Why you have to be poor to treat people like Jesus did

The title is everything if you want a well-trafficked blog post. Now my task is to explore whether this provocative statement is actually true. I spent last week reading a couple of Catholic writers offering a provocative definition of “poverty” as a positive state of character. So I thought this could be my contribution to the Despised Ones synchroblog this week on how to show genuine solidarity to marginalized people. I think that you have to become poor to live in true solidarity, which is what God decided to do to humanity by coming to Earth as the poorest man who has ever lived. Continue reading

Ministry with the poor and middle-class self-hate

My name is Morgan Guyton and I’m a recovering middle-class self-hater. I also love hanging out with poor people and I want to love it for the right reasons instead of using it to build a Pharisaic pedestal from which to judge my own kind. I just heard a presentation from Alan Rice on ministry with the poor at our Virginia Conference 5 Talent Academy that knocked me flat on my back. I went to the front of the room trembling afterwards and gave Alan my card saying I wanted one day to plant a “Bethany church” (a church led by the poor instead of doing ministry to the poor). This wasn’t just a spontaneous response to a bombshell speech but a dream that has been marinating for a decade. I wrote that I’ve worked with “urban youth” and I’m bilingual and I know how to rap (silly I know but it was in the heat of the moment). And yet the agonizing thing I realize is that God has gifted me to minister with “my own” people and He’s definitely not going to let me be a shepherd among poor people until I get over my white middle-class guilt and my need to be a hero. Continue reading