Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sad and Bothered

I don't know, maybe three weeks ago I caught an Oprah episode about the "working poor" in our nation. People working full time making minimum wage or even up to $11/ hour and not being able to support their families. The saddest comment was from a middle aged man that choked through tears how disappointed he was that he wasn't able to support the woman that he loved making $9/hour.

Last night I watched POV on PBS. Again the same subject; people working full time and not able to make it in this country.

Churches are you helping people? Communities are you? Neighbors, friends, families are you watching out for your own?

This problem grips my heart. What are we going to do?

I don't know the answer.


Anonymous said...

It is sad. I really have so much sadness when I think of people who are on their own, with no family or church to help them. They have no safety net...and I think that is something that most middle-class people have no concept of. And what makes me mad is when some people, the "haves" , say that this is all relative. Which yes, it is, but isn't everything relative? That is just no excuse.

Abby said...

It has taken me a while to realize just how blessed we are to have the "safety net" annie is talking about. I used to have no concept of what it would be like because it's all good and well when your parents have a couple thousand dollars to get you through a rough spot. People who don't have families, people who aren't just in a rough spot, I just don't know what to do for them. I think I saw part of that Oprah, or one about classes where they showed that there is an ever widening gap between upper and lower class as the middle class is sort of dying and the other two extremes are growing. I saw another Oprah talking about people with $100,000 credit card debt a few weeks ago. I can't help but think that if those types would quit living so far beyond their means, it wouldn't effect our economy in such a way that makes it hard for the sensible to be sensible. I don't know much about economics, but it just seems like people willing to run up monstrous and unnecessary debt drive up prices because it appears they can afford them when they really can't and therefore makes it harder on those who want to stay out of debt. Not sure if I'm making any sense. But I do think it is easy to have your head in the sand, I know a whole pack of people who do because I did. I wish somone did know the answer.

Anonymous said...

Churches are doing it-- at least some are--and individuals are. I suppose it is difficult for the few to carry the many, though. I am glad and blessed to be part of a loving, caring, community of believers, friends, and a church that cares for those in need. And so,so, grateful!!!! May the Lord bless those who are caring for others!! Denise

april said...

Yeah I get the relative part. Like I know there will always be and have nearly always been divisions in class. That I know we can't change. Those who are able to need to dig deeper and help.

I like your thinking Abby, your probably right about some of the economics. Americans have dug themselves into a big debt hole and that has to have some affect on our economy.

I'm thinking the group that suffers the most are single moms. All but one of the individuals on POV were single mothers with multiple children.

I think God does bless those who help others not just by rewarding them financially but, by giving them spiritual gifts of sorts, ya know what I mean? Like the ability to take a wounded soul under you wing and help them heal, that's not somethng everyone is able to do. Some Christians just amaze me with their gifts....if we could just flame that fire a bit more around this country.

Anonymous said...

Your last paragraph was poetry--and that is the answer. Just wanted to give credit where it is much due.

Jessie said...

I think that often, those of us who are comfortable, are too selfish or afraid or both to embrace these things and get our hands messy in them. I think that we forget that Christ spent his ministry on earth with the least of these, not the people who had their lives together. I think that our understanding of God's mercy to us in our own lives is weak and that keeps us from the freedom to extend mercy to those needy that may not exactly be next door, but that are very near nonetheless. I think that though these people need financial help, that is not enough, they need someone willing to engage deeply in their lives and help them understand that the kingdom of God coming to bear and making all things new means a whole lot more than being able to pay their bills. I think that every believer has the Spirit and that Spirit can enable them to love and serve people who are not like them if they are willing to do what it takes to find someone in need and make the choice to love them. I think that honestly, we'd rather think about this and wonder how to begin helping instead of just doing something, no matter how small that something may be. I think that this should be a vital work of the church, and in some cases, a noble effort is made, but in others there is little to no effort. And I do think this is a hard topic, a very complex one. And those are just some of my thoughts...obviously I have many many on this topic, and don't mean to offend anyone in my honesty.

Jessie said...

I also must add that the above paragraph is spoken as much (or more) to myself as to anyone else!

Jenn said...

I read something recently that basically said "A real friend doesn't ask if there's anything they can do to help. They find something and they just do it." It really stuck with me because I do that! I don't want to be rude and push in on somebody's business.

I finally blogged back! Sorry I took so long. Talk is cheap, huh?

Jenn said...

The baby woke up and I had to end early. She nursing now, so I'll try to finish.

I hate to interfere where I'm not wanted, so I always ask. But I realized that when I could really use a hand and someone asks if there is anything they can do to help...I can't tell them. "Yeah, you could fold my clothes. Yeah, I could really use some lasagna. Yeah, I could really stand to have some quiet time." It will not come out. I think we need to work on #1 stepping in and finding something to do instead of waiting for someone to ask. and #2 asking when it's us. We're too afraid of someone judging us for not being able to handle it all. Our friends and church families and real families...they love us and that's what they are there for. If we're really going to be a true family, we've got to trust each other and depend on each other.

Antique Mommy said...

My father didn't graduate from high school. He earned his GED after I was born, and I'm the third kid in our family. In the 60's you could support a family without a college education. Today it's difficult even with a college education. The answer is not in handing out dollars but in helping people access education and in developing employement skills.