Poverty was my very first client in East Harlem—a father whose child died from being bitten by a rat. Poverty is a dope pusher who wanted to learn from me his rights if arrested because he knew that would sooner or later happen. Poverty is a widow on welfare whose landlord cuts the heat knowing that winter will end before the complaint is processed. Poverty is an addict who pawns the jacket off his back to get another “fix.” Poverty is a young couple who married only to obtain public housing but now have no grounds for divorce in New York and are tempted to collusion. Poverty is a boy who wants to be adopted because his mother is alcoholic. Poverty is the payoff to a building inspector not to report violations of the building code. Poverty is the attempted eviction—finally defeated—from a project of a family whose son was thought to be ‘undesirable’ by the project manager. Poverty is the wife of an addict with whom I worked out a budget to manage her while her husband was in prison. Poverty is a Puerto Rican shopkeeper whose store was stoned when he tried to relocate to 96th Street. Poverty is a kid in trouble who comes to my place in the middle of the night because his foster parents have thrown him out. Poverty is the relentless daily attrition of contending with the most primitive issues of human existence: food and cleanliness and clothes and heat and housing and rest. Poverty is an awful vulnerability.
~William Stringfellow,”Christianity, Poverty, and the Practice of the Law.” Harvard Law School Bulletin 10(6) 87
Politics in America just get more and more insane. Apparently former Governor of Illinois, and insane hair maister, Rod Blagojevech (whose first name is actually Milorad, by the way) has landed a six-figure book deal to “tell his story.” Fantastic. If a corrupt politician can generate enough press in this country they get million dollar minimum book deal. If by some miracle, some folks don’t remember, the FBI recording him saying–on his office phone–that he would sell Barack Obama’s former senate seat to the highest bidder.
Could it be, perhaps, that this once utterly unknown dirtbag is smarter than all of us, that he’s some sort of evil genius rather than an evil moron? After all, the chap is set for life now, even if he does go to jail for a while or something. I think I need a new category for posts like this entitled ‘What the hell?’
In his book, The Church Inside Out, J.C. Hoekendijk makes some fascinating missiological and ecclesiological observations about the nature and mission of the church in the Western world. He concludes his chapter, “Apostolate: Communicating with Fellow Travelers” with the following four points (p. 65-66):
1. The proclamation to the outside can never be a rehash of the sermon. Structurally this is something entirely different from a sermon. To state this more strongly: it is an illusion to suppose that the communication of the gospel will be possible only through the word. …
2. Apologetics, which moves on the level of ideology, can virtually never serve the communication of the gospel, because on this level the gospel will be misunderstood as another ideology. … I believe that it would mean a liberation, if for once, this was taken very seriously. …
3. In the present situation in Western Europe, communication of the gospel will have to be seen primarily as a demonstration of our willingness to really enter into the living situation of the other. …
4. This demonstration cannot take place as long as the church fearfully protects its members in its own world and wants to keep them there alone. Apostolate in our situation presupposes that ecclesiastically one is willing to enter no-man’s land.
Some provocative points to my reading, especially the stuff about apologetics as ideology.