(notes taken by Mallory Bingaman)
There is one dominant factor that plays a part in all things that are needed in Dallas: Poverty
Right now, there is a group of people called by their KING to make a difference in this area for the Kingdom.
89% of the world lives on less than $10 a day
99% lives on 32 per day in the US
Your socioeconomic class shapes the way you view the world. Try to open up your mind and think differently. Others in the world think differently than you! If you are middle class, you're in the top 1% of the entire world.
When I was 13, I was in and out of church, but always involved in camp. It was great. We had fun, got worked up and then everybody got saved! I got saved every year. All kidding aside, I loved camp. When I was 13, signing up for camp ended up taking us to a motel in inner city los angeles for a week. It was very eye opening. We almost had our room broken into by a drunken man and when we told the prostitutes kids at breakfast the next day, they weren't surprised. It was no big deal, because to them it was normal. It changed the way that I saw poverty, even at 13. I realized I just had a passion for poverty. What is Christ doing in all of us, no matter our status.
Biblical Understanding of Poverty
What would you do If your car breaks down?
Most of us would call AAA! simple as that. But if you're in generational poverty and your car doesn't start, you call someone that could maybe help. That person can't help that moment, but this person gives you a ride. In this, the transportation problem turns into a job problem, because you can't always rely on getting rides/catching the bus. living wage in dallas is 13.50 an hour. If you lose your job, it turns into not having money for housing; now you have a housing problem. Eventually, going back and forth of finding a job and couch surfing. You begin to stress about all the issues and problems you may have with friends or family because of this. It turns into a healthcare problem and then most turn to substance abuse. We as believers can go in and cut the webs entangling each compartment. We can help.
In poverty, if you have a car, you can use that as a commodity to get things you want in the neighborhood. It is a status symbol. With some, they say they don't need a car to get a job, but they need their teeth. It's tyranny of the moment. The present is the most important. You don't have time to think about tomorrow. In middle class, we have time to think about tomorrow, because today is taken care of and we are very future focused. Our way of seeing the world is very different.
Why should we care about this issue? "What you have done to the least of these you have done to me" that is LITERAL to him. He came to proclaim the good news to the poor. Christ came to the world from a teenage, unwed, mother. He traveled town to town with 12 men. (we would call that a gang today) He came and lived a poor man's life.
LUKE 4:18&19---if we are his followers shouldn't we be doing the same?
2 Corinthians 4:17-20---we are trying to offer a whole new life in CHRIST.
Jennifer Jeran (The Open Table), Markus Lloyd (Unite), Trey Hill, Joe Ader,
Q: What is the most practical way to help children in poverty?
A: engage relationships with the child, walk with them. The benefit is that these relationships will be mutually transforming.
Q: what is the most effective way middle class citizens can make an impact in our city?
A: any nonprofit can do food, clothing, etc. The unique thing about the church is that we have been called to make disciples. We can use those avenues to help them, but we can't let them see growth without relationship/discipleship. Meet someone in poverty and walk with them. EVEN if you get burned.
Q: What do you think the biggest way that the church is hurting the fight against poverty?
A: transactional love. You think you're doing them a service, but there is no relationship. You usually end up crushing their confidence and belief that they can help themselves.
Q: What is the most challenging place with middle class adults understanding people in poverty?
A: They don't always understand the rules that are in place to survive in those communities
Q: how do you find mental illness effects poverty?
A: constantly being rejected and seeing the things you get fall away, it does something to you mentally. You start to grab onto false things. the best thing you can do, as the church, is to be in relationship with them. You have to treat them like they're human, like any other person or friend. Try to understand them.
Q: What are your thoughts on "Poverty is a choice"?
A: in the US we say "you pull yourself up by your bootstraps" God told us after the fall that we would work and it would be more difficult. Because of the fall, sin can step in, you get lack of resources, you get
Q: what are the obstacles you see in low income neighborhoods that you see effect children getting a good education?
A: you live in a poor community, you have a poor school. This is not just a Dallas problem, this is a nation problem.
Q: in what ways does unchecked violence by the government effect poverty
A: it turns into the survival of the fittest. They say whoever is the biggest has the most power.
Q: What do we do with the homeless person asking for money right in front of us?
A: it depends on the situation and how the spirit is leading you. Sometimes they get asked and they help and provide. Sometimes they get asked and they have nothing to give, but give them the gospel. It really depends on the motivation of your heart rather than the person who is asking. Your motivation is what makes it.