The Poor — Smelly, Overweight, and With Bad Teeth — You’ll Always Have With You

I’ll do the young writer of this comment, cut and pasted from Blog and Mablog, a favor and not use his name. His blithe dismissal of the “relative poor” he saw is either a product of youthful arrogance, or a product of the steady diet of Doug Wilson’s profundity regarding poverty, for which he assumes the Proverbs about being lazy to be sufficient analysis:

“In regards to the last comment on absolute/relative poverty… In 2006 and 2007 I door-knocked probably over 10,000 homes in Spokane/CdA, Dallas Metroplex, and Sacramento. From the very rich (10,000 sq-ft homes, 500k+ salaries) to the very poor. And… in my experience… the very poor actually are just the very grungy – they have tons of stuff. Often, their houses are fuller than the very rich. I came across a handful who might fit (the) bill… at least in appearances. But they tended to have teeth rotted away from meth.

Most of the ‘poor’ neighborhoods were characterized by homes and yards piled with consumerism. And I do mean literally piled. That’s how you knew it was a ‘poor’ neighborhood – the last 5 years’ models of big-wheels were piled in yards, and inside the houses there were literal mounds of clothes unwashed, quick food piles in the kitchen, and several tvs.

On the other hand, the ‘middle class’ and particularly the ‘poor’ looked a lot more like they lived behind a local Walmart dumpster that kept tipping last years unsold goods down into their house, sprinkled with this year’s hottest items. The ‘poorer’ the neighborhood, the more each kids bedroom was a maze of stuff. Cheap toys, lots of them, with a gameboy/nintendo/Ps2/X-Box . . . nearly mandatory when their credit was bad. TVs are truly ubiquitous. And low-income housing people typically had tvs at least 35-40 inches, HD, etc. (Btw poorer neighborhoods were the best to sell in – they like monthly payments).

And, unfortunately, the ‘heavier’ these people were, the more their houses smelled of the great unwashed. Makes me wonder if that’s partly why they don’t always have jobs. Overall, the ‘poor’ among us have the most ‘stuff’… eat the most food, and I tend to think if we added up all their purchases for themselves, their kids, their homes – all those got-to-have items – it adds up to more in the end than the ‘wealthy’ spend on their consumer goods in the home (ignoring costs of automobiles, which is where the wealthy put their money).”

The GOP must love guys like this.

It looks like this particular “grasshopper” has learned well at the feet of his master, but God help us all if our theology of economic justice turns on our dismissiveness toward overweight people with bad teeth, big TVs, and bigger thighs. Let us hope that this young Covenant gentleman never aspires to a Cabinet position in the government for which Wilson, et al, hold such disdain. My remedy: Before coming to the Communion Table or digging in to his next Sabbath feast, our young Kirker should ask the Lord to sweep the filth of contempt and smugness from his relatively affluent, privileged heart.

Unfortunately, if he stays with Wilson and the Kirk as the Spirit does his work in him, it’ll be to an empty room when he testifies to it, and a very lonely life when he begins to live it.

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