I’m in Baltimore, waiting for the bus that will take me to the train, that will take me to my best friend’s house, where I’m staying for the conference this week. For those just tuning in, I’m attending the Sojourner’s Mobilization to End Poverty Conference until Wednesday this week. I’ll be hearing some pretty amazing speakers, possibly even including our president.
This morning waiting for my flight, I was reading some of G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy (which has taken me far too long to read), and came across this passage:
There is one thing that Christ and all the saints have said with a sort of savage monotony. They have said simply that to be rich is to be in peculiar danger of moral wreck. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to kill the rich as violators of definable justice. It is not demonstrably un-Christian to crown the rich as convenient rulers of society. It is not certainly un-Christian to rebel against the rich or to submit to the rich. But it is quite certainly un-Christian to trust the rich, to regard the rich as more morally safe than the poor. (G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy)
Chesterton’s thoughts struck me. Here I am about to embark on a three-day journey learning solely about poverty and how we can stop it, and then this passage comes up. Before the passage, Chesterton notes the idea that perhaps those with greater resources are more fit to govern those lacking. Chesterton then goes on to say that perhaps wealth isn’t what makes us more suited to govern, it just opens us up to a great deal of moral instability.
Hmmm. I do not consider myself a rich person, except in quality of life, but I suppose in the grand scheme of the world, I am a queen. I work quite a bit, but as a result, do not have to worry much about how much money I am spending (although I do stick to a detailed budget!). I can pay my rent, feed myself perhaps too well, enjoy a beer now and then, and even have money left over for such luxuries as tshirts, iPods, and Macbooks. Looking at my own wealth in this way makes me feel guilty. I have been blessed (although I hesitate to use that word – google “open theism”), and all these blessings leave me feeling…helpless.
I guess my big hope for this conference is that I am changed—motivated. I want so badly to be in the forefront shaping this world and giving all I’ve got. I confess that all too often I am held back by insecurities, worries about my own well-being, and selfishness. I am so looking forward to being able to have more information and learn about what it is others are doing in the face of such a problem as the poverty people in our nation and our world are facing.
I hope that you will keep me and the other conference attendees in your prayers. Pray that we are changed, and pray for the leaders of the conference, that they are speaking God’s words.