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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"The Opposite of Poverty is Enough"

One of my absolute favorite quotes penned by our President and CEO at Compassion International is, "The opposite of poverty is enough".  I have worked for Compassion for two years now and every day my heart grows bigger and bigger for the poor and the oppressed.  And as my heart grows for the poor, so does the sadness and anger I feel at the senseless injustices I hear about and see through the experiences of other Compassion staff members. Some of the stories of what these little tiny children go through on a routine basis are completely heartbreaking. 

When I walked into the chapel service today at work, I didn't really know what to expect.  In all honesty, I was a little tired, not feeling well and had a million projects on my mind that I had to finish.  The speaker for the day, Shane Claiborne, was announced, and when he walked on stage my attention was instantly caught.  Standing on the stage was a guy with dreadlocks down to the center of his back, big baggie cargo pants with pockets the size of buckets, a long loose fitting shirt, sandals and a red bandana tied around the top of his dreads with big, black thick framed glasses on his face.  My first thought was, 'Huh.  That's interesting'.  But when Shane began to speak I was immediately captivated.  His passionate speaking about the poor and how we can change poverty completely captivated me.  There was so much that he said that spoke to me, but I will only share one with you on this blog and then let you look him up from here...
Shane talked about a newspaper he read many years ago that competely started a fire in him.  In fact, he carries the front page of that newspaper everywhere he goes, and he had the yellow, tattered newspaper page with him when he spoke to us. He waved the newspaper at us and said, "I noticed two things on the front of this newspaper as I was reading it.  First of all, the main article on the page is talking about children who are making grass into patties to eat in (enter the country here...sorry, I forget which country he said). They were eating grass because they were starving and literally had nothing else to eat." The article was truly heartbreaking.  "On the same page, the other headlining article is'The Growing Rate of Obesity in America'.   Coincidence? I personally don't think so. :)" The article went on to say how many American's live in access and convenience and not only overeat, but continuously throw away food that we don't eat.  One of the quotes that Shane said after that, I thought was profoundly powerful.  He said, "Millions of people die from poverty, but millions of people also die from wealth".  He explained how people who live in excess and overindulge tend to live reckless lives not only to their health, but to their souls. He went on with a disclaimer that not all wealthy people are like this, but a high percentage are. I thought he made a great point. 

I encourage you to look up Shane Claiborne.  He is the author of the books, "The Irresistible Revolution", "Jesus for President" and others.  He leads a movement called The Simple Way, a faith community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped connect radical faith communities around the world.  Shane spent 10 weeks working with Mother Teresa in Calcutta years ago and also spent time in Baghdad with the Iraq Peace Team.  Go check out his website:

All I know is, what he had to say really spoke to me.  It makes me so thankful to have a roof over my head and food in my mouth, and to live in a country where I have many more freedoms than most. 

God doesn't suggest we help the poor, he commands it.
"Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God."
-Proverbs 14:31

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