Now, where was I. Oh yes, the pizzas, or poverty in the inner cities rather. Upon finishing Part I, I read through my thoughts again, which were more or less stream of consciousness, and I realized this: I bit off way more than I can chew. But, you know, that's okay. We've got to start somewhere. And my buddy, Roland, was quick to jump in with me and offer some initial thoughts and questions to deepen the discussion. If you haven't read his comments on Part I, I encourage you to do so now. Roland is a Marketing Ph.D. in Champaign and the thrust of his research is related to functional literacy and decision-making in relation to nutrition (correct me if I'm off). Now, the central questions I raised earlier were:
What can we do to bring redemption to our inner cities? To educate and enable and empower impoverished families in the inner cities to buy groceries at reasonable prices? To see the futility of spending each week's paycheck on overpriced food and other items at the local corner store? To break the cycle of poverty?When spouting off these questions, I wanted to begin taking a serious look at how we can go about teaching people how to fish and to not just give them fish. My intention was and is to look at this within the framework of the following: government and public policy versus private sector (faith-based initiatives and philanthropic programs) and their role in impacting the poor in relation to nutrition, literacy/education and employment and the role of corporate America. Let me pause here and say that we have a lot to learn from impoverished as well.
I would be remiss if I didn't say that when I ponder these issues, I do so with a Biblical worldview. The Word of God is the paradigm with which I see and understand the world. As one who is seeking to follow Christ, I see him as the greatest source of redemption in these areas, because before we can ever find sustained hope in this life, we must find a restored relationship with our Creator. But I do not believe that Jesus only cares about our life after death; he desires for his followers to bring Shalom to this life as we proclaim the gospel in word and deed, to redeem the broken places of this world for his glory. And Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it looks like to step out and love the poor.
So my desire to bring redemption to the impoverished peoples of our inner cities...it can not stem from guilt or a desire to give handouts and "charity", it must be rooted in humilty and a strong desire to bring continued hope and renewal come to the marginalized and forgotten, to pattern myself after Christ. Now that I've established that I am incredibly wordy, I am afraid I must continue this on next time, because people are probably dropping like flies reading this rambling.
In Part III, what's Wal-Mart got to do with it?