We may have heard these generalizations about the poor, or held them ourselves. (Or, still hold them.)
— They are lazy and uneducated.
— They chose to be poor. They could pick themselves up by their bootstraps and get out of it if they really wanted.
— The poor are the government’s responsibility.
— It’s their own fault they are poor.
I am about to dig into a book by Terence Lester called I See You: How Love Opens Our Eyes to Invisible People. It is a review copy sent courtesy of Intervarsity Press. I will have a review on the book itself later on, but a quote Lester gives from Howard Thurman stands out to me:
“I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times that I have heard a sermon on the meaning of religion, of Christianity, to the man who stands with his back against the wall. It is urgent that my meaning be crystal clear. The masses of men live with their backs constantly against the wall. They are the poor, the disinherited, the dispossessed. What does our religion say to them? The issue is not what it counsels them to do for others whose need may be greater, but what religion offers to meet their own needs. The search for an answer to this question is perhaps the most important religious quest of modern life.”
It looks like I will be hanging on for quite a ride in this book.