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Things that are on my mind today


Last night I saw Mist, the new Stephen King movie. It was ok. The plot narrowed in on a few key themes that were repeated throughout the movie- regret, guilt, death, fear, and base instincts of mankind. The movie ends with a sense of hopelessness and regret. I think there were also some subtle digs against the current White House administration and the war in Iraq but that could just be my own bias talking. He also picked on religion as well. Overall the story kept me riveted and the movie was fear inspiring without being too gruesome (still not safe for the little kids of course).

One of the things on my mind today is the famous expression "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger". This is a quote of Friedrich Nietzsche. Do you think this sentiment is actually true? Do you think there is scriptural support for such an assertion or is it a case where man's accepted wisdom is off kilter from scriptural realities?

Another thing on my mind is an article I read in the Washington Post yesterday. It was written by a powerful man who chartered a large food bank. His assertion was that by feeding the poor, private charities are doing more harm than good to society. Instead of investing time and money into the never-ending problem of daily hunger among the poor, advocates should instead be channeling that money and effort 100% into harassing and lobbying the federal government for social reforms such as minimum wage increases, education system improvements and universal healthcare which (the author believes) will end poverty and therefore hunger permanently. He goes on to say that the band-aid treatment of actually helping the poor meet their daily needs for sustenance masks the true depth of the problem because we don't see people actually starving. If we *did* see people actually starving then as a nation we would be outraged and the federal government would be forced to act.

I have so many problems with his point of view it is hard to know where to begin. First, there is the faulty assumption that the federal government (or any man-made entity) can eliminate poverty. That completely unbiblical and history demonstrates it to be a fallacy as well. Even with full daily handouts there will be some who are unable or unwilling to manage resources properly and they will drop right back into poverty, spending every cent of income before it can be counted. Second, letting your own countrymen starve to prove a point- even an important political point-is unethical. Third, the preference for federal govt. intervention over private intervention is irrational. It's one thing to argue we must have federal social programs to step in when private charity cannot finish the job alone. Its another thing entirely to champion federal charity at the expense of private charity.  Espousing that viewpoint leads the community to speculate as to your motives. If its *really* about charity and helping others than so long as people are being helped what is it to you whether it is private charities helping people instead of the federal government? Unless of course you have some other motivations for wanting the federal government to step in. Perhaps you simultaneously want to punish or control the wealthy?


Unknown said…
ok, I entirely believe that whatever doesnt kill you makes you stronger. On a normal day to day level I do. Money being tight makes your faith stronger in God that He will supply all your needs. Having a jerk for a boss gives you patience. God is trying to teach us something always, and sometimes it hurts a bit.

However, ask the women in arab countries who are forced to have thier genitals mutilated made them a stronger person. Ask a child who is abused constantly if its making them stronger. Things like this, horrific, horrible, detestible things that are done to people dont make them stronger, it makes them HARDER. They harden themseves against everyone and everything in order to survive. They bury thier feelings out of the need for self preservation. its hard for anyone to actually get close to them because of the walls they have put up. It makes you weaker. I know, I have been there.

Strength is being able to feel fear but not be overcome by it. To feel sadness but not let it rule your life. To know that God will work it all out, you just have to be patient. you know, because you have seen it happen.

the person who has been through horrific things just doesnt feel. there is no strength in that. The outward presentation of both of these people may be the same, but if you look deep in thier eyes, you see the difference. The strong person has peace and joy in the face of what is happening. The other person is just hollow. blank.

my goodness I hope this makes sense.
Unknown said…
i meant that to say i DONT entirely believe.... ooops
30something said…
I can barely watch commercials for 'The Mist' - scary movies and me don't go together. And yet, I'm intrigued by the premise of the movie...
Anonymous said…
I do firmly believe that what doesn't kill you does make you stronger. Even in situations where the most unbelievable terrible things have happened, people have choices on how to go beyond that point of pain. I don't want to minimalize it in anyway, but, you can choose to be a victim and be swallowed by hatred, sorrow, embarrassment; or you can choose to not let the situation define you. I also believe that God is going to test you in areas where you are weakest. In these areas where you struggle is the area where you need to use God's strength to adjust what you do and how you think. If you are not changing or in a state of flux, you are either in denial over ways that God is trying to move you - or you are getting ready to move into a period of change. As for the other guy - he's nuts - learning a lesson on the backs of others is just plain not nice. I'd argue that anyone who has a straight forward answer to poverty has not spent any time with people who are poor. If they did, they would realize that poverty is a complex beast that will not be solve by cookie cutter politics. I do believe poor people could benefit more in the long run from a hand up rather than a hand out but in the meantime, we need to keep them clothed and fed.

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