a story about a story

April 23, 2009

I went to a conference being held at a church called the Meeting House thirty minutes from Toronto. The conference was called “The Evolving Church Amidst the Powers.” It attempted to address the fact that we are all caught up in an ongoing struggle between God’s growing Kingdom and the defeated (but still dangerous) powers of darkness. Read the rest of this entry »

beg for help

April 21, 2009

Today I was listening to the Brian Lehrer show, and heard a brief, throwaway comment that seemed to me to be terribly revealing.

Food stamps were the topic. For his last question, Lehrer asked Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, “Is one of the biggest hurdles… this stigma that won’t allow somebody to even allow themself to get on food stamps?”

Berg said, “Absolutely. New Yorkers are more willing to beg for help from their neighbors than to get help from their rich Uncle Sam, and that is absolutely the reverse of how it should be.”

I’m not trying to bust on Berg, who was told. “You’ve only got 20 seconds!” – it would be shocking if I could come up with anything intelligent to say about anything in 20 seconds – but it’s precisely the offhandedness of the comment that makes me marvel. How can it be that clear to him that a government safety net is not merely necessary (something I would not dispute) but preferable? I would just like to ask him: is it really better to rely on the government rather than your neighbors?