“Suburbia vs. Social Justice”

October 26, 2006

I came across this blog entry that seems to jive with much that is going on in and through the people in my church (came across it here).

Here’s the snippet that hooked me to read the whole thing:

Living in suburbia can lead to an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality toward the poor. We’re pretty comfortable and typically pretty busy, so it’s easy to forget that our experience is not shared by many – even most – people in the world. We need to develop what Gary Haugen calls compassion permanence: the capacity to remember the needs of those who are suffering due to injustice, multi-generational poverty, disease, calamity, etc., even when they are out of our immediate sight.

Those of us who live in suburbia can sometimes feel a pang of guilt for the comfortable lives we lead in comparison to the world’s poor. While I wouldn’t want to douse any legitimate conviction of the Holy Spirit, I don’t believe the Lord wants us be motivated by guilt. Could God be calling some of us to forsake the suburban lifestyle and “incarnate” with the poor, taking up residence with those who are marginalized in our world? Absolutely. Is he calling all of us to do that? Probably not. The great majority of believers who live in suburbia are called to remain right where they are, but to develop a compassion permanence that leads us to remember the poor even though they are not immediately before our eyes day after day.

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One Response to ““Suburbia vs. Social Justice””

  1. m said

    I saw this article too, and forwarded it to Jen, being the coordinator of the Sandwich Ministry at Bethel. I wouldn’t consider Vancouver “suburbia” but the need to develop “compassion permanence” applies to us Vancouverites just as well.

    Tenth Ave. Alliance’s Missions & Outreach department is putting on a series to address issues affecting the local and global community over the next 5 weeks. Judy Graves (a faithful friend and advocate of the homeless and Downtown Eastside) will be giving seminar on the homeless on Sunday, Nov. 5 at 130pm. Jen has seen Judy speak recently on poverty issues in a course she’s taking right now, and says she is excellent. For more info, contact David Lee 604.876.2181 (ext. 106). I’m hoping to go.

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