Dear Family & Friends,
“ the world of the poor…that is the real world…” Jon Sobrino goes onto say that until in 1974 he lived in the “real world” the world of the Poor did not exist for him.
Today in 2009 this is still very much true. A fellow Word Made Flesh worker shared with us this week that her salary that is significantly below the poverty line in the US ranks her in the top 13% income bracket in the world. To spell it out that means the majority of the world lives significantly below what we in the US consider poverty level. The real world today is still the world of the poor. It still shocks me to think of the rich and poor contrast. Living in Thailand, I am constantly seeing this contrast. A while back I was in the grocery store here and saw a brick of cheese worth $70 USD and I thought “man who actually can afford this?” Then I remember talking with a friend who lives in Uzbekistan saying that the average monthly income is between $30-$40.
So, last night we met with some friends to discuss the book “The Principles of Mercy” written by Jon Sobrino. We have been meeting with people from several different organizations working in Bangkok every month not only discussing a book off of our first term reading list with Word Made Flesh, but also just connecting and building relationships. After this discussion, I was reminded of how much I underestimate God’s mercy for the poor. It just got me to thinking that do we really realize how poor the world is? Does it shock you that my friend, who lives below the poverty line in the US, still falls in the top 13% income bracket? Well it shocks me and I am sure it shocks you. Because you are already on our mailing list it shows that you care, but we need to be advocating for the poor and questioning how we can do our part better. We need to better understand God’s love and mercy for the poor.
Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath not because he was a liberal but because he had mercy and love. Not because it was the right thing but because he was moved with compassion and showed mercy and love. Mercy flowed from Him. The other night around 10:30 pm we saw a 10 year old sleeping on a cardboard box by the sky train steps. People walked by as if she did not exist. We asked a local security guard who stood nearby if she was with a parent but he just shrugged his shoulders as if he did not care. We must all try to stop from our busy schedule when the need is there even if it is inconvenient, we must not just shrug our shoulders but be moved with compassion and show mercy and love as Jesus did. The security guard shrugged because this in Thailand is normal. We all should not shrug and except the ways in which poverty dehumanizes.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Thanks for being with us for this last year and thanks for being with us as we begin our next year here.
Peace & Love,