Pop Tarts & Justice

For a study break tonight I had a Pop Tart. I went grocery shopping last night and picked them up for two reasons: 1) they were nearly half off, and 2) my munchie supply was dangerously low (peanut butter and crackers has sufficed for the past several months). Now I’ve never really eaten Pop Tarts. But I vividly remember the commercials: So hot they’re cool, so cool they’re hot. They always popped out of the toaster with bright, wild coolness. Yeah, Pop Tarts. But mine didn’t fly across the room when the toaster popped up. It was kind of disappointing.

Poverty has become a rising issue in a few of my classes. Okay, one of my classes is about poverty, but the issue has been coming up in a few of them. How are Christians supposed to deal with poverty? It’s a question I think we’ve terribly neglected. We live in one of the richest countries of the world. It’s kind of difficult, because I don’t feel rich. I’ve got loans to pay and very little cash in my wallet. But I’m still rich. I drive a very nice pick-up truck, I’m typing on a decent computer with all the toys and gadgets, my shelves are lined with books, and my closet is full of clothes.

From looking at the Bible it’s becoming clear that God judges a society by how they treat the poor; the alien, the fatherless, and the widow. How do we measure up? What have I done recently for the oppressed? This is a difficult issue because these are hard, personal questions. And it has more to do with how you spend your money then what you give away. Sometimes I feel good because I put my ten percent in the offering, or I sponsor a child. But what good am I really doing if I buy designer jeans, name brand tennis shoes, stuff I don’t need? I know there’s nothing wrong with that stuff, but how often do we buy the more expensive brands just because we can? What if we lived as cheaply as we could and used the rest to help the poor? It’s a pretty radical concept. I was reading an article about a family that put off buying a new couch so they could use that money to help the poor. Is that something we as Christians can do? It seems like such a bizarre concept. But what really scares me is that’s a foreign concept to us.

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