Poverty :: Paradigm Shifter

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied...but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.

~ John Berger
From The Hole in our Gospel:
"I don't like the word poverty. It is one of those loaded words that carries with it a great deal of baggage and stigma. It sounds like a disease or a bad character trait that some people have and others don't. It's also a word that divides the world into 2 unequal groups, the poor and the rest of us, as though somehow we are different. Each of us brings different associations to the word poverty based on our past understandings and misunderstandings. In America, which has prided itself as being the "land of opportunity," it is not uncommon for us to make value judgments about those who are poor. If they are poor in America, we reason, it must be for a reason..."

A reason like laziness, stupidity, corruption, they don't work hard, ineffectiveness, or some sort of bad decision. So consider this to crash your paradigm...

Bill Clinton on Poverty:
"I want you to imagine what would have happened in your lives if there had been no connection whatsoever between how hard you worked and the results you got, because that is exactly the situation faced by more than one billion people who live on less than one dollar a day. The connection between how hard they work and the result they will get has been broken."

This removes all kinds of judgment in me and challenges me to be an agent of justice and equality for those who don't have a voice. We have much to be grateful for, and much will be required.