currently listening to: a good day by priscilla ahn
I originally thought this was going to be a ranting/venting blog entry. But Priscilla Ahn’s new CD (auspiciously named “A Good Day”) has put me in a slightly more amiable mood, so I think I’m going to let this one go.
I was just frustrated about something I heard today. I think I’m starting to realize what my issue is. Sometimes it feels like certain people focus on producing “right behavior” over internalizing truth that produces authentic action. I get frustrated when the emphasis becomes on doing what’s apparently right and socially proper, rather than being genuine, transformed and authentically motivated to act on the truth.
I feel like when you begin to arbitrarily use other people’s words and actions as a blanket litmus test for their spirituality rather than seeking them out and establishing relationships and trying to understand where people are coming from, you just invite people to be judgmental. And narrow-minded.
And we don’t need any more help with that. We’re bad enough as it is.
I realize I’m being vague. I ‘m not trying to be divisive; I just start to get a bit annoyed when we take intimacy and authenticity out of the equation and try to replace that with pleasing people and doing the non-offensive, proper thing.
But that’s just me.
Also, I disagreed with something that was said that I heard today. Essentially, what was said was that there is no poverty America and if you live in America and are poor, then it’s basically your own fault, due to laziness or slothfulness.
I couldn’t barely listen to the rest of what was being said, I was so incensed by this statement. First of all, this person did not define the parameters of poverty, only made a blanket statement, which perpetuates ignorance and propaganda.
A little known fact: out of all developed countries around the world, the United States actually has the highest rate of poverty. Of course, this refers to developed countries like in Western Europe or wealthy Middle Eastern nations, as opposed to places like Malawi in sub-Saharan Africa which are developing countries. There’s a difference between poverty and extreme poverty. Extreme poverty refers to those who live on $1 a day or less. Of course, under these parameters, I realize that America does not suffer from extreme poverty.
However, those parameters were not defined. There is poverty in America, although not extreme poverty like we see in developing countries. What angered me was more of what was more of the apparent motivation behind what he was saying. He was not trying to educate us with accurate information about poverty in America. He was making a statement about the American dream, that if you try really hard, you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. And if you are in financial straits in America, then it’s your own fault.
Tell that to kids in inner city L.A. who grow up amid gang violence, single-parent homes and drug culture. Tell that to people living in New Orleans, still recovering from losing everything in Hurricane Katrina while living in a city that still deals with the scars of institutionalized racism and injustice. The issues are so much more complex than this idealistic American dream propaganda that so many people just blithely spout out to make a point.
I wish the emphasis had been more of a call to serve and love people who are suffering, rather than polarizing the situation by making it an “us vs. them” situation. Yes, there are plenty of lazy people out there who manipulate the system and there are plenty of times where financial woes is self-inflicted in America.
But rather than judge and make divisive statements about how they are suffering the consequences of laziness, why not urge Christians to address these issues through love and service?
My main problem was that this was a politically-charged and polarizing statement to make a point, rather than actually address real issues.
Okay, I’m done.
Back to chilling and listening to Priscilla Ahn on a Sunday afternoon:)