tiltingListening to: Coldplay


Reading: The police Blotter, Stories about Jesus, emails from desperate places

Writing About: Hope, Limitations, Perseverance, and Hope

Jesus, efficiency, and the poor

A woman once wasted an extravagant amount of fine perfume on Jesus’ head.
The disciples were mad:
“You should have sold that and given the money to the poor”
They were right.
My last post was (essentially) about waste. Waste is bad.
I’m with the disciples on this one.

Jesus shut them right up, though.
And now we are all frequently confused by his reaction:
“The Poor you will always have with you”
In your lifetime you will hear someone reference that
as a way of saying:
“Don’t try so hard, poverty is an unsolvable problem.”
Those people are (probably) correct.
But also, confused.
And kind of terrible.
Super terrible.

Doing Difficult Things

I have a friend who works with teenage parents.
She has been called to an endless uphill battle.
Every day she will face problems that she can’t solve.
I feel encouraged when she goes toe to toe
every day
with problems she can not solve.

That’s all twice as true for the girls she works with.
I feel proud of them.
Even though, if I am honest,
I don’t think most of their situations are
going to look much better
than they do now.

The Worst Sales Pitch Ever

A large part of my job
is finding and sending people
into these same types of situations.

Situations we want to fix,
but can not.
I feel great joy, when I find someone
willing to stand face to face
with a mountain of (someone else’s) problems
and never flinch.

The best “fit” for the kind of work
that I recruit for,
is not someone with the right answers.
It is someone who is willing to stick with people
who are surrounded by bad answers
to huge problems.

“Answers People” are bound to give up.
I get it, that is not a judgment on them.
But they aren’t the kind of folks I am looking for.

Not really a solution, just a better problem

One solution Jesus has to the poverty problem is,
put simply,
Be poor.
The rich young ruler was clearly asked to sell All he had.
We are all asked to not store up treasures on Earth.

Do you know what would happen if I sold all of my possessions
And gave the proceeds to the poor?
I would, immediately, be in need of assistance myself.
I would be “the poor”
And you’d need to sell all of your stuff
So I could have something.
I’d then sell that stuff.
At the end of all this – where will all the stuff go?

I am sorry to say,
That is not a solution
in any typical sense of the word.
I don’t want anyone to be trapped in material poverty.
(probably not you, either)

Take up my cross

Last weekend I tried to explain to a mentor of mine
How I struggle with all of this,
I know I am called to do something, but how?
How do I fix it, and how do I Mobilize people to fix it?
I want it fixed!

He encouraged me to struggle.
It was super annoying.

So friends, I pass the same advice along to you.

“The Poor you will always have with you.
Therefore, you can never stop.”
-Jesus (paraphrase)
(Not Jesus, really, just me.)