Poverty, greed, & me


A co-worker e-mailed me this video, and you wanna know what my first thought was? I’m going to hell.

In a way, I kind of feel like I deserve to go to hell given the surplus I enjoy here in America. Even when I earn only half a paycheck, I still have enough to pay my bills and enjoy luxuries besides. The $200 which I use to go out to eat, buy books or CDs, or whatever (and ‘whatever’ is quite the luxurious word, isn’t it?) is what most of these families probably earn in a year.

If I wasn’t so selfishly concentrated on getting my sorry self out of debt, I’d probably contribute more to relief aids. I lack faith, though, that’s what this amounts to: I lack the faith that God will provide. I’m far too American, far too indoctrinated by the postulates of free market capitalism, and somewhere deep inside I believe that I’m still the one responsible for my destiny, my fate, my life. No matter how many times I tell myself “I am not the great I AM, but by the grace of God I am what I am,” or try to intellectually acknowledge my creatureliness, I’m likely to always lack the faith that catapulted St Francis from being a merchant’s prince into Il Poverello.

And so, I deserve hell in the same way that the Lazaruses of the world deserve to rest in the bosom of Abraham.

That’s all - I’m done with my little dramatic rant which won’t amount to a hill of beans in my actual life.


Prayer is also a work of mercy :wink:


Well, it may not make a hill of beans to you, but it is a tight, on-point, homily for many of us. I think the spirit moved you to make this post.


It’s not selfish to want to get yourself out of debt. There’s a verse or two in Proverbs (can’t remember the actual wording or cites and no time to look it up, I’m sorry) about the evils of debt and the importance of getting oneself out of debt, so it’s certainly Godly wisdom to want to do so.


Dear Epistemes,
Isn’t it odd or maybe all to American, that we can find ourselves in debt and yet we are the king Midas’s of human history? By any standard Americans are so wealthy as to be considered mythic. And yet we can find ourselves in debt and or distracted by our great wealth, by diversions that only the wealthy can be tempted by.

I think we Americans would do well to collectively get on our knees and humble ourselves. And ask that we not be put to test. To those whom much has been given, much will be expected. Oh my.


I can very much relate to your post.

Don’t use these feelings to put yourself down, use them as food for thought.

I just want to share some personal stuff. I am somebody for whom it is very important to live simply. Which can sometimes be a struggle for a scrupulous person like me.

I have often thought about things like that. About sharing. Giving a homeless person my raincoat, because he needed it more, things like that. It has become normal for me to think like that. It is a matter of attitude.

I have often lived on very very little, feeling that having extra or saving up for security isn’t right while other people starve.
One time I lived on about 5 dollars a week for food, and it worked out ok. It was also an experience in simplicity. You get used to it. I kind of WANT to live simple now. That does not mean I don’t allow myself anything. For example I am looking forward to going camping next month. Sometimes I get over scrupulous. I feel guilty when I buy a more expensive loaf of bread. Then I tell myself, this one has nuts in it, it is good nutrition, I need this. I go back and forth like this a lot. Part of it is scrupulosity. But I think a big part of it also a real desire to live simply and to share.

GOD WILL PROVIDE has become much of a phrase of comfort for me. HE WILL. I have so often experienced that. We need not be so afraid about material things. I kind of feel better now if I don’t have much. More connected.

Ok I am single and not responsible for a family, so maybe it’s easier for me to live this way…

I think we all need to be aware of how much we have been given, to appreciate it. So really for you, the video you saw maybe was meant to wake up these thoughts in you. But not because God wants to put you down and tell you you are bad and going to hell, but rather to wake you up and make you think.

I also want to add that I would say, if you are in debt, it is kind of your respnsibility to make sure you are working on paying them back. So you’re not really being greedy or anything like that.

Little things can make a big difference. Giving somebody the salad I bought for myself and just eating dry bread myself can feel very good. Unless it is done out of compulsion, here I have to be careful, personally!



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