Upon noticing that I have not blogged in over ten months, I have decided to charge myself with blogging at least once a month. So, this begins my attempt at blogging once a month, even if it means coercing myself to do so. Which I am totally doing right now.
As they say, “if you want to write more, then write more.”
Thus, here is my first blog of 2011.
In scripture, there is often somewhat of a dichotomy drawn between the poor and the rich. Even semioccasional readers of the bible will probably tell you that the poor are portrayed as the oppressed and broken with God pulling for them, while the rich are painted as merciless and greedy with God as an enemy. Obviously, we know that not every rich person is an evil, idol-worshiping, slave-owning, wife-beating douche. And it is equally as clear that not every poor person is a spirit-filled prophet of the Lord. Even in scripture you have filthy rich men after God’s own heart, and poor men that work for Hell. Nonetheless, the canonical writers do seem to be negatively biased against the rich.
Here is a good point to stop and acknowledge that no, I cannot communicate in any way without giving moderately long and marginally unnecessary prefaces/intros. My apologies. My desire in this blog is to examine both the rich and the poor through a spiritually and ecclesiologically simple lens.
So here is what I have to say.
In the book of James, the author commands not to give up a good seat in the assembly to the rich man. Now, I may need you to take somewhat of a leap with me on this next part because the author clearly made this statement with different intentions in mind than those I now have for this blog entry.
I believe that rich and poor are two different and equally destructive labels, realities and even worldviews that are dangerously easy traps to fall into. They are states of being that include seeing oneself, or being seen by others, as rich and/or poor. These labels take on much more than just socioeconomic status. I’ll explain…
In the Church, as well as many common and consistent social situations, people are typically quickly labelled as either “poor” or “rich”. These labels are often attributed to a person because of relatively higher or lower monetary wealth, talent, intellect, popularity, importance, pulchritude, etc. Now, for the Christ follower, there is rarely anything valuable to be found in labels. My foremost hope here is to convince you of this if you are skeptical. So. First, I will explore the dangers of being perceived by others as the rich man, and then the dangers of seeing one’s self as the rich man, specifically how it relates to those in the Church.