Problems and Struggles

There have been floods, mudslides, and tornadoes in the Washington state area.  At church this morning, during the part of the service in which people share their joys and concerns for prayer, a lady was talking about her husband interacting with people at work who have lost their homes.  They are impatient and they do not know how exactly to move on, she said.  I’d be the same way if that happened to me.

During the sermon, the pastor was talking about a homeless lady he met this week.  She and her children live in a minivan.  She called the pastor and asked for $25 to fill up her minivan.  The pastor went to fill it up and noticed that she was continually smiling.  She said that she was smiling for herself and her children.  I have never been in that sort of situation, but I can identify.  I doubt that I myself would be able to be happy and to show happiness in that sort of situation, but I would be grateful if others tried to keep hope alive.  That would make the situation a little more bearable.

The pastor was talking about privilege and how he is tempted to take refuge in the privileges that come from his job and who he is (I presume he meant a white male).  I think that it is important for me to hear about people’s problems and struggles.  Of course, social privilege does not stop every problem—-floods, mudslides, tornadoes, disease.  Maybe it helps people cope with them a little better.  I recently got an e-mail from the pastor of the Presbyterian church that I attended in upstate New York.  Someone in the church there is raising money for a family whose home burned down.  They did not have insurance because, notwithstanding their hard work, they could not afford the premiums.

Hearing these sorts of stories should make me more sensitive to people’s needs.  I have helped some people through donations, and some people I have not helped because I have been busy.  I know that I cannot help everyone.  I should be willing to help at least someone.

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About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. I study the History of Biblical Interpretation at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio, as part of its Ph.D. program. I have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting.
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