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"The poor will always be with you"...so don't worry too much about them.


PaulS
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The words attributed to Jesus in John 12:8 are often provided as a reason for drawing a line above 'acceptable' poverty and for individual Christians to not do everything humanly possible to eradicate it.  It's not that I think we should all feel obliged to do everything possible to eradicate poverty, that's ones own choice, but I think as a representation of Jesus' words it is used as a cop-out for not caring enough for the poor as fully as Jesus seems to have preached.  Let's be honest, it's an uncomfortable thought for us comfortable westerners (and if you're sitting there using a computer or tablet at present you are more comfortable than the majority of individuals in the world) to think we should lower our living standards down so low just to help lift others up.  For example, I'd be pretty confident all of us could do more to alleviate somebody else's poverty if we really wanted to, but most of us draw the line somewhere to suit ourselves.  I think that's fair enough, but I also think it flies in the face of what Jesus, the ultimate non-material role model, was actually telling people.

What say others?

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Matthew 26
The Plot to Kill Jesus

26 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.”

Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him. But they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar among the people.”

Jesus Anointed at Bethany

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,[a] a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste?For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”

###

My interpretation is that one should not criticize the charity of others.

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On 11/9/2019 at 8:27 PM, Burl said:

My interpretation is that one should not criticize the charity of others.

But do you think Christianity in general uses "the poor will always be with you" as an excuse for not doing more?  If Christianity truly is about love, why don't so many committed Christians go to further extremes in helping their brothers and sisters who are so much worse off than them?  Why hold back from sharing what they have with those who are significantly worse off?  That doesn't seem to be the example Jesus set - at least how Christianity tends to portray it anyway.

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2 hours ago, PaulS said:

But do you think Christianity in general uses "the poor will always be with you" as an excuse for not doing more?  If Christianity truly is about love, why don't so many committed Christians go to further extremes in helping their brothers and sisters who are so much worse off than them?  Why hold back from sharing what they have with those who are significantly worse off?  That doesn't seem to be the example Jesus set - at least how Christianity tends to portray it anyway.

No, I don’t think that is ever used as an excuse and I never heard of Christians being dissuaded from charity except those people who hate being accosted by panhandlers.

Did that idea come from that abusive church you were raised in?

What I do see is a lot of Christians full of false pride who are too vain to accept help from others.  Really a shame.

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6 minutes ago, Burl said:

No, I don’t think that is ever used as an excuse and I never heard of Christians being dissuaded from charity except those people who hate being accosted by panhandlers.

Did that idea come from that abusive church you were raised in?

What I do see is a lot of Christians full of false pride who are too vain to accept help from others.  Really a shame.

My point isn't about charity per se Burl (most people will donate 'something' to charity along the way or even regularly - even non-Christians and most people don't like being accosted by panhandlers) but more about really doing absolutely everything humanly possible to help those who are a lot worse off than ourselves, which is what it seems to me Jesus was more about.  As an example, would Jesus be happier with Christians taking cruises and holidays or do you think he would prefer they stop a child starving to death?  Would Jesus encourage Christians to buy a brand new car (instead of maintaining an old, reliable one) instead of say donating that money to widows or orphans or prisoners?  It's hard for me to imagine the former when reading the NT or discussing Christianity in general, and I have heard other Christians justify their wealth (even moderate wealth) and not doing more by saying 'the poor will always be with you'.

I'm astounded you have never experienced "the poor will always be with you" as a reason provided by conservative Christianity for not doing more (if you Google a little, you will see plenty of evidence of such).  It was an understanding I experienced in the Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, and the Churches of Christ (Australia).  And I read it again in an article the other day which made me think of posting this thread.

I understand your little dig about my Christian upbringing, but I don't think my church was any more abusive than any other really (what Church did you grow up in?).  Like most Churches, the people who believe in them think they are right and that most others have got the wrong end of the stick, so abuse is really more about misunderstanding and well-intention-ed indoctrination.

But back to my main point - Christians very often seem to draw a line under their willingness to sacrifice their own lifestyle to help others.  There is definitely a point for most (is there for you?) where a line in the sand gets drawn and it is usually well before their own life is at threat.  Why is this so if Christianity is really only about love?

 

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

My point isn't about charity per se Burl (most people will donate 'something' to charity along the way or even regularly - even non-Christians and most people don't like being accosted by panhandlers) but more about really doing absolutely everything humanly possible to help those who are a lot worse off than ourselves, which is what it seems to me Jesus was more about.  As an example, would Jesus be happier with Christians taking cruises and holidays or do you think he would prefer they stop a child starving to death?  Would Jesus encourage Christians to buy a brand new car (instead of maintaining an old, reliable one) instead of say donating that money to widows or orphans or prisoners?  It's hard for me to imagine the former when reading the NT or discussing Christianity in general, and I have heard other Christians justify their wealth (even moderate wealth) and not doing more by saying 'the poor will always be with you'.

I'm astounded you have never experienced "the poor will always be with you" as a reason provided by conservative Christianity for not doing more (if you Google a little, you will see plenty of evidence of such).  It was an understanding I experienced in the Baptist Church, the Salvation Army, and the Churches of Christ (Australia).  And I read it again in an article the other day which made me think of posting this thread.

I understand your little dig about my Christian upbringing, but I don't think my church was any more abusive than any other really (what Church did you grow up in?).  Like most Churches, the people who believe in them think they are right and that most others have got the wrong end of the stick, so abuse is really more about misunderstanding and well-intention-ed indoctrination.

But back to my main point - Christians very often seem to draw a line under their willingness to sacrifice their own lifestyle to help others.  There is definitely a point for most (is there for you?) where a line in the sand gets drawn and it is usually well before their own life is at threat.  Why is this so if Christianity is really only about love?

 

Ironic that you should write this on Remembrance Day.

People are flawed, and considerably less divine than Jesus.  Good Christians are always trying to be better, but sanctification is a life-long process.

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On 11/8/2019 at 9:25 PM, PaulS said:

The words attributed to Jesus in John 12:8 are often provided as a reason for drawing a line above 'acceptable' poverty

I don't believe I have ever heard that argument from Christians: not when I was growing up Catholic or all the years in Catholic schools thru grad school or all the years teaching in Catholic high schools. Actually, as a 'Church or school community' we always had food drives to assist the poor, for example at Thanksgiving time. Maybe it simply wasn't a Catholic thing??

The understanding was give what you can, when you can and it was up to the individual family to make that decision. I suspect the families with 15 kids (I kid you not 15) didn't have much left over. I never heard the 'poor will always be with us' as a reason or a rationale for not giving or consciously limiting one's charity.

 

 

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11 hours ago, Burl said:

Good Christians are always trying to be better, but sanctification is a life-long process.

So do you think it is a shortcoming of good Christians that they don't do enough to alleviate poverty?  Should they be doing more (i.e. everything humanly possibly) to be more like Jesus?  What Would Jesus Do?  That's if they genuinely believe in what Jesus stood for.

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7 hours ago, thormas said:

I don't believe I have ever heard that argument from Christians: not when I was growing up Catholic or all the years in Catholic schools thru grad school or all the years teaching in Catholic high schools. Actually, as a 'Church or school community' we always had food drives to assist the poor, for example at Thanksgiving time. Maybe it simply wasn't a Catholic thing??

The understanding was give what you can, when you can and it was up to the individual family to make that decision. I suspect the families with 15 kids (I kid you not 15) didn't have much left over. I never heard the 'poor will always be with us' as a reason or a rationale for not giving or consciously limiting one's charity.

Maybe it's an Australian thing then (although I see plenty of discussion about it when I Google).  I understand it is up to the individual - but that's my question - why do individuals who choose Jesus as their role model, not do absolutely everything in their power to help those less fortunate?  I don't understand how somebody who says they love Jesus and all he stood for and that he is the epitome of human beingness, can then turn around and spend money on material items whilst other people die because they can't afford to feed themselves.  Essentially, Christians in the western world live a glorious existence compared to many others in the world, but generally a line gets drawn (considerably pretty early on in my assessment) concerning just 'how much' assistance one is willing to provide.

Jesus, as an exemplar for living the best life as some would say, didn't seem to be at all materialistic or worried about his 401 (superannuation as it is called here in Australia) and according to the NT actually instructed others not to worry about money, yet Christian followers in the main just don't seem to be as genuinely carefree and non-materialistic as Jesus.  So I am asking, why?  Why do most Christians value their own comfort over and above other people's lives, if they truly follow Jesus?

Like I said in the intro, most people really could do a lot more, so as Christians, why don't they?  Of course this is going to come off as an attack on Christians, but Christianity after all is preaching "love one another".  What sort of love means allowing others to significantly suffer whilst another goes on holidays or buys a new car?  This is where the only response I have eventually gotten to has been "the poor will always be with you" (and of course the mandatory "we're only human" line).

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2 minutes ago, PaulS said:

So do you think it is a shortcoming of good Christians that they don't do enough to alleviate poverty?  Should they be doing more (i.e. everything humanly possibly) to be more like Jesus?  What Would Jesus Do?  That's if they genuinely believe in what Jesus stood for.

In my view, there is no "should they (Christians) be doing more". Helping the poor or those in poverty is not a task limited to a religion or single group of people.  People are doing what they are currently both willing and able to do. Some do more and some do less, each according to ones own convictions and unction given one. I personally do not believe giving all your money  will do away with poverty. I also do not believe it is governments job to do so. There is a myriad of factors that contribute to poverty and realizing that, i chose to do what i am able and willing to do joyfully without guilt or measuring it against the performance of others..

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26 minutes ago, PaulS said:

So do you think it is a shortcoming of good Christians that they don't do enough to alleviate poverty?  Should they be doing more (i.e. everything humanly possibly) to be more like Jesus?  What Would Jesus Do?  That's if they genuinely believe in what Jesus stood for.

It’s an individual matter.  

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2 minutes ago, JosephM said:

In my view, there is no "should they (Christians) be doing more". Helping the poor or those in poverty is not a task limited to a religion or single group of people.  People are doing what they are currently both willing and able to do. Some do more and some do less, each according to ones own convictions and unction given one. I personally do not believe giving all your money  will do away with poverty. I also do not believe it is governments job to do so. There is a myriad of factors that contribute to poverty and realizing that, i chose to do what i am able and willing to do joyfully without guilt or measuring it against the performance of others..

I agree that alleviating poverty and suffering doesn't have to be limited to certain groups (as I said in my intro), or that one should feel guilt about not doing enough (I certainly choose to live a certain way over and above others' misery) but Christianity does position itself in a front-line role when it says that Jesus is God's son, the savior of the world, and a role model for our lives - so why don't Christians really want to be more like Jesus and put everything on the line in order to help others?  Do they think that Jesus didn't want them to do everything humanely possible to help another and/or do they think that Jesus thought  it was a futile exercise and that the poor will always exist?  Is there another reason why most comfortable Christians draw a line when it comes to what they are prepared to sacrifice to help another?

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31 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Maybe it's an Australian thing then (although I see plenty of discussion about it when I Google).  I understand it is up to the individual - but that's my question - why do individuals who choose Jesus as their role model, not do absolutely everything in their power to help those less fortunate?  I don't understand how somebody who says they love Jesus and all he stood for and that he is the epitome of human beingness, can then turn around and spend money on material items whilst other people die because they can't afford to feed themselves.  Essentially, Christians in the western world live a glorious existence compared to many others in the world, but generally a line gets drawn (considerably pretty early on in my assessment) concerning just 'how much' assistance one is willing to provide.

Jesus, as an exemplar for living the best life as some would say, didn't seem to be at all materialistic or worried about his 401 (superannuation as it is called here in Australia) and according to the NT actually instructed others not to worry about money, yet Christian followers in the main just don't seem to be as genuinely carefree and non-materialistic as Jesus.  So I am asking, why?  Why do most Christians value their own comfort over and above other people's lives, if they truly follow Jesus?

Like I said in the intro, most people really could do a lot more, so as Christians, why don't they?  Of course this is going to come off as an attack on Christians, but Christianity after all is preaching "love one another".  What sort of love means allowing others to significantly suffer whilst another goes on holidays or buys a new car?  This is where the only response I have eventually gotten to has been "the poor will always be with you" (and of course the mandatory "we're only human" line).

I had a professor who once said that the difference between a celibate (thinking a priest or a monk) and the married person was that the former tried to be something for everyone while the latter tried to be everything for one (or a few) person. Now none of us took that as exact but it does make a point. Jesus was indeed for all that he encountered but he was neither married nor did he have children and seemingly he also lived, in part, on the contributions of others. However the married person with kids has that family as his/her main responsibility to provide shelter, food, medical care, education, clothes and on and on (and we Catholics recognize marriage is a sacrament 'blessed' by God. 

How can one 'do everything' as a married person, working and caring fro a family (and who knows the type of job one holds and what it pays - benefits)? My experience is I have never heard the excuse you mentioned and that people do what they can, when they can. Could more be done? Perhaps, depends on the individual and his/her circumstances.

Not all western Christians live a glorious existence and some/many, like many others in today's(and tomorrow's) world live paycheck to paycheck. And what do we consider material items: food, blankets, clothes, a car, a house or apartment, some toys, books? 

Again, I never heard of the line drawn - not my experience.

I guess we also have to recognize that Jesus literally thought the Kingdom was dawning Now and the only thing to do was repent and be ready - everything else, everything was secondary or didn't even make the cut. I would question a strict comparison as not allowing for this reality. for his reality.

Edited by thormas
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59 minutes ago, PaulS said:

So as an individual and a follower of Jesus, what do you think?  Where and why do you draw the line concerning helping others?

I just do the best I can.  
 

But tell me more about this line of yours.

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45 minutes ago, thormas said:

I had a professor who once said that the difference between a celibate (thinking a priest or a monk) and the married person was that the former tried to be something for everyone while the latter tried to be everything for one (or a few) person. Now none of us took that as exact but it does make a point. Jesus was indeed for all that he encountered but he was neither married nor did he have children and seemingly he also lived, in part, on the contributions of others. However the married person with kids has that family as his/her main responsibility to provide shelter, food, medical care, education, clothes and on and on (and we Catholics recognize marriage is a sacrament 'blessed' by God. 

So Jesus wasn't fully human because he didn't have the marriage/kids experience and din't understand what that required of a person?  His representation of being fully human was only for a single, non-parent?

45 minutes ago, thormas said:

How can one 'do everything' as a married person, working and caring fro a family (and who knows the type of job one holds and what it pays - benefits)? My experience is I have never heard the excuse you mentioned and that people do what they can, when they can. Could more be done? Perhaps, depends on the individual and his/her circumstances.

Of course what more one can do is personal, but I'm sure you would agree that by and large, most of us could go without a lot of stuff if we genuinely thought that loving others was the most important thing in our lives to do (or the second most important thing after loving God).  Clearly we don't, and so we draw a line in the sand about what we are prepared to do. 

45 minutes ago, thormas said:

And what do we consider material items: food, blankets, clothes, a car, a house or apartment, some toys, books? 

Anything over and above what is essentially required to survive.  I'm guessing Jesus would want a rug and clothes, but do you think he would put a car, a house, an apartment, toys or books ahead of feeding or caring for another that doesn't have the rug or clothes?

45 minutes ago, thormas said:

Again, I never heard of the line drawn - not my experience.

You have your own line - where that is drawn I don't know, but I'm sure if you think about it, you draw the line somewhere to determine what you will and what you will not do to help others less fortunate.  Do you spend any money on luxuries (e.g. wine, candy, comfortable chairs, etc) whilst other people in the world are starving to death?  Of course you do (as do I).  So clearly we both draw a line somewhere along the way.

45 minutes ago, thormas said:

I guess we also have to recognize that Jesus literally thought the Kingdom was dawning Now and the only thing to do was repent and be ready - everything else, everything was secondary or didn't even make the cut. I would question a strict comparison as not allowing for this reality. for his reality.

As Progressive Christians we can comfortably say that Jesus got things wrong, I agree.  If Jesus was an apocalyptic believer, he was mistaken.  That doesn't mean his ideals weren't worthy or that we can't take inspiration from what we understand of him.  But for Christians that believe Jesus was THE Son of God, is THE Messiah, or even people like yourself that claim that Jesus was an example of what it means to be fully human - how do those people justify not being more like Jesus and doing everything they can to help others and love one another as Jesus loved them, apparently.  Again, I am not blaming but trying to understand why Christianity says one thing but largely does another when it comes to self sacrifice and caring for the less fortunate in life.  My experience (but not yours or Burl's) has been that Christianity justifies the existence of the poor as a reason for not doing everything possible to help them when many can actually do more.  My question is why do they do that?

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2 minutes ago, Burl said:

I just do the best I can.  

But tell me more about this line of yours.

You say you do the best you can, but do you really?  I know I don't, and that's because I want to maintain a certain quality of life (as I clearly stated in my intro).  Do you maintain a higher quality of life than you actually need to when compared to people that have to drink out of the dirt and/or eat insects to survive?  If so, I am simply asking why you choose to do that IF you claim to worship Jesus and all he stood for.  I am interested in your reasoning - that is why I am asking.  Don't feel attacked - you're no orphan on the  issue.

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37 minutes ago, PaulS said:

So Jesus wasn't fully human because he didn't have the marriage/kids experience and din't understand what that required of a person?  His representation of being fully human was only for a single, non-parent?

 

Where do you get this stuff?  Where did I ever refer to this?  Don't read into it, read what is written. All I was doing was pointing out a difference - not making a value judgement on either one's humanness.

37 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Of course what more one can do is personal, but I'm sure you would agree that by and large, most of us could go without a lot of stuff if we genuinely thought that loving others was the most important thing in our lives to do (or the second most important thing after loving God).  Clearly we don't, and so we draw a line in the sand about what we are prepared to do.

I can speculate and say that about some but certainly not about most people. I suspect many do believe and live the 2 great commandments but 'loving others' includes the main obligation of family, kids. As you said "what more one can do is personal' and many times it is impenetrable from the outside what that more could be. 

37 minutes ago, PaulS said:

Of course what more one can do is personal, but I'm sure you would agree that by and large, most of us could go without a lot of stuff if we genuinely thought that loving others was the most important thing in our lives to do (or the second most important thing after loving God).  Clearly we don't, and so we draw a line in the sand about what we are prepared to do.

Assuming you have kids or you know other who do, the parent's responsibility is to provide not only what is required to survive. I have no idea what a married with kids Jesus would do.

37 minutes ago, PaulS said:

You have your own line - where that is drawn I don't know, but I'm sure if you think about it, you draw the line somewhere to determine what you will and what you will not do to help others less fortunate.  Do you spend any money on luxuries (e.g. wine, candy, comfortable chairs, etc) whilst other people in the world are starving to death?  Of course you do (as do I).  So clearly we both draw a line somewhere along the way.

Sorry the line thing is yours. I have never thought in terms of a line and actually don't know anybody who has.

37 minutes ago, PaulS said:

As Progressive Christians we can comfortably say that Jesus got things wrong, I agree.  If Jesus was an apocalyptic believer, he was mistaken.  That doesn't mean his ideals weren't worthy or that we can't take inspiration from what we understand of him.  But for Christians that believe Jesus was THE Son of God, is THE Messiah, or even people like yourself that claim that Jesus was an example of what it means to be fully human - how do those people justify not being more like Jesus and doing everything they can to help others and love one another as Jesus loved them, apparently.  Again, I am not blaming but trying to understand why Christianity says one thing but largely does another when it comes to self sacrifice and caring for the less fortunate in life.  My experience (but not yours or Burl's) has been that Christianity justifies the existence of the poor as a reason for not doing everything possible to help them when many can actually do more.  My question is why do they do that?

The point about his belief is that time was limited, the world was ending (so to speak) and the only thing to do was repent and prepare. 

You seem to assume that people are not trying to be 'like Jesus' and not loving others. You have no actual insights into what all these people do or do not do on a daily basis to live the Way. I think that many are doing much and I also acknowledge that it seems that many could do more. Why the latter?  I suspect for a number of reasons: religion is just one day of the week, they worked hard and have to protect their future, they want to leave something to the kids. they like enjoying the fruits of their labors, they never really understood in the first place. Then there ate the other reasons: they do live by weekly paycheck, they do what they can when they can, they are using whatever 'spare' resources they have on elderly parents or even raising a grandchild, they lost a job, they live pn hourly wages, and on and on. 

I've never heard someone trying to justify the poor but you are right that it is personal and we don't know that all are not doing everything possible for them, given their circumstances. 

What I'm saying in reference to your quote (above) is that I have never heard 'not helping the poor' justified by reference to that Jesus quote. 

 

Edited by thormas
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59 minutes ago, PaulS said:

You say you do the best you can, but do you really?  I know I don't, and that's because I want to maintain a certain quality of life (as I clearly stated in my intro).  Do you maintain a higher quality of life than you actually need to when compared to people that have to drink out of the dirt and/or eat insects to survive?  If so, I am simply asking why you choose to do that IF you claim to worship Jesus and all he stood for.  I am interested in your reasoning - that is why I am asking.  Don't feel attacked - you're no orphan on the  issue.

Just no formula answer for me.  I do try to avoid the charity industry though.

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9 hours ago, thormas said:
Where do you get this stuff?  Where did I ever refer to this?  Don't read into it, read what is written. All I was doing was pointing out a difference - not making a value judgement on either one's humanness.

Well, I call it conversation.  I was questioning it (see the question mark?) against some stuff that you had said before in another thread.  On other thread you had said (words to the effect) that Jesus was fully human and the exemplar of what it it is to be fully human.  As I did then, I struggle with that against the limited life experience of Jesus.  I thought those remarks tied in with what we are discussing here.  But don't address it if you don't want to as it is slightly off topic.

Quote
Sorry the line thing is yours. I have never thought in terms of a line and actually don't know anybody who has.

I am using the term 'drawing a line' as a common idiom used in the English language to propose that everybody, you included, has a point (physical, decisional, etc.) beyond which one will proceed no further.  You have indicated that you have a point somewhere on the scale because you take kids into account etc.  So clearly you have a personal point, or line that you draw, to say where something becomes 'too much' to give to others.  I think most reasonable people would understand that and have a point/line themselves.

Quote

You seem to assume that people are not trying to be 'like Jesus' and not loving others. You have no actual insights into what all these people do or do not do on a daily basis to live the Way. I think that many are doing much and I also acknowledge that it seems that many could do more. Why the latter?  I suspect for a number of reasons: religion is just one day of the week, they worked hard and have to protect their future, they want to leave something to the kids. they like enjoying the fruits of their labors, they never really understood in the first place. Then there ate the other reasons: they do live by weekly paycheck, they do what they can when they can, they are using whatever 'spare' resources they have on elderly parents or even raising a grandchild, they lost a job, they live pn hourly wages, and on and on. 

I've never heard someone trying to justify the poor but you are right that it is personal and we don't know that all are not doing everything possible for them, given their circumstances. 

No, I'm not assuming that people are not trying to be 'like Jesus' and not loving others, in fact, I am pretty sure that in their mind that is exactly what they are doing.  The experience I was speaking to demonstrated to me some ways in which people justify not doing more - i.e. the poor will always be with us, so we can only do our share.  What that share is becomes a personal matter but I can easily see it is not 'everything possible' which I find hard to reconcile against a Jesus that some say is/was the epitome of love.  It seems at odds to me that such people don't consider a lot of their luxuries in life as less important than helping a starving orphan for instance.  Sure, some can't afford to do more, but I suspect that most with an open mind would consider the vast majority of us to be living a life much beyond the bare necessities to survive and could afford, if we chose to, do more/pay more for those less fortunate.

Quote

What I'm saying in reference to your quote (above) is that I have never heard 'not helping the poor' justified by reference to that Jesus quote. 

Yes, you have already said that.  Got it.

 

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1 hour ago, Burl said:

Just no formula answer for me.  I do try to avoid the charity industry though.

I'm not asking for a formula, but rather trying to discuss with you and others how you justify/come to the point that you do, where you decide you have done enough.  And if it is relevant to you, I am also trying to discuss how that relates to a view of Jesus' unlimited love for others (as we are told by Christianity).

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7 hours ago, PaulS said:

Well, I call it conversation.  I was questioning it (see the question mark?) against some stuff that you had said before in another thread.  On other thread you had said (words to the effect) that Jesus was fully human and the exemplar of what it it is to be fully human.  As I did then, I struggle with that against the limited life experience of Jesus.  I thought those remarks tied in with what we are discussing here.  But don't address it if you don't want to as it is slightly off topic.

 

Conversation is fine but I did not contrast two major life choices to pit them against one another - I pointed out what is a profound difference between the two. I know and greatly admire people in both life choices. The question about being human was not even germane to my comment as nowhere did I suggest that. However, if human is what one does, i.e. love, then it should be apparent that a Jesus and a married person can both be exemplars of 'fully human.'

8 hours ago, PaulS said:

I am using the term 'drawing a line' as a common idiom used in the English language to propose that everybody, you included, has a point (physical, decisional, etc.) beyond which one will proceed no further.  You have indicated that you have a point somewhere on the scale because you take kids into account etc.  So clearly you have a personal point, or line that you draw, to say where something becomes 'too much' to give to others.  I think most reasonable people would understand that and have a point/line themselves.

You have tied the proverbial line to a statement made by Jesus and used an an excuse for not giving sufficiently to the poor. I, having never heard this excuse, have suggested other reasons why one might not give 'everything' that seem to be totally legitimate and not violations of the 2 great commandments.

8 hours ago, PaulS said:

I am using the term 'drawing a line' as a common idiom used in the English language to propose that everybody, you included, has a point (physical, decisional, etc.) beyond which one will proceed no further.  You have indicated that you have a point somewhere on the scale because you take kids into account etc.  So clearly you have a personal point, or line that you draw, to say where something becomes 'too much' to give to others.  I think most reasonable people would understand that and have a point/line themselves.

If one is not trying to be like Jesus then it follows that that is what is in their mind (or conversely they never even give it a thought).

I think life, even in the industrial west, has its responsibilities and burdens and many committed religious people do 'what they can, what they are able to do' given their 'station' in life and their family responsibilities. I don't think it is used as an excuse, it is the excuse or reason for their level of being able to help. I can understand your concern vis a vis wealthy people who appear to have a great deal and are major holiday or name-only Christians but It seems that the lower class and even the middle class are in an entirely different world. 

I question whether your comment about 'the vast majority of us' reflects the real lives of that majority. 

 

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12 hours ago, PaulS said:

I agree that alleviating poverty and suffering doesn't have to be limited to certain groups (as I said in my intro), or that one should feel guilt about not doing enough (I certainly choose to live a certain way over and above others' misery) but Christianity does position itself in a front-line role when it says that Jesus is God's son, the savior of the world, and a role model for our lives - so why don't Christians really want to be more like Jesus and put everything on the line in order to help others?  Do they think that Jesus didn't want them to do everything humanely possible to help another and/or do they think that Jesus thought  it was a futile exercise and that the poor will always exist?  Is there another reason why most comfortable Christians draw a line when it comes to what they are prepared to sacrifice to help another?

Everybody couldn't be like Jesus and live like Jesus. There had to be those to support him with food and lodginging and that needed to listen to his message. His message  to literally leave family and friends and follow him (live like him) wasn't to everyone. Only to a handful of chosen apostles. The soldiers came to him asking what they should do along with many others in different trades. He didn't say to stop doing what they were doing or to give all their money to the poor. That wasn't his message to them. To the soldiers It was to  not accuse falsely or extort money and be content with your wages and to tax collectors " don't collect anymore than you are required to" (Luke 3:13-14). 

The line you speak of that people (followers of Jesus) appear to draw,  in my view,  is each according to the grace that is given them. Reasons to me are just a cover-up of the reasoning mind.

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