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More Stringfellow on Poverty

There is a boy in the neighbourhood… whom I have defended in some of his troubles with the law. He used to stop in often on Saturday mornings to shave and wash up, after having spent the week on the streets. He has been addicted for a long time. His father threw him out three years ago . . . He has contrived so many stories to induce clergy and social workers to give him money to support his habit that he is no longer believed when he asks for help . . . He is dirty, ignorant, arrogant, dishonest, unemployable, broken, unreliable, ugly, rejected, alone. And he knows it. He knows that at last he has nothing to commend himself to another human being. He has nothing to offer. There is nothing about him that permits the love of another person for him. He is unlovable. Yet it is exactly in his own confession that he does not deserve the love of another that he represents all the rest of us. For none of us is different from him in this regard. We are all unlovable. More than that, the action of this boy’s life points beyond itself, it points to the gospel, to God who loves us though we hate Him, who loves us though we do not please Him, who loves us not for our sake but for His own sake, who loves us freely, who accepts us through we have nothing acceptable to offer Him. Hidden in the obnoxious existence of this boy is the scandalous secret of the Word of God.

~William Stringfellow, My People is the Enemy: An Autobiographical Polemic, 97-98

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  1. Stringfellow on poverty « Torn Notebook on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 9:51 am

    [...] tip: Inhabitatio Dei, of course. Posted by Wei Hsien Filed in [...]

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