We Are The Problem

Each and everyday 16,000 children will die of both starvation and basic medical needs. The number grows exponentially when you factor in adults. This is the reality of our world at this point. Most of these atrocities occur far from our pampered lives of coffee shops, and fantastic lunches [I’m looking at you Instagram users] so it’s quite easy to block out what is clearly hell on earth. I talk with people who “serve” the homeless in their respective communities and it got me wondering what [if anything] this does to help the situation.

First let me state that we have a very difficult time talking about Real oppression. We can poke fun at Paula Dean and so on, but Real oppression is something quite different. I see the reasoning behind this difficulty as our realization that WE are the structures that cause this oppression. So in my opinion, we feed the homeless to feel better about our lunches, laptops, vacations etc… In reality our need to help the Other is mostly very self-serving, insofar as it doesn’t solve the problem at hand, it only allows us to continue to live inside of our structures and help us sleep.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to starve the homeless, or to distance yourself from these issues. I am saying the exact opposite actually. We must face ourselves as the “cause” and then and only then can we begin to exam the role we as a society play in this problem.

Peter Rollins had a great analogy about Batman in regards to the issue at hand. Bruce Wayne owns Wayne Industries, a clear capitalistic corp that we can safely assume creates much of the crime/oppression that Batman fights. So no matter how many villains he defeats there will always be another to take its place. So in reality, we are we feeding the Other and then starving them later.

Let me say this again, I see nothing wrong with serving your fellow man. But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking this will solve the problem. It’s a mere bandaid that is simpler and cheaper then the Real fix. As a Christian I see the apocalyptic message of Jesus being turned into fluff and this truly angers me. The fluff allows us to be patient while waiting for some nirvana in the sky. The message Jesus spoke of was extreme rupturing of the structures that shape and skew our ideologies. For Jesus that was the Imperialistic Roman Empire, for us it’s much of the same.

  1. When we take the time to really face, acknowledge, and own the ways we have contributed to the problems, how much more will we be able to be of service in helping to solve them. It’s not an us/them scenario. It’s a global “we”. When we see ourselves as peers (brothers/sisters) with those we seek to “help”, it drastically changes the motivation and the strategy and the outcomes.

    • Michael Schertz said:

      By acknowledging our part in the decay of society we can confront the real issue. We shouldn’t desire to create more saints, but rather desire a world where we don’t need saints. The same can be said for soup kitchens / mission trips. The issue of, “WHY DO WE NEED THIS” is of the utmost importance. The prob is by asking that question we have to look at ourselves & that’s very difficult.

      As far as “a collective WE” goes, as white privileged Americans we must face that there is “the Other.” As of now, they’re not your equals in any facet of society’s structure. To think otherwise is merely to avoid facing once again, ourselves as the cause of this oppression.

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