone else posts about how these people just need the government to buy them a home, neither one of those options puts a roof over those peoples head, or tends to their wounds, or treats the disease that they have.

I think its time for us, and by us I mean Christian bloggers who have heard the call for social justice and peace, to stop talking and start doing.

Its easy to point the finger at someone else. Its easy to say that if they just changed the law, or if the greedy “rich” people (we’re all pretty rich in America, but we like to think that our household earnings are ok, while the guy making more is rich) just gave more money, that things would change.

We need to stop looking for blame and start doing. We need to stop spending other peoples money and give whatever we can as often as we can. If we really have faith in Christ, if we really believe that our mission is to bring good news to the poor, why the hell are we sitting on our asses when the least of these are walking right in front of us? What if we stopped wasting our time trying to find out whose fault it is that people are poor, and used that time to, you know, actually help them?

Maybe the prayer “thy kingdom come…” would become reality a little faster.

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6 responses to “The Plank In My Own Eye

  1. I admire your clarity here, and I agree that direct social action is necessary. But does anyone ever really say, “these people just need the government to buy them a home”?

  2. Of course, these are generalizations, but many people believe that if we just had homes for homeless people, then they’d be able to get back on their feet. Many homeless people are homeless because of mental illness or addiction, and it doesn’t matter if there are a million places for them to stay, they’ll end up on the streets again.

    But we are still called to love them and help them in whatever way we can.

  3. But see, I don’t think many people actually believe that.

  4. Well, I’m just going by what I’ve seen in the blogosphere (I hate that word.)

  5. And there’s the problem: what you’ve seen in the blogosphere doesn’t necessarily amount to “many” people, unless of course you read a lot of blogs, in which case I retract what I said above. Since you apparently don’t want to cite who you’re referring to, can you at least give a number of people you’ve seen who say this?

    Otehrwise, what you’re claiming sounds more like a strawman than it does real criticism of real people.

  6. Coping skills and mental health are the key problems surrounding families experiencing homelessness. Some become homeless and cycle in and out of the system while others get out and stay out.

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