Monday, April 06, 2009

Where is the Church?

I read Andrew Sullivan's blog, The Daily Dish, well... daily. For the past month or two, he's been running posts called "The View from Your Recession," posts describing how his readers are dealing with economic issues right now. Most of them are pretty much what you might expect right now, though some are more positive than we would think. Few have been horrible; yes, losing one's job in the middle of this mess with no hope in sight is horrible, but not as horrible as Saturday's "The View From Your Recession":

A reader writes:

I work for the state child welfare agency for Missouri. We have been routinely asked if the economy has affected the amount of child abuse and child neglect hotline calls that are made or the number of kids coming into foster care. So far, it has not. We assume that because most of our clients are already soaking in poverty that the economic downturns don't affect them because they currently survive in that same circumstance.

This is no longer the case. Today, we had our first child enter foster care because the parent's unemployment ran out and the parent could no longer care for them. The economy is now affecting us.

And so I interrupt my normal pseudo-academic rants on stewardship to ask this question: Where is the Church?

I want you to put yourself in this parent's shoes for a moment. You are out of a job and looking for something, anything, that might allow you to support your family. Then one day, the unemployment checks run out, and you still have a child you have to support. What do you do? Where are all your friends and family to help you? If you had no money and no job in sight, could you give your child up to the state because you couldn't support that child?

I don't know if I could do that.

But (maybe) the more important question is this: where is the church? Where are the people called and commanded to be the hands and feet of Jesus, especially in the difficult times? Where are the people who should have been offering to help pay this family's bills, bringing them food, buying them groceries, and doing everything they could to make sure that this child didn't have to go to foster care. Where were they? Where are they?

Why are we, who claim to follow Christ, turning our eyes and ears away from those in need?

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