Friday, January 09, 2009

Charity: the Christian mistake

Our response to injustice far too often has been charity.

Charity is not the answer, it feeds into the problem. This is because charity does not involve any change. When mega personalities give to charity they are not down-sizing from their huge houses into something smaller and more cost effective; they're giving a couple bags of money they have sitting in the bank. Yes, its a start, but the answer is changing the way we live our lives.

When the church starts to talk about itself in terms of charity, it has completely missed the point. Charity merely continues to perpetuate the chasim between those who have and those who do not. Look at the story of Lazarus and the Rich man in Luke 16. The rich man is apparently feeding Lazarus table scraps, but Lazarus' condition does not improve. Instead we see that only the dogs come to comfort him by licking his wounds - which really isn't much comfort.

If we are looking to end social injustices we have to change the way we live our lives. The answer isn't to give up on living and being productive, but it definately includes changing our focus in life.

  • Perhaps it would look like churches actually living with people who are on the bottom side of society.
  • Perhaps it is the congregants of a downtown church leaving the seclusion of the suburbs and moving downtown to live with the people that surround their church.
  • Perhaps it is Christians ceasing to hoard their money and possessions but live a generous life, giving to those who have need.
  • Perhaps it would include adoption, opening up ones house to single mothers, helping children from lower income familes go to school.
  • Perhaps it would mean we reject the "Get rich or die trying" mindset that lurks quietly underneath the "American dream" mindset

What do you think?

2 comments:

The Journey man said...

here is one idea that I have come up with that has to do with the homeless.

homeless shelters are a start, but alone are not enough. they give out a meal. but nothing more. as you said "charity". So lets do this. lets have the church team up with local buisness with help wanted signs out front. Lets find those who want to help them selves get jobs that want them and can't get one. Maybe we can have recruiters from those local buisnesses come to the homeless shelters and be avalible for those who want to find some kind of job to allow them to start earning some kind of income. Then lets find low income housing to allow those people who just got those jobs to be able to afford a place they can live and have heat in their building. This would be a start.

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