At least a little part of it..

This is not about some pie in the sky lets all hold hands a create some workers paradise.  Or heaven on earth or any of these completely unrealistic expectations.  After all, “You will always have the poor” Jesus of Nazareth

Let’s just get past that we are not going to get rid of poverty and its impact.  Can we reduce it? Of course and should we as individuals look for ways to ease the suffering around us.  But how do we do that?   Our ethics as Christians mandate that we love our neighbor as ourselves.  Our Christian ethics expect, I would say even demand that we be involved.

What are some, if not easy, at least not hugly painful steps?

I would suggest that the first step is to get our thinking right about what are the causes and then workable solutions, not just throwing money at the problem.
I believe that there are two beliefs that we, yes even those of us in the church have bought into that are not just false assertions, but counter productive to impacting the issue of poverty.  First that work is some sort of curse and that to care for the poor is to care for the need instead of providing a way for people to provide for their own needs.
Let’s look at the first, work is a curse.  If your mind set is that work is a curse, where did that come from.  In recent years finding ones purpose has become a bit af a mantra.  But what does that mean?  The purpose of man is to work, to create to provide, for himself his family and community.  Paul in his letter to the church at Thessalonica made it pretty clear “If a man will not work he shall not eat”. Each of us has abilities and skills.  Maybe the ability to program a computer, or fix a car, or maybe just to make change, count money, or load groceries.  If your skills don’t provide the opportunity that you want then perhaps using the skills you do have to finance the training to develop the skills you want is where you should be looking.  But Russ what about the unwed mother, the man born blind, the cripple or the mentally handicapped?  Are you really going to tell me you haven’t heard of Helen Keller, Chris Gardner, or any of the other thousands if not millions who have come to this country unable to speak the language, with no connection, little or no education, etc and have by working, turned into successes?  Are there those that cann not do for themselves?  Of course, and I am not for an instant suggesting we as the Church should ignore or despise those.  But there are far to many that either will not work in which case see above, or those that don’t for lack of opportunity.
So what about the way?  Should we as a society just give those without, a hand out?  I would say no.  Leviticus 19:10 speaks clearly to what those who have should do for those that are in need.  And it’s not a handout.  It’s giving them an opportunity to learn a skill, to make their own way.
This is not a zero sum game.  Look around you wealth and abundance are everywhere and they are there for the earning.  Will you become rich or wealthy?  Well I am a firm believer that in this country it’s still possible for anybody willing to do the work to become if not rich at least comfortable.
Economics and the spiritual must focus on both in order to help reduce poverty and to allow a path that provides a way for those who will to move out of poverty and then able to provide and show the path out.
To see some much deeper thoughts and ideas on this read some of Father Sirico of The Acton Institute .
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