Economic Justice and Poverty

"Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?" - James 2:5-7

Although a wealth gap is a natural outcome of capitalism, carefully written and enforced policies and laws cause the difference in income available to the top earners in the U.S. and that available to bottom earners to grow at an increasing pace. While race is not the only factor determining earning ability, it is significant, as the top earners are primarily white and the bottom earners primarily persons of color.  In addition, many of the policies and laws have the added effect of pitting bottom earners of different races against each other, all to the benefit of those earning the most.  As disciples of Christ, we are called not only to alleviate immediate symptoms of the wealth gap, such as food insecurity and access to health care, but to go further and find ways to help tackle the root causes of economic injustice and poverty.

 

How can we become effective allies in the fight for economic justice?

More Economic Justice and Poverty Topics:

Become Informed:

We cannot be allies if we do not understand and acknowledge the causes and effects of the wealth gap in the U.S. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to educate ourselves and then weigh our findings against what we believe to be our calling in Christ. Below are some suggestions and resources you may consider as you seek to understand. Be introspective, prayerfully examining your beliefs and habits.

 

  • Be introspective, prayerfully examining the United Methodist stance on social issues and your own beliefs and habits. Becoming a strong ally in a social justice movement requires ongoing self-reflection, learning, and openness to growth.

  • Take a Just Faith class or other book or Bible study on issues of race and/or economic justice.

  • Explore resources on the causes and effects of economic injustice.

Other:

A Prayer For Those Living in Poverty

Loving God,

we believe you are the God of the poor

and that poverty includes being hungry, unemployed and orphaned,

living on a pension or grant,

meagre earnings for arduous and hazardous work,

ill health, anxiety and stress and the absence of power,

worsened for women by unequal gender relations.

Loving God, 

we hold up to you all those living in poverty.

 

We believe that God wants all people to live a dignified life

and engage in meaningful work,

that workers should receive fair wages,

and that those who possess more resources and skills

must share them in neighbourly love with those who have less.

Loving God,

open our eyes to the deep needs of those who are poor.

 

We believe that the challenge of fighting poverty

does not lie solely with governments,

but that faith-based organisations are ideally positioned to address it,

with their human and financial resources.

Loving God,

challenge us to see ways in which we can work against poverty.

 

We renew our commitment to be in solidarity with the poor

and to work against any form of injustice.

We commit ourselves to put our faith into action

and to demonstrate our faith in practical ways,

so that together we can overcome the scourge of poverty.

Loving God,

in your mercy, hear our prayer and strengthen us in our commitment

 

(Based on extracts from statements on poverty by Diakonia’s member churches.

 

In: Pilgrimage of Hope © Diakonia Council of Churches 2009, Durban, South Africa.)