There is so much said nowadays about the moral obligation of redistributing wealth, accompanied by attendant social theories and [often underhanded] political actions. In this climate, deceit is considered a useful means to an end, if that end is social redistribution and correct ecological and political empowerment. In such postmodern culture, language is a malleable tool, where it is considered good form if language is used to deceive people who stand in the way of expressed "good goals." Mix in the nascent moral urge of helping people with political manipulation and you have a deadly brew -- what we are experiencing in spades, right now in America.
So, it is a salient question: Did Jesus view poverty as evil, in itself? Was poverty something that justified human manipulation, destruction of societal infrastructure, and enslavement of all children born into that society? Can a nation properly be enslaved under the guise of helping the poor?
It's a question that needs to be asked and followed out rigorously by good people, people of faith. Because moral language is precisely what is being used to destroy our land from the inside out -- postmodern use of moral language vs. actual morality. In true morality it is categorically wrong to use language in deception or enslavement. But that is exactly what is happening in our land. Warning signs just from today: Wall Street Journal: Insolvency Looms as States Drain Disability Fund. The Texas Federal Reserve Chair: "At this rate, we WILL become insolvent. It is not a question of if, but when." Debt is now the father of us all. Last month Obama’s red-ink exceeded the entire 2007 budget deficit under Bush — 30 days of Obama trumping 365 of Bush. And how did this happen? Moral language. Crony politics. Entitlement. Postmodern usage of language: intentional deceit through words, destruction of a social framework in the cloak of moral redistribution.
Is it poverty that keeps people down? Or will it be a postmodern theology of poverty, the politics of socialism that darkness uses to destroy our land?
Care and the idolatry of self
I recently read a passage in George MacDonald's book, Weighed and Wanting. In it he describes two poor sisters who were consumed by their condition -- not because they were poor, but because they refused to follow out trust in their lives. Listen to the quote; it may be instructive:
The place was was kept by two old maids whose hearts had been flattened under the pressure of poverty – no, I am wrong, it was not poverty, but care; pure poverty never flattened any heart; it is the care which poverty is supposed to justify that does the mischief; it gets inside it and burrows, as well as lies on the top of it; of mere outside poverty a heart can bear a mountainous weight without the smallest injury, yea with inestimable result of the only riches. Our Lord never mentions poverty as one of the obstructions to his kingdom, neither has it ever proved such; riches, cares and desires he does mention.
It looked as if God had forgotten them – toiling for so little all day long, while the fact was they forgot God, and were thus miserable and oppressed because they would not have him interfere as he would so gladly have done. Instead of seeking the kingdom of heaven, and trusting him for old age while they did their work with their might, they exhausted their spiritual resources in sending out armies of ravens with hardly a dove among them, to find and secure a future still submerged in the waves of a friendly deluge.
I read this and was reminded of two poor ladies in London who made it their goal to listen to God every day, to follow His will for the day even if they didn't know from whence the next meal would come. They produced a spiritual masterpiece, a devotional book which never grows old, and continues to feed thousands of people in our generation. Amazing, yes! but not singular. It happens in every heart and in every place where poverty [or the radical need of the person] is placed in true relation to God, in the kingdom.
Light, freedom and real prosperity result -- the freedom of the heart and breaking free of others from chains. True morality NEVER enslaves others in false language. It always frees, and lightens the heart.
May God have mercy on our land!