… exactly what the poor need to do for themselves.
On the one hand, I will shortly dispel the notion that wealth means you don’t have the same needs.
On the other hand, unless you do these things for yourself, you’ll never understand what they need to do for themselves — the what, the how, the challenges, the work. Absent that, there’s no way you can possibly make yourself useful or helpful to them.
Continue reading 1) Do for yourself …
John C. Dorhauer’s “An Open Letter to White Men in America” begins:
Dear White Men,
You are persons of privilege.
You didn’t earn it.
This distresses me far less today than it did when I first read it. Maybe I’ve become more comfortable with having things I don’t deserve. More likely, I’ve lost all interest in whether people have things they don’t deserve or deserve things they don’t have.
I encourage you to lose all interest in it, too.
Continue reading 2) Give up the word “deserve.”
There is no substitute for personal, hands-on, sustained contact with the poor.
Do not use the state as a proxy. Do it yourself.
Build relationships. Acquire poor friends.
Continue reading 3) Get your hands dirty.
Mitt Romney does.
Again, don’t use the state as a proxy. On the one hand, the taxpayers have no need to bankroll your personal altruism. On another hand, the “underclass” are, by definition, folk The System cannot reach; no state action has any real effect on their lives.
Three sectors come to mind: employment; homeless shelters; and low-income housing.
Continue reading 4) Invest your own money.
Almost all poor children attend public schools.
It is impossible for any thing to benefit them that does not also profit society as a whole. Thus prayer for them is a powerful shortcut to praying for the community and the nation.
Continue reading 5) Pray for the public schools.
Hostility and turmoil pervade the places you don’t want to go. The spiritual darkness is palpable at noon, and the folk are too lacking in self-love to organize their lives.
The area around my church is nowhere near that bad, but still significantly distressed.
Prayer for my congregation is inseparable from prayer for that ‘hood, and I engage in such prayer every day. Continue reading 6) Emanate love.