Tag Archives: poverty

Grading the Middle Class

The Atlantic which is one of my favorite mags has an excellent article on the shrinking middle class.  It’s long but worth the read.  Essentially it talks about how the gap between the haves and have nots is growing more and more.   My thoughts as always is how will this effect the Church?   Talking about this with one of my colleagues via email about the article he made an excellent observation that I will share with you:

I read this. Interesting. I can’t help but see ways in which history is repeating itself.

The glory of ancient Rome was preserving the Republic, with it’s failure due to greed (cf. the Historian Sallust) and a lust for power and control, representative government shifted to oppressive injustice under the Empire.

In the days of Christ there were basically the rich, the poor and the destitute. The rich in the Scriptures did not have to work, but had others work for them. They owned the land, were merchants, tax collectors, or inherited their wealth. New Testament scholars estimate that only a few percent of the population, much like this article were rich. The other 90+ percent were either the poor or the destitute. The poor were people who lived on their daily wages, or as we say today worked “paycheck to paycheck.” The destitute were those who were blind. In the NT, both the poor and the destitute are translated (or mistranslated) “the poor.”

So why ramble on this…your article makes me wonder too…Wondering backwards to look forwards…

When Jesus arrived in a world where NT scholars say there was virtually no middle class, he called His people to live in communities of grace, justice, love in a world…Those who were not rich were not to try to be rich, but to be content with basic necessities. Those who were rich were to realize the purpose of their provision was to do good, be rich in good works, be generous sharers of possessions…

I guess I am saying we should create the communities of care because soon, those on top won’t care, and most of us will be on the bottom anyway. Let those who think they control the world do so, for what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul, right? I guess what I mean is Jesus did not launch programs, he called for a different way of life that compelled people in droves…

Some pretty challenging thoughts to chew on.