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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Room for Reform

Tonight I watched a video that explored the contrast between wealth and poverty: The One Percent.  “In this eye-opening documentary, filmmaker Jamie Johnson examines the gap that exists between America's poor and the 1 percent of the population that controls half the country's wealth” (Netflix). The Director was Jamie Johnson (an heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune). The poverty-wealth conundrum has no simple answer, or it would have been solved long ago.  I suppose that if one could snap one’s finger and make everyone wealthy that’s something most of us would be willing to do.  The creation and distribution of wealth is an emotional subject, and where one stands on the issues raised depends to a great extent on where one sits.  I keep thinking of my father who as a Methodist minister encountered unhappy situations that had no simple answers.  Some members were in poverty, some were in chronic ill health.  Growing up in this environment ingrained in me the lesson of the importance of atmosphere or tone.  That is, though there were no simple answers, a culture of love, brotherhood, equality, and compassion prevailed.  One may ask, “But what good is that if it provides no ready solutions.”  The answer is that it provides a climate where coping mechanisms can be established in the short term and when the time is right for new human insight and perception a facilitating atmosphere prevails to bring solutions to fruition.  I feel that as long as “God Bless America” is asked with a spirit of brotherhood and empathy then eventually God in his time will reveal a light that will bring a solution to poverty.  When the time is right, this could occur quite rapidly.  Certainly without this foundation, no progress is possible.  Class warfare is a dead-end.  Self-righteousness on the part of anyone is a dead-end.  Poverty at any time in any place makes for compelling conditions especially when children and the aged are affected.  But with a prayerful attitude a climate of insight can be cultivated providing avenues for immediate action and hope for more complete actions in the future.  The precondition for any solutions is essentially spiritual.

For it does make a difference how I'm treated and the faces I meet,
And the sense of a purpose etched from the beginning of history,
A Promised Land, a place where people council in prayer,
To do better than exist and just get by,
But to trust and triumph in a Divine Will.

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