Tuesday, November 21, 2017

helping the poor

Lack of "resources" is at the heart of poverty. The material resources can be covered by government policy or private charity. But how to replace and supplement the rest of what's missing or deficient? Spiritual poverty, a lack of human capital, trouble in basic human relationships, knowledge of how to navigate a middle-class world, etc. (Charles Murray's In Pursuit of Happiness and Good Govt is a terrific book, applying Maslow's Hierarchy to public policy in general and poverty in particular.)

Marvin Olasky reminds us (in The Tragedy of American Compassion) that material assistance alone is ultimately stingy, since it fails to give what's truly needed. What's required? Effort, wisdom, involvement, and time-- and it's messy. So, we give material sustenance (or we vote to take it from others)-- and we're satisfied. True (or at least truer) help requires (much) more.

Reach out to your poor neighbor-- and sure, give them a basket of food. But get involved with them relationally and see what doors open for you to make a greater, lasting difference.


At November 21, 2017 at 11:10 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There can be no rich without poor, therefore we have poor.
There can be no rich without usury, therefore we have usury.
There is a reason the Bible, and its author Yahweh, forbids usury.
Is this all understandable? We really, really need this to be understood; especially by those who preach.

At November 21, 2017 at 11:17 AM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

The first statement is always true in relative terms, but not necessarily in absolute terms. To note, today's poor are not poor in terms from even 50 years ago. And today's poor in the U.S. are not poor in comparison to the poor in the rest of the world.

Although one might become wealthy through usury, becoming wealthy can be done easily) without usury.

Biblically, usury is forbidden, at least between believers, but it's difficult to define what constitutes usury.

Yes, these are important work/concepts.


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