Friday, December 18, 2015
What Being Poor in the "Christian" churches is really like
This one is going be written in kind of a personal tone, it's to tell you what I have gone through. In this one I do expose some vulnerability in that some sin struggles came with what I faced. I still face some of those struggles today. In some odd ways, I realize the ability to even do this blog came out of my sufferings and "outcast" position in American society.
I hope more understand the message I am trying to convey. I am not saying every church is bad to the poor or has these attitudes, but I do think most [in America] at least are treating the poor in the way I was. There are good Christians who treat the poor with real charity out there too but there are bad attitudes out there growing.
You see those looks of pity. The shakes of the head, some roll their eyes. Others seem embarrassed of you such as when your husband drives your 12-13 year old van up to the front of the church with it's rust spots and broken windshield to drop you and your walker off at the door before parking. You are dressed simply but very humbly. Their looks made you turn away in shame too long. Sometimes you wondered why can't I be one of those other people with their prosperous large families and nice homes, and close knit family and friends? Then you worry about the sin of "envy". You worry God would be angry at you. You repent of this sin but then the feelings sneak back.
At the same time you wonder why has the 9 years of struggle lasted since your husband lost his last job? You moved to this wealthier community leaving a small town you never wanted to leave, so he could move to that job after an economic lay-off from another. Your household never recovered from two men behind desks deciding to destroy your economic life. There's a certain age where the age discrimination begins. He was thrown out the door the day you went on the insurance with all your medical needs even though he had a good review the very month before. He has caretaking responsibilities for you, his own health has declined over the years. You know his health declines have affected the outcomes too. He works at home and works hard but it's piece meal work. People in his field used to be middle class. Not anymore.
The preacher that particular day preaches, that "God blesses those who obeys Him". Does that mean in this world and not just in the next? You have thoughts like "Why isn't God blessing me?" I have no family outside my husband, no money and my health is long ago gone. You tell yourself be content in the Lord, there is food and shelter and medicine for you. You have gone without all those things in the past and take nothing for granted. Verses from the book of Job, and Psalms that warn the wicked will prosper in this world give you solace, but the troubling feelings still burble under the surface and those around you make them WORSE.
You get the feeling, you are not accepted. You are not loved, you are merely tolerated. One nice lady talks to you but you are in the church for a year and no one else moves beyond the "weather" and "hello". They hold social events they forget to "invite" you too and claim are only for those 55 and over even though you are in spitting distance of the age cut-off. One can be rejected by people who keep smiling at you. You feel "JUDGED" in all the bad ways that word can convey.
The church does nothing for the poor, you notice no poor people there attend. You both are it. You don't fit in. Even in your old rural church when you were a new Christian, they'd help the poor in the church there but you were always an "outsider" when the ladies took their two annual trips and retreats where the hotel and cost of the trip alone was $100. This place however doesn't help the poor not within. There's never any shared meals or bible studies. Even the liberals in the UU used to offer you a donut and a cup of coffee. This is a church in a long line of other visited ones, all with too many false teachings. This one because it uses the KJV and is not ecumenical, you want to give it a chance, but they never give you a chance.
The only gatherings in the church are for wedding dinners, for one family that almost equals the Duggars in population, whose children automatically marry by age 21 into just as secure financial households and a present is expected. Rarely a gift is given to those who ask, but it seems not encouraged. The rest of the people in this IFB are all married and with children. There isn't one person under the age of 21 in the entire church who is single, they are all homeowners. Not one is child-less or unemployed. Not one has been divorced, not one has grown up outside the church which you find odd. Hasn't anyone else converted in as an adult? Why don't "conservative evangelical" churches have any single or child-less people? Did they chase them all out?
The churches I have visited and attended seem all full of the same demographic. Not outsiders, not people who have faced hardships but people who all have "nice families" and "proper" lives whose lives have rarely deviated from a certain formula. No one on the fringes dare apply. Any problems if they do exist are to be hidden. Prayer sessions are odd, I learn quick admitting any weaknesses is a bad idea. "Saving face" matters the most. It's being lonely in a crowd. I am not sure what to think but it seems in poorer rural areas, conversation is more open, here it's far more stilted. I never adapted to this culture here.
The pastor preaches, "Those who will not work, will not eat". This is always tied to complaints about the poor who supposedly all according to Fox news want to use and abuse the system. Your husband cringes in the pew, he knows he is looked down on for not making much money. It's the last thing he wants to hear. He's going to church to begin with out of love and support for you.
Then the demands for tithing begin. Where is the 10 percent of income supposed to come from? We barely can afford the food we buy and rent. I never had it. I used to feel guilty in the old church for never paying a tithe, only a little dibble and dab here and there, but of course I learned that tithing is a false teaching. I find myself thinking, "Why do we have to hand this guy money to live at a upper middle class level while we struggle to keep our car running and food on the table?" My medical needs mandate that a certain lifestyle is kept too. I can't return health wise to the rented rooms in boarding houses of my youth and hiking to the bus.
The pastor who has a new huge shiny truck parked outside, believes in the Republican system and has adapted the attitude like many other IFB pastors, that the poor are "lazy" and their immorality has earned them forever poverty. Even the last nice pastor, was Republican to the hilt, but back then it didn't affect me so much though I warned him about what George Bush was really about. We were both young and expected life to keep improving. I was sick but expected to get better. This pastor's opinion of the poor seemed to be that God is not blessing them because they are wicked. He rants against welfare. He rants about the poor who are burdens on the system. You think, "What world do these people live in?" "It's not my world." Later he praises war like war was a fun time at camp for all involved. Every IFB church I've ever been in has that false patriotism married to a love of war at some level. It now makes me puke.
You get the feeling that even though this latest church does not teach the prosperity gospel, that it has infused into the atmosphere anyhow. Someone like yourself who has had too many "bad breaks", "bad health" must be wicked. A spiritual abuser enters your life too, who seems to share beliefs with you about the apostasy of the churches from online and is new world order aware. She tells you that you are "cursed" though you protest at times and you do not have God's favor and that you are facing immense health troubles and other poverty because of this. You think she is a Christian friend who "cares" even though some of her beliefs you don't agree with, but you are wrong. She has a large family and is more financially secure.
You find out you have an extremely rare medical condition that took years for the doctors to figure out. A nurse begs you to go to Mayo Clinic only two months before diagnosis. The disorder is not curable only treatable. For years this person tells you, your health problems are spiritual and "your fault". You are promised God's blessings and miracles, she grows impatient with you as your health declines. She sees her "spiritual work" as ending in failure. Still others give out the attitude "Why isn't God answering your prayers"? If I believed in the "best life" now stuff I warned about on this blog for years my faith would have been nuked from orbit. They definitely all believe it. The message is "You will never be good enough."
In the "new" community that is far more affluent then your last finding other "church" ladies for friends, while some are nice and sincere, some surround you like wolves. They want to "fix" you. They know you are doing something "wrong" too. Everything is about "correction". They speak to you like a child. The few that see your home judge it's meager belongings. They seem to gossip about others, that one is a "loser", that other "hoards", "so and so can't keep a job to save his life". The busy-bodies elect themselves as judge and jury. They never admit any vulnerabilities.
Most come from the Baby-Boomer generation, your kind Silent Generation older friends from a rural community have died off. For much of the "me" generation, good jobs and suburban homes came easily to them. They judge you by their easy roads in life, knowing you are failed, bad and wrong somehow. Some decide it is their job to "fix" you. No one offers real help. They make a long list of "shoulds", which all take money to get done. They are clueless. "Christianity" to them is "conformity" and living a "proper" life and your "improper" life offends them.
"Well if only you told your husband to get a good job, he would". "You must not be trying hard enough!" One or two tell me I should divorce, because he is such a terrible provider and that I "could do better". He is a faithful husband and there's no biblical reasons for divorce, it's all about money to them. They wear me out. My own family had rejected me for poverty too and our religious division came as well. The voices join in a cacophony of rejection in my head.
You meet other poor people who told you in your last rural community, they stopped having anything to do with churches except to show up at a food pantry once in a while. Others here avoid churches like the plague except to show up for charity. They know they can't afford the place. This all hits home. The last church holds a dinner, they expect 25 dollars for two people. We don't have it.
What did Jesus say about the poor?
Luke 14:12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
You find this book for 10 cents at a thrift store and decide to read it:
I am one of the "hard-living" people the book discusses, but the prejudices are rife. He sees poor people as all uneducated and drinking their way through life. Both I and my husband have college degrees and don't drink. The prejudices against the poor are extreme. My eyes opened, realizing how I was really seen in these churches I left and how my husband was seen too. With pity and disdain. I was still a human being in my old rural IFB, the first good church but I was not in the ones to come. I was seen as the "OTHER", and not even as a human being.
David Ramsey has been busy filling the head of the affluent "mainstream" Christians with hatred and judgment for the poor. He holds the same prejudices. His classes filled the churches here and in my other community. I have read his books where expendable income is already a given and jobs can be plucked off trees. You can see here his nasty attitudes for yourself.
20 Things The Rich Do Everyday
Most churches today defend the power system. Even most IFB churches serve the powerful with their false patriotism, war mongering, and betrayal of the poor. The power system can't afford for the truth to be told about poverty ANYWHERE or how the USA economy is being purposefully destroyed or that life in the entire world has been under the "prince of this earth" with many Satanic servants to do his bidding. They have become inadvertent slaves of the bankers and controllers of this world.
Many of the churches now also tell people poor people in America don't matter and only focus on the third world. Third world people have become almost defacto pets for globalist busy bodies who are actually helping to pave the way for megacorporations and globalists to take over. They brag of their righteous deeds and plaster the church walls with their pictures of their far away projects. Many church hallways now resemble travelogue museums of their pastor and youth groups going overseas to "help the poor". They'll ignore the people in shacks two miles away while taking their religious vacations instead. These places are always in warm locales, and never anywhere cold.
The church world is not a comfortable place for a person of lower means. Sure some get charity from the churches, I have, but we know as a "member" its a whole other story. To be honest out in the world, I am more wary of "Christians" when it comes to my own socioeconomic status then I am of unbelievers. That says something doesn't it? These issues are untouchable taboos, I can only dare to even talk about with most close of friends and anonymously on a blog.
However, I don't want anymore false pity or jaundiced eyes looking down on me with this air of superiority. I'm tired of people who think they are better then me. I don't want false do-gooders who want to look good to others either or to elevate themselves. This is the real world of the churches for the poor. I have an apartment and live very simply but have seen treatment of people a few notches down be even worse.
One part of the wicked done to people is they will be lied to. Many people who are not financially prospering now, are being called failures. My own relatives called us both failures for years. This is one way spiritual destruction can lay for many, as they submit to despair and bitterness. I've had my own intense spiritual battles in this way too.
I even heard one false pastor say that anyone who is poor in America is poor via their own fault. I commented to another commenter today. I and my husband faced this. I believe there are many true Christians now, who are in this position, who while we have love and faith in God, the world hates us for it and this has included the false church world which pushes the same wicked standards as the society we live in. Remember the wicked push their own version of MORALITY which is a corruption of God's and part of the "morality" is the picture perfect wealthier lives they expect all to conform to.
We all have to work on uprooting the lies they will tell us about ourselves and other people. The system wants to destroy us on every level. This includes punishing those with a conscience and love for God.
If you see poor people, make sure you see them how Jesus does, not Fox news, not the "Proper Christian" set. They are caused enough pain in this world. They don't want pity or correction or people looking down on them. They want to be treated like human beings. The false Babylonian churches have no love for the poor.
Do What Jesus Said About the Poor Not the Religious Political Right