I find it a bit overwhelming lately as I watch the things happening around us. There are those bemoaning that people are taking “Christ out of Christmas” and refusing to participate in events without “Christmas” in the title. We’ve got politicians railing against the deficit one moment and then eagerly expanding it for things like war or tax breaks for the extremely wealthy. And we’ve got serious infrastructure issues as our bridges and schools crumble. Health care costs are skyrocketing (almost $1k for the two hours my son was in the ER…seriously?) while outcomes in the US lag behind the rest of the world. All of it painted over with the veneer of “freedom.” We can’t make changes or help the people in our society who most need it because to do so is “losing our freedom.”
…And it’s the Christmas season. You know, that time of year when we’re supposed to be generous to others. We’re supposed to care for the sick, the widows, the children…how did Jesus put it? Oh yeah, the least of these. Really? This is the best that the church has to offer? You’d rather focus on things like abortion and opposition to gay marriage while the richest of our society gut the essential social programs that feed the hungry, take care of the sick, and educate our children?
Don’t pull the charity card or tell me that churches are really the ones who should be doing it. Yes, churches should be doing it…and on a grander scale than they are because let’s face it, when budgets get tight these are the kinds of activities that most churches cut first. Missionaries and benevolence funds are treated as if they are luxuries while taking care of the church (and it’s members) takes precedence.
You could say yes, we’re broke and having trouble funding our schools lately. But it’s not just the condition of our schools. It’s also the condition of our families and houses and infrastructure and medical care — the works. And it matters here, a lot, because ours is a nation where poverty sticks to you. “[S]ocio-economic disadvantage translates more directly into poor educational performance in the United States than is the case in many other countries,” the authors of the schools report, from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
We’re making choices all the time, with consequences that last. “This is a bitter & shameful pill to swallow,” tweets Democratic strategist Donna Brazile. “If we’re going to borrow money to pay for this deal w/ GOP, give it to those who need it most.” So much for that.
Hello…Evangelicals? Is this mic on? Are you listening? You want to know why my generation (both as members and staff members) is leaving your churches? THIS. THIS right here? THIS is just one reason.