Jan
31
2011

Poverty: What’s So Bad About It? (Part 1)

Not many of our articles stirred up more controversy than this one. We think our point was very good. In general, quit complaining about being so poor; life with little can still be very blessed. Nearly 200 comments later, you’d think we condemned the poor to an eternity in purgatory. We still stand by the thesis, and we had two more parts to the first article to further galvanized (and upset) others.


Concordia College Tournament

Though “poor,” our children have ample opportunity. Cynthia and Lydia are pictured here at a tournament in Irvine, California. It was affordable primarily because we stayed in host housing. What’s so bad about that?

Being poor isn’t all peachy. A month ago we decided to move our business office home to save a big chunk off our monthly budget. We also “gleaned” some day-old bread from a pastor friend. We had to say no to a shuttle bus purchase that we would have liked to make, but we just couldn’t pull the big expense together. We travel to debate tournaments and prefer host housing over hotels, largely because of what we can (or can’t) afford.

But being poor isn’t anything to whine about, either. We don’t give these limitations much thought. We see them more as prods from God. They are just the way things roll here in our home: our home office has had its advantages, we’re eating great sandwiches with the bread, we suppose God has other plans for us than the bus conversion, and we get to meet people new people when we stay in their homes when traveling to tournaments.

Some think of poverty as a disease, or they fear it like a curse. Think again. What, exactly, is so bad about being poor? Are we starving? Nearly impossible to do in America. Are we miserable? We know rich miserable people. Are we without opportunity? We believe God has us right where He wants us.

Think deeper: there are good things that come about in poverty. It forces you to be creative in your financial distress, to pool resources with others in the church or your family, ultimately to depend more on God. There’s nothing inherently bad about poverty, come to think of it.

Complaining about poverty is a bit silly. We imagine God watching us fret over money (something he, by the way, told us not to love). We wring our hands and worry about our financial well being, while at the same time God is blessing us with a bountiful life that most people would die for. It’s not like poverty is persecution anyway.

Some avoid having children because they “can’t afford it.” We kid you not: we’ve heard this line of reasoning from couples who make twice as much as us. Here’s a quote from our new book, Love Another Child:

To complain of persecution is like a millionaire complaining of how tough being rich is. The millionaire, actually, would have the winning argument.

Love Another Child p. 126

The title is a good question. What’s so bad about poverty?

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado, with 14 of their 16 children. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • http://losingtheworld.com Ebrammer

    I’m not worried about money so much, as I know that the Lord provides in each and every way we need. It may not be every way that we want, such as your could-of-been-new bus, but our needs have never gone unmet. I do struggle with His timing sometimes though.

    Waiting on the Lord is just that: waiting. And waiting requires patience. He allows us to wait for certain blessings, such as our desire now for a house of our own on land of our own (Lord you don’t have to extend my boundaries, any boundary will do for now), so that we develop that patience. And when His blessings do arrive, they arrive in abundance at the moment we can enjoy, appreciate, and need them most.

    • Anonymous

      I remember the apartment days all too well! Our first house purchase was a
      big deal. I prayed for you and your family, Ebrammer. God is in on your
      desire for your own place.

      • mom of many

        you own a house? you do not live in poverty!

  • Toraquel

    I agree with your article. God has always provided for our family, even things were financially very, very tight. We have made it through some tough times.

    I was talking to my children the other day and I told them that God loves us and will look after us, making sure that we have things that we need, like food. Then, my 4 year old asked me about people in third world countries, questioning “doesn’t God love them, Mom?”. I wasn’t sure how to answer that. What would you say to a child who asks that?

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like a very logical child you have! Compassionate, too. God uses us to help the hungry. We give to the God Child Project and sponsor a child in Guatemala. Why? Because we love this child just as God does.

      • george

        What makes us Americans so special that we have to take care of the Africans? Couldn’t God take care of all of us?

        • Karen

          Not special just entrusted with more. And the more you are entrusted with, the more God will hold you accountable for. Haven’t you read that parable it’s in the Bible!

  • Jennifer H.

    I wouldn’t call what you have “poverty” though. There are people in poverty, even in America.

    • Anonymous

      But we we are within the American “poverty” line. We don’t have an
      impoverished mentality, but we do live within the poverty line. What else
      should we call it?

      • Sola

        Rich.

        Compared to 85% of the world’s population, you, and I are rich.

        • Chris & Wendy

          Very true, Sola.

  • http://twitter.com/DiligentMommy Kat Morris

    I agree with a lot of what you are saying, however, when you are at the very end of your resources it is sometimes really hard not to worry about money. In all our years together my husband and I have learned to trust the Lord with our finances and with our children, however, that being said, right now we’re in the waiting period. And waiting is hard when your landlord keeps calling asking for the past due rent, and when your husband has received NO hours at work for the third week in a row, and when you have no idea what’s going to happen when you run out of diapers. I don’t mind not being rich, or even well off, but being able to make ends meet would be nice.

    • Karen

      Why aren’t you using cloth diapers? I have some I could send if you need them. If he isn’t getting hours at work, he needs to find different work – even temporary work would be better than that. Craigslist has a lot of jobs. If there aren’t any in your area, you may need to leave. I was out of work for a few months before I decided that town wasn’t right for me. Leaving was a tough decision because the money just wasn’t there, but once I made it God paved the way!!

  • KelliSue

    Poverty is relative. Most people in poverty in the US are getting a big refund from the federal government this year. And what will they do with it? That’s the rub. Is that why social service agencies intervene and find that while children are going without necessities to the point of attracting attention of teachers and workers at school, the investigated house has a large screen TV, game consoles and lots of video games bought several months before the crisis?

    Is there a culture where the seemingly impoverished are wearing brand name items -bought new, and artificial nails, and gold jewelry etc.? Then how is that poverty?

    To me, poverty is not being able to provide yourself (the whole family) with safe, warm housing; nutritious and sufficient food each day; medical and dental care; clothing appropriate for necessary and desirable activities; and safe transportation to necessary and desirable locations. There’s a lot of leeway between what is necessary, and what is desired sometimes.

    I think that even those seemingly in poverty had more leeway at times than they would like to admit with hindsight. I think in America we live in more luxury than we admit to. I think that some arbitrary line of poverty put out by the government doesn’t define my family. I’m told we’re below the poverty line, despite having just six kids. We qualify for over $700 a month in food stamps according to an online calculator I punched numbers into. I suppose if we used those, we could then spend our $700 on something else and spend our summers doing things besides gardening, raising goats, weeding, picking and bottling produce. A greater legacy to our children, 13 and under, are the skills, our self-sufficiency, and time spent together providing for our family. Not the $700/month of something else we could then afford.

    Sure, I’d like a newer than ’99 8-passenger suburban or other vehicle, to accomodate the boys’ rapidly lengthening legs that barely squeeze into our ’99 minivan we altered to fit 8. So we’re praying for that need. As my children play their trombones and clarinets and piano, and participate in sports coached by their dad, and attend 4-H, I don’t really think that our income tax form tells the story of who lives in poverty and who does not.

    • Anonymous

      Very good comment, KelliSue. We have spent our “refund” on paying bills,
      essentially living on it.

      • http://twitter.com/DiligentMommy Kat Morris

        we live in NH and will spend our refund paying back bills and putting oil in our tank for heat (it’s really cold without it). we are what you would consider poverty as well, but like said in a previous post, “children are a blessing, being poor doesn’t make them a curse”

        • Chris & Wendy

          Thanks for posting, Kat. It’s 4 degrees in Monument right now, the high tomorrow -4. Reminds us of our Minnesota days. We’ve got the heat blasting!

      • harriet

        You mean your bills for your internet connection, your debate conference, etc.?

        What luxury you live in. Fat refund check that pays for luxuries.

    • http://mandassassin.blogspot.com mandassassin

      Way to rely on tired old stereotypes of poor people, KelliSue! There are terrible people in any section of society. If I said that “Most white men will commit fraud, because I’ve seen all those reports of white businessmen committing fraud!”, it would be exactly as inaccurate as what you said.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=799259836 Amy Woolley Pederson

    Fabulous post. After watching video footage of living conditions in third world countries, my view of poverty in America changed. Americans, for the most part, live in luxury compared to most in third world countries. Here is an idea. For people that are applying for food stamps, welfare and the like, the government should give them a one month trip to a third world country. After spending a month there, visiting the poor, helping the sick, helping teach in a school, I wonder if any would have a different perspective.

    KelliSue, I loved your post. Right on.

    • Anonymous

      Now that’s an idea! =)

      • Sola

        Personally, I think it would be far better to send the ‘haves’ than the ‘have nots’ to third world countries. That way they might be more likely to forgo that next purchase of something they don’t really need and instead donate to a school in Uganda or Zaire etc.

    • Harriet

      You want to spend taxpayer money to send welfare applicants on a trip to a third world country ? Wouldn’t that be expensive? And how do you know these applicants need a lesson in poverty? How do you know they aren’t desperately ashamed?

      And how would such a trip help them to be self-sufficient?

  • Debbie

    Hmm a good question I would love to hear some other feedback. I believe it used to carry a really bad stigma way back in the 40′s and 50′s. Because I know my mom has been absolutely paranoid about this and she grew up in some poverty I can guess from being at my grandparent’s home as a child.
    So much fear, in fact that she would allow her children to suffer daily and verbal abuse at the hands of a stepfather all for the security $ brings?

    Well I never learned a thing about budgeting, trusting the Lord, etc from her and had to learn it all as an adult, watching my hubby go through a serious neck injury, and watching the Lord ALWAYS provide and NEVER let us down through it all.

    I had to chuckle a bit about your mini bus purchase because we are there right now hoping there will be a way through Jesus and being creative through selling as many things as we can-we can take our first vacation in 7 yrs and travel to FL in April to see my family(my youngest sis and her family and mine have not seen each other in 10 yrs) have not seen the rest in 8 yrs. Funny how they all have tons of $ for cruises, big vacations as they are the typical 2 parent working family, yet we are the ones expected to travel always.

    Without faith, there is no hope and that seems to be what is missing in those poor families who do not know Christ!

  • Jay Biddy

    I agree with some of what you are saying. Being poor is certainly not a sin. What we teach our kids is that it takes creativity to support a family. Creativity is also expressed when a God fearing man uses his talents to succeed financially. The key is not letting money become an idol and remaining spiritually bankrupt no matter how much a person makes. Dan Miller discusses in his book, 48 Days, that anyone following a passion, willing to work and using creativity can produce a 6 figure income. Dan advises people to begin by pursuing their passion, which is God’s will on our lives.

    Some of the most creative people I know are also some of the most successful.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for the post, Jay. And I looked up Dan Miller: http://www.48days.com/

      • Flora Poste

        “Dan Miller discusses in his book, 48 Days, that anyone following a passion, willing to work and using creativity can produce a 6 figure income. Dan advises people to begin by pursuing their passion, which is God’s will on our lives.”

        Sounds like prosperity gospel to me. You do know, don’t you, that Jesus never really reached his full earning potential?

  • http://mandassassin.blogspot.com mandassassin

    Wow, you can afford to travel to tournaments, you have a business that at any point allowed you to rent office space, you could even consider making a large purchase like a shuttle bus, and you think you’re poor? Are you on food stamps? Do you have to rely on food banks and church donations for all or a significant part of your food? No? Then YOU. Are. Not. Poor. There is a huge difference between being on a tight budget and being poor.
    You know what poor is like? Not being able to heat your house in the winter. Eating butter and jelly sandwiches on stale Wonderbread for a week with your children because you ran out of assistance for the month and you can’t afford to buy peanut butter. Sleeping on the couch so your children can sleep in the bedroom on an old mattress on the floor. Walking to work through a bad part of town because you can’t afford to fix your car – if you can even get a job, which you then work full time at minimum wage and still can’t support your family?
    The ignorance displayed in this post is staggering.

    • Anonymous

      We’re not claiming poverty out of ignorance; we DO live within the poverty
      line. The gloomy scenario you list is definitely poverty, but few in America
      are this impoverished. You can’t say “poor” only equates to the gloomy scene
      you paint.

      But this is all beside the point: *There is nothing wrong with poverty*. Are
      you saying there is?

      • debbie

        I agree, you are not in poverty. You have a whole passel of kids that puts you within the federal poverty guidelines that are designed to establish qualification levels for services. If you qualify, then get them, that’s what they are for. But the bottom line is that you make much, much more than an average family who is in poverty. They couldn’t even afford the gas to get to the debate conference. There is more than one to define poverty. For example, my family is currently within the federal poverty guidelines due to unemployment. However, we will never go without due to our net worth. I could write your post, we are in poverty according tot he government, except, we’re not. You are on a tight budget, and I agree, that isn’t so bad, we live that way too trying to keep our savings for our retirement. But it isn’t poverty.

      • Kelly

        Are you serious in saying “few in America are this impoverished” ? It must be pretty up in your fairytale castle in the sky, but down here in reality where I live there is more then a “few”. We are blessed with a large family, and means to support all of our children. But my husband works for our local food bank, and before we were blessed with our 9 children I worked in a local family homeless shelter providing early childhood education. We have seen it. It is heartbreaking to know a child may go to bed hungry at night, to see a mother cry as she struggles to fit them into a ill fitting jacket and shoes on a cold day. I used to really like you Jeub family. Now I see you are just as ignorent and blind to the real world as most of the other fundamental Christians.

        As for what is wrong with poverty? There is nothing wrong with living simply, and being happy for what you have, and what God has provided. There is A LOT wrong people going hungry at night, or no having heating, or running water, or decent housing. Which Jeub family ,sadly there is a a lot more then a FEW.

      • http://mandassassin.blogspot.com mandassassin

        I was this poor, growing up. And it’s more common then you think. One million people in New York City alone go hungry every day. And that’s here in a so-called first world country – I’m not even addressing the conditions elsewhere.
        I’m not saying that there is anything shameful or blame-worthy about being poor – i.e., there is nothing wrong with being a poor person.
        But how, exactly, is poverty and/or the experience of poverty a good thing? Is the high likelihood of not eating a good thing? How about lack of access to medical care? Poor people are more likely to die of preventable illnesses due to lack of regular screenings. Poverty also is a factor in low-birth weight babies and higher risk of infant mortality. How is losing your child before the age of one a good thing?

      • Elle

        Get your head our of your ass and look outside your bubble. Millions of families live that poor in America. Just because you haven’t seen it with your own eyes doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. If seeing is what makes you believe, then your god doesn’t exist.

        You have what you need. You aren’t living in poverty. Poverty isn’t solely how much you make, but whether or not you have enough for the basics, and you have more than enough for the basics. But you have no clue how privileged you are.

        I hope you one day find yourself without a roof over your head and unsure where your next meal will come from, or when it might be. Then you’ll know poverty. I’ve been there, and hope to NEVER go back because IT SUCKS.

        We’re defined, by income, as being in poverty. We have a house with a pool, a new big HDTV, multiple MacBook Pros, iPhone4s, think nothing of going out for a steak dinner, because we actually manage our money well and don’t have debt. We’re willing to buy second hand. We live under the poverty limit, but WE AREN’T IN POVERTY. We have what we need, as do you. You’re not in poverty. You are an insult to those who ARE!!

        • Karen

          “I hope you one day find yourself without a roof over your head and unsure where your next meal will come from, or when it might be.”
          What kind of person would “hope” for that for someone else? I wouldn’t wish that on ANYONE, and especially not just to prove a point.
          Why just so they can see that “true” poverty is different from what the U.S. government defines it as. They already know that, and they are charitable people to those who are truly poor. That’s kind of thier whole point, that many people claim they are in poverty and that’s a reason not to have a child, when they really aren’t poor at all.

          And those of you who “liked” this comment, shame on you. Show some dignity, and watch your potty mouths.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alida-Fiametta-Rodriguez/1599690634 Alida Fiametta Rodriguez

          I am a but sickened that you would wish true poverty on anyone. How horrible! You are correct that many who think they are poor that have cable TV, the latest gaming systems, computers, and expensive phones. I’ve seen many homeless with cell ohones because the government provides them. I’ve also seen kids with teeth rotten, who gorge when you feed them because they don’t know where their next meal will come from, who sleep in cars, who don’t have shoes. A little girl we were watching would always ask me “Where are you dropping us off tonight, a motel or the park?” She also told me “I hate being poor and having to eat puppy chow.” She’s 6. That is true poverty. However I’d never “wish ” for such a reality check on anyone.

    • Michelle

      I agree. The scene you presented is poor. But, not all poverty is equal. There are many different levels of it. Don’t be mad/jealous that someone is talking about their poverty and it’s not as bad as yours. If it hurts you to see someone talking of it when it’s not that bad, then keep within your own household, you shouldn’t display your anger all over the internet!
      Plus, it’s extremely rude to call someone ignorant. When a parent teaches their children to be respectful to adults, the parent needs to set an example and not call adults names!!

      • Mandassassin

        Yes, heaven forbid I call a spade a spade. When someone’s behavior or
        speech is ignorant, one is perfectly justified in saying so. The person
        or people one is addressing are then free to respond in whatever manner
        they see fit. This is commonly known as ‘discourse’, something that
        happens when people choose to post their thoughts in a public forum and
        invite comments.

        By the way, thank you *so* much for telling me
        how I felt two years ago when I posted in this thread. I’m glad your
        psychic powers reach so far into the past. Quite a talent.

        You
        may also note that, on the internet, it is rude to make an accusatory
        comment on a thread that is two years old, since it’s relatively
        unlikely that the person you’re scolding will be around to defend
        herself. In this case, I have Disqus set to notify me in the event of a
        reply to my posts, but you had no way of knowing that.

        It’s also
        rude to address a grown woman as if you had some authority to define
        manners for everyone; and to obliquely insult the parents who raised me
        to be direct and honest, to stand up for what I believe in, and to not
        take guff from strangers who think they should be able to define my
        emotional and intellectual reactions for me.

        • Robert

          I am sure she’s sorry if she offended you! So, you’re saying it was rude of her to stand up for someone?
          It was rude of her to address you?…Don’t you think it was rude to call someone ignorant?

        • Michelle Robinson

          Would you like it if people started calling you names on the internet? “Do onto others has you would have them do onto you.”…Sound familiar?

          You are quite welcome! It wasn’t that hard really. All I had to do was to read yours and many others posts!

          “…It is rude to make an accusatory comment…”? Well, in that case, wasn’t it rude of you and many others to call Jeub ignorant?
          Well, luckily for you, you had a DISQUS account so you could defend yourself. Even though there was nothing to defend! I didn’t state anything that if it was interpreted the way I meant it (which wasn’t that hard) could be taken defensively!

          I had no way of knowing how old you were. AS you have no way of knowing how old I am for that matter. I didn’t define manners, I just restated the basics of them! I wasn’t insulting your parents and if you took it as if I was then, using that, you are also insulting my parents who taught me to also be honest, direct, to stand up for what I believe in, AND to stand up for OTHERS!
          I wasn’t defining anything! Did you ever see the word “define” in my first comment? No. Never. I was just stating something. Just like you have been doing! Don’t try to put me down when you have been calling Jeub ignorant!

  • Pele

    Chris,

    I would welcome your perspective on this. Yes, as you said, God uses us to help the hungry such as in supporting ministries, etc. But how can step out in faith to rely on God for our financial needs (and I do mean needs – not wants) when clearly God does not provide for the needs of everyone as evidenced by children dying of starvation in third world countries?

    • Anonymous

      Starvation in 3rd World countries is not evidence that God doesn’t take care
      of people. It’s evidence that PEOPLE don’t take care of people. Virtually
      all starvation in the world is caused by dictatorships or communist
      economies. Only in free market economies like America are the impoverished
      plump and well-fed. So, I don’t agree that God does not provide for people’s
      needs.

      • Sola

        You might want to look at http://www.poverty.com/index.html

        There are many countries in the world which do not have a dictatorship or a communist economy which have a large percentage of citizens at risk or or actually suffering from extreme poverty. It is far too simplistic to state that poverty on a national level is caused by dictatorships or communist economies.

        As for the USA; a person can be plump but still very much NOT well fed. A person can be obese and still be malnourished. This is often down to poor nutritional education and needs to be tackled on a national level. I am presuming you realise the link between educational attainment, behaviour and nutrition. Being overweight has nothing at all to do with being well nourished. A person with poor nutritional education is unlikely to know how to cook cheap, healthy foods. Instead they will aim for cheap, filling foods which are most frequently the most unhealthy.

        You and your family are not poor. Yes you might be within the official American poverty line, but you are still not poor. You have a roof over your head, you have food in your bellies, you have access to clean safe water and healthcare, you can heat your home. That is not poverty.

        And yes, for a variety of reasons, there are many people in the western world who are far poorer than you and live in America or other free market economies.

      • harriet

        If you truly believe this, I suggest you take the money you spend on debate conferences and donate it to such people.

      • Flora Poste

        If what you are trying to say is that income does not tell the whole story regarding poverty, I agree. Families or countries with the same level of income may have differing levels of poverty-related problems such as infant mortality, hunger, and illiteracy.

        You have a lot of advantages that are not available to people who were born into poverty, or who may be struggling with health issues (a major cause of bankruptcy here in the US), who live in violent neighborhoods, who do not have regular access to fresh food, etc. There are many people in the US who struggle with these things. I don’t know if you meant it this way, but your post comes off very smug and condescending. It is hard to believe that you are really down in the trenches with the poor and suffering people of this world, as Jesus was.

        As an example of what I mean about income not being the whole story – take Cuba, one of the only true communist governments left in the world. They have a lower rate of infant mortality than the US, according to the CIA World Fact Book, even though their GDP is smaller.

      • http://mandassassin.blogspot.com mandassassin

        I think there are 49 million people who would like to talk to you about that: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/16/49-million-americans-goin_n_359316.html

  • Abby

    Poverty is certainly an interesting debate – I suppose you guys are in poverty by government definition, worked out I guess by total income divided by how many people under the roof and therefore how much each individual has to live off. Attitude does have a lot to do with it, and I admire your ability to be so creative and frugal. Then again, you have computers, internet, a fully functioning kitchen, transportation so you are in poverty by statistic lets say, but you also have what many of us have – the above – which are considered luxuries by many. I have those luxuries too, and when I see what happens to people in out nation and overseas I think gee here I am complaining about wanting a more up to date computer.

    Poverty, true poverty, is bad. Even a great attitude and love for God doesn’t take away all the pain of true poverty – going by what others have said before me, I say poverty is not making ends meet – children not getting a hot meal everyday, not being able to afford basics such as a washer, there are families who don’t even run a fridge or live in tiny cramped conditions. That is poverty and that is bad. Of course one can make the best out of it, but it is not a nice position to be in. I am very blessed, I’m not rolling in cash by any stretch of the imagination but we are comfortable and can afford treats. We are doing more each year to try and reach out to people at home and overseas by saving money in areas and donating it to those who have had a harder time. There certainly are families living in absolute povertywith hungry children, children who need to clean their clothes in America and boy it needs to change.

    I think its fantastic how you guys share your ideas on being frugal and I feel you have allowed many families to stretch their dollars (including mine) with ideas some of us just don’t seem to think of. But I don’t think anyone can really say “how bad is poverty really” unless you have truly been there, I mean genuinly starving, poor living (possibly homeless), no water, no basics.

    How does anyone else answer the question about third world countries? My children have also asked why some people are so poor and don’t get to go to school or have running water and I honestly said I just don’t know. Because they know God, missionaries to spread the message is not what many countries need, it’s skills, donations and volunteers time.

    • Anonymous

      So, you have to be “truly” impoverished for poverty to be bad, but regular ol’ poverty is okay? Sounds wobbly. Here’s our premise: There is nothing inherently bad about poverty.

      Let me put it another way. Starvation, desperation, indebtedness, bankruptcy, helplessness, corruption, theft, oppression — these are all bad.

      Being poor is not. Even “truly” poor.

      • Abby

        I don’t quite understand you reply. You stated in your article poverty forces families to think creatively, which I agree with and stated I liked how creative your family is. I like your frugal thinking. When did I say regular poverty is ok? I did imply I think there are times we all need to think twice about whether we are truly poor in the grand scheme of things by my comment about computers . You have kinda contradicted yourself in that first statement.

        Being poor is not bad? – how does that logic work? People who are starving are POOR! desperation comes from being poor. Helplessness can be from being POOR-no money to get better education, no address to give to a job you want. No address, no job. Bankruptcy is not always self inflicted, and has awful implications for later on.

        I admire many things about your family and I enjoy your blog. Where we disagree though respectively is I feel on such issues as this you are burying your head in the sand. Things appear to be working out well for you but for some reason for many it doesn’t.

  • Pele

    Chris,

    Thank you for making that distinction – it’s people’s failure to help other people not God’s failure. What happens, then, if a couple feels called by God to have more children but do not happen to be born in a democracy and due to their unstable government (dictatorship, communist, etc.) their children have a very real chance of not having enough food? Is having more children a privilege only Americans (or others in another democracy) can enjoy? I really respect your faith that God will provide and your emphasis on creativity even in poverty. I”m just trying to figure out how this applies universally from your perspective. Thanks for your comments. Can’t wait to read your new book – loved Wendy’s first cookbook!

    • Anonymous

      I guess the subtitle of our new book says it like it is: “Children. They’re blessings. Always.” Are children blessings when they are born into extreme poverty? Absolutely.

      • kelly

        But that doesn’t mean it is a blessing to the child to be born into poverty.

        • Anonymous

          Why not? Is poverty a curse? We don’t believe so. Can poverty be a blessing? We believe it can. In and out of America, to return to your original question.

          • kelly

            I did not ask that question.

            You can lack blessing without being a curse and I would say real poverty (not the Jeub definition) is not a blessing.

            • Anonymous

              You’re really stretching to hold onto something that’s not true. You have to redefine our liberating message to insist that poverty is somehow an inherent curse. However you want to define poverty (“true,” “real,” “not being able to afford Novocaine”), it is not inherently bad.

              Really, Kelly, our message is freeing. Insisting that poverty is a curse is enslaving. For us, we won’t hold our poverty as an excuse that we are hindered from doing what God calls us to do.

              • kelly

                I never insisted it was a curse. One can lack a blessing while not being a curse.

                I also do not accept the argument that you live in poverty.

                I am not sure how your lesson is freeing to those who do not have enough to eat. Can you explain that to me? It sounds like it is freeing to those who can fill their needs but not their wants.

              • Flora Poste

                “I am not sure how your lesson is freeing to those who do not have enough to eat. Can you explain that to me? ”

                Yes. Explain this to me also.

              • Anonymous

                Alright, alright already. I’ll save it for Part 2.

              • Anne

                I’m looking forward to learning how watching your children go hungry day after day, shiver in the cold during the winter because you can’t afford a coat and the local clothing closet doesn’t have one in the right size, and watch your child suffer from an illness that needs medical attention, but not have the money to go to the doctor is a blessing with benefits. I’m not being sarcastic, but I’m really wanting to know how you are going to prove that living that way year after year with almost no way to escape the poverty is benefitial to the adults and children. How living this way is freeing to those people.

              • Karen

                I’ve lived in an extremely poor neighborhood, and we ALL somehow managed to have enough to eat EXCEPT one family. This family and every other family I have ever met that was truly unable to fulfill basic needs was addicted to drugs and alcohol. And I’ll tell you something else, at my church the ladies decided to help Christian couples who could not afford a child, so when impoverished pregnant women came to them they would ask if they were married or not or smoked or drank. Every single one either was not married or smoke, drank, and/or did drugs. If your sin is making you poor how can you expect God to bless that!

              • Sola

                Your poverty does not hinder you, because you are not truly poor. The simple fact that you can say the above proves that. If you were truly poor you wouldn’t have a website, you wouldn’t have an internet connection, you wouldn’t have a reliable roof over your head, you wouldn’t have enough food in your home, your kids wouldn’t go to bed well fed.

                You are not hindered, because you are not poor. It is nothing to do with how you look at your family circumstances. You simply are not poor.

              • harriet

                He is not poor.

                He just doesn’t have as much as he’d like.

          • tereza

            I am disappointed with your post and arguments.

            The Bible is clear about poverty and sickness being a curse.

            Now, Rom 8:38 says that ALL things work together for good but that does not mean that poverty and sickness are good. It means that even in the worst day God can use that for His glory and He is able to restore and provide.

            You might be poor according to US government standards, but you know very well that you are not poor. Would you be a poor man you wouldn’t be gloating of being poor!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Knight/1699736268 Steve Knight

    Myself I wonder How much you really do gods work. if you were out helping the poor talking care of the needy You would see true poverty. where people don’t have choices on how they live they can’t afford to buy freezers and turkeys. they don’t know if they will eat the next day. I have been poor most of my life and it is not a nice thing. Myself get out and help the poor then you will truly know what it is to be poor and you will be a better christian in the long run.

  • kelly

    Saying no to buying a bus is hardly poverty. You live below the poverty line but that isn’t the same as living in poverty. And when you make the choice to have as many children as you do the poverty line because pretty much meaningless.

    Hi! I grew up in terrible, terrible poverty. I grew up homeless on occasion and at one point when 4 of us were living in our car it caught fire and we lost every single thing we owned. I typically ate less than one meal on average a day. In 2005 there over 98 thousand homeless FAMILIES. And this only counts those who are not living with friends or family but rather the homeless who live in vehicles, squat in abandoned areas and who live in shelters. I am not sure that 98 thousand families is exactly rare.

    In 2009 170,000 Families spent at least one night in a shelter. In 2005 and 2006 1.5 million children fit the government’s definition of homeless. (which does not including living in a residence owned my family, friends or hosts)

    And I spent a semester living abroad doing foreign aid work in refugee camps. Certainly it offered some perspective on my childhood but it didn’t change the damage that is done.

    I have no idea how you think poverty is good. Of course there is something wrong with poverty! I think you have confused that with the concept of their being something wrong with those who live in poverty.

    • Anonymous

      Still not convinced. Poverty is not inherently wrong.

      See my response to Abby. It applies here.

      • kelly

        Actually no it doesn’t. You claimed that it is rare and I was demonstrating it is not.

        I did not assert poverty is inherently wrong. In fact the way you are wording this is awkward. Can something like poverty be a right or wrong thing? Isn’t the question are the risks of poverty greater than the benefits?

        You are asserting it is a blessing and as a debater you know that the burden of proof is on the affirmative. There have be numerous statistics quoting the problems that exist with poverty.

        The poor are not wrong or bad. But poverty, true poverty, has devastating consequences. Certainly one can overcome them and one can even argue that overcoming those consequences have benefits but when it comes to poverty I believe it is clear that the risks outweigh whatever meager benefits one can claim.

        So, what are the benefits?

        • Anonymous

          Well, then, I’m glad you agree with me. Poverty is not inherently wrong. Sure, it can have bad consequences, but so can wealth. In fact, you may have a better argument with wealth.

          Cut-n-pasted my response to Abby: “Starvation, desperation, indebtedness, bankruptcy, helplessness, corruption, theft, oppression — these are all bad. Being poor is not. Even ‘truly’ poor.”

          • kelly

            You are asserting it is a blessing. So I ask you again:

            “So, what are the benefits? ”

            I don’t have to prove the absence of benefits. Asserting that I doubt your claim is enough. Burden falls on you.

            The things you have named along with lots of other things are the risks of poverty. You have yet to actually show statistical or empirical evidence that poverty has benefits.

            • harriet

              He isn’t answering you because he can’t. He knows there is no benefit to being homeless or unable to pay for medicine.

              That’s why he choses to keep his money instead of giving it to the poor (as Scripture commands). Because he does not want to be homeless–he knows it has no benefit.

              • Anonymous

                No need to get hot and bothered, harriet.

              • Flora Poste

                Your arrogance and lack of empathy is very telling.

              • kelly

                She makes an excellent point. You haven’t responded to my queries.

          • george

            So I want to know, too; what ARE the benefits of being so poor you don’t have enough food, adequate shelter, etc? (I mean, besides worrying someone will steal your money.)

          • kelly

            And I did not agree with you…I said that your wording was awkward.

            Also, the wealth argument is a red herring. No one asserted that wealth (and there is a big stretch between poverty and affluence) doesn’t have risks as well. This isn’t a discussion about which one is better. You have asserted poverty is a blessing.

      • Debbiewolt

        I think that as long as the important needs are met, enough nourishing food, heat, water, even electric probably, a roof that doesn’t leak, health care when needed and clothing then being on a tight budget is just fine. (whether in poverty 0r not, which really is irrelevant since it’s linear based on family size and many can make do without expanding a home, which is the largest part of a budget typically) I’m not concerned with how the government defines it, do you have the basics without too much worry? Then it’s fine. Sure, all my kids friends at school wear Abercrombie, they shovel driveways to earn money when it snows, and I think that’s great for them.

  • Harriet

    My mother was poor as a child. She tells stories about having teeth filled without Novocaine. I think she found poverty difficult.

    • Anonymous

      Filling teeth without Novocaine is inherently difficult. Pain is ensured. Can’t argue with you there.

      Poverty can be difficult, too, but not inherently so. Poverty does not ensure difficulty. Needs may still be met, blessings still flow, and God uses the poor just as much as the rich. Perhaps more!

      Come to think of it, I’d argue the wealthy have more problems than the poor. But that’s a new argument…

      • kelly

        Can you really claim they are living in true poverty if their needs are being met?

        • Anonymous

          “True poverty” is a redefinition of this conversation. American culture and our government has defined what “poverty” is, and it includes people whose needs are being met, even met with abundance.

          Funny, the government started defining a new line of poverty about 10 years ago, “Extreme Poverty,” because it was clear those in poverty had all their needs met.

          • kelly

            So when you speak of poverty you mean only the poverty line as set by the US federal government?

            • Anonymous

              Fair question. Answer: I suppose. It is what we can speak to, because this is how our government has tried to define us. If I were to use Guatemala as a standard, I’d have to write on how wealth isn’t inherently bad, because that standard would make us filthy rich.

              • kelly

                Ok, I see that only as a tax and benefits definition. And it becomes really hazy when you have the number of people in your household that the jeubs do. Poverty isn’t always scalable. Those who are just 1 or 2 people under the poverty line can often be hit by the impacts greater than those who are 6+ over the poverty line.

                That is because the risks of poverty don’t necessarily scale to the same as the US federal government poverty line.

                For the sake of my comments here when I speak of living in poverty I mean the lay definition we all understand. Those in poverty lack the ability to meet their basic needs.

                That is not true of all who fall below the US national poverty line, although it certainly is true for many.

              • Anonymous

                You’re not sticking to the topic, kelly. You’re attempting to redefine what we originally posted as “poverty” — defining it in the most extreme way — so that you can attack on grounds that appear reasonable.

                Google “Straw Man Fallacy” and add to your 8 years of debate training.

              • kelly

                No I simply am saying I have a different definition of poverty than you.

              • jojo

                I knew you were referring to this standard so it totally makes sense. We too live below the standard “poverty” line as defined in America, but yet we make $200 a year too much to qualify for any gov’t assistance (which I wouldn’t want to do anyway). If fact, if we HAVE one more child, we would easily qualify for WIC, medicaid, etc… and would have more money than we do now!

      • harriet

        I’d suggest you get your next tooth filled without Novocaine. Only then can you comment on whether it is “good” or a “blessing” or not.

      • Ninabi

        When relatives entered into their callings as religious brothers or nuns, they took a vow of poverty. It is true- wealth can separate one from God.

        Poverty can inspire people to creative solutions, but it also comes with its own problems. My father is 80. He told me what life was like after his dad died at 13. The coal mining company owned the entire town- houses included. Your dad died? Your family had a grace period and then had to leave.

        He said his possessions fit into a shoebox. 7 people were crammed into one bedroom apartment. My father had to find work after school to help support the family- and a shoe repair person needed someone to sweep the store,etc. The man hid the fact that he had TB.

        My father caught it and at 13, was sent away to the TB sanitarium (locked wards). 13 can be an unfortunate age, he came to learn. 13 means you go to the sanitarium for adults. A 13 year old surrounded by strange men.

        Poverty means your mother, sister and grandmother do not have the money for streetcar fare so you never see your family. At the time, there were no government regulations regarding education of sick kids and for the 2 years he spent in there he was without school. For a boy who loved to learn and study, it was cruel. A priest confined with TB at least kept him up on his Latin.

        I’m sure your imagination can fill in the blanks about a lone pubescent boy in a ward filled with adult men.

        His older brothers and sisters did take their vows of poverty- but the Catholic church made sure their basic needs were met. For my father, poverty was the ticket to physical and emotional hell.

  • Sola

    Why isn’t God blessing those faithful in Africa? I find it strange that God is ‘always’ blessing Americans by filling their needs yet not those in other countries.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Knight/1699736268 Steve Knight

    Myself I really don’t think you understand being poor. Just because you fit in what the government say is the poverty level does not make you poor. Your only there because you choose to have so many children.
    I think you need to go volunteer at a local homeless shelter for a year. that would be the true christian thing to do. It’s always easier to think it is ok when your not there doing that thing you say is not so bad. go a year with no income then come back and tell us how great being poor really is. Till you want in someone’s shoes you can’t say how good or bad it really is.

  • Flynn

    What an ignorant, arrogant, hurtful post. “Poverty: What’s So Bad About It?” I’ll tell you… Homelessness. Starvation. No clean drinking water. No sanitation. Hopelessness. That’s what’s so bad about it. Millions of people in this world (not to mention those in this country) live in true, abject poverty. You live in a house, support and feeed 16 children, travel all over the country, and your biggest problems are not being able to buy a bus & having to work out of your home.

    You know what, some people truly can’t afford to have children. They literally cannot afford another mouth to feed. And saying “God will provide” is a fallacy. People praying in the homeless shelters or the mud huts in Africa are not seeing food miraculously appear in front of them.

    Why don’t you try donating some money to a third world country, or even something “small”, like donating some new textbooks to your closest inner city school? (I truly believe education is one way to lift yourself out of poverty, but everyone even has the privilege of that).

    No matter what this country’s definition of “poverty” is, you don’t suffer from true poverty. If you did, you wouldn’t ask questions like “What’s So Bad About It?” or make statements like “Complaining about poverty is a bit silly.” Why don’t you stop being a martyr and stop trying to justify your lifestyle with these ridiculous sentiments?

  • Cannelle

    Unless you’ve gone without food so your two year old can eat the last of the white-bread-and-jelly sandwiches (your only food) while you wonder where you’re going to sleep the next day, you haven’t been poor. Unless you’ve sat crying, wondering how on earth you’re going to obtain your next dose of the medication that keeps you alive on this earth, you haven’t been poor.

    Poverty may look different from one place to the next, but it’s still poverty and it’s still horrible. Poverty is lack of food, unstable living arrangements that could fall through at any time, FEAR. Poverty is FEAR and sending your kid to bed hungry. Do you even know what that feels like? Do you know how AWFUL that feels, as a parent, to hear your child crying because they’re hungry and you can’t do anything about it??? If you really knew, if you’ve been there, you wouldn’t be so glib about the situation.

  • Anonymous

    Jeubs: “Apples are red.”
    Posters: “How can you say ‘apples are red’? What about granny smiths???”

    Jeubs: “There are blessings within poverty.”
    Posters: “How can you say there are blessings in devastated Africa and starving children???”

    These aren’t rebuttals. These are contradictions. See this video…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDjCqjzbvJY&feature=fvst

    We can only speak from where we stand, but to say we have nothing to say about poverty because we’re not “really” poor is responding to an argument that we never made. Worse, it is an attempt to invalidate what we are saying by clinging to exaggeration and hyperbole.

    But your “contradictions” have given us a lot of material to work with. Stay tuned for Part 2…

    • Flora Poste

      You are saying, “Poverty is not so bad, look at us!” Commenters are saying you don’t know what real poverty is like. And you don’t. You are not displaying much empathy or insight for commenters who have experienced or witnessed true poverty.

    • Katie

      You seem to be missing the point of what most commenters are upset about. You’re claiming that poverty isn’t as bad as people make it out to be, and you’re using your family as an example to back up your assertion that poverty isn’t that bad.

      However, your examples of instances in which poverty negatively affected your family are instances in which you were either mildly inconvenienced, or forced to forgo an item which you could make do without. Your family has not experienced homelessness, malnutrition, bankruptcy, or any of the other issues which those whom experience extreme poverty face. Yes, it is the extreme, but for millions of people, the extreme is the everyday, and questioning whether or not your argument applies under these extreme conditions is perfectly valid. You’re saying that apples are red. It’s a perfectly valid point to bring up the fact that not all apples are red. It’s not a contradiction, it’s simple logic. Same goes for the starving children in devastated Africa; the last time I checked, starving children in Africa are affected by poverty.

      We are not engaging in exaggeration and hyperbole. Visit any homeless shelter in America and see for yourself. The situations which commenters are describing are very real, even in America.

      • Anonymous

        Great points, Katie. Thanks for posting!

    • kelly

      That isn’t what I said. Actually I said that the harm of poverty outweighs the benefits for most people. So we should work to improve the conditions of the poor.

      And my real point is you can’t compare your live that is lacking in wants (a bus!) with someone who is lacking in needs. Shelter, food every day, clothing, etc.

  • Anonymous

    Respectfully, I disagree with this post, and I think it might be a language barrier. I believe that you are living in relative poverty, as decided by the Orshansky Poverty Thresholds, which I believe uses the cost of food as it’s basis. It also uses one number for the 48 contiguous states and DC, and two separate numbers for Alaska & Hawaii. As far as I can tell, your family lives somewhere in the middle, where food is less expensive, and so is housing and the overall cost of living. So someone who lived in a state with a lot of agriculture and who was able to afford a lot of land could very easily live at poverty and have a decent, if creative and budget tight, life. I also believe that the Orshansky method is flawed as food cost is no longer the dominate factor in most families budgets.

    Absolute poverty is something very different. Absolute poverty means lack of access to clean water, to food, to shelter, to safety and basic human needs. Abject poverty means that there is something wrong. It means that we aren’t taking care of our fellow humans. NO child should have to go to bed in a car. NO woman should lack access to prenatal care.

    And yes, it might have something to do with living biblically and having faith in God, but imagine, for one minute that you weren’t born to your parents and instead were born in different circumstances. Let’s start off. You are born to a teenage mother who, for whatever reason, decided that you would keep her and the baby daddy together. Three months before you were born, your father goes to jail. Your mother shares an apartment with her mother, and decides when you are born that things are gonna change and she is gonna be there for you. So she decides to stop doing hard drugs and looks for a job. Only there aren’t any jobs for high school drop outs. She pays for food using WIC and EBT, and finally finds a minimum paying job and takes three buses to get to work. Despite the fact that the run down crowded apartment she shares with her mother was relatively safe, after a few years the drug dealers move into the neighborhood. Soon after that, she has to quit her job, because it’s not safe to walk home from the bus at night. She had no money saved up because rent + transportation uses every dime she has. There’s no money to move to a better neighborhood, plus this is the only life she knew. As you are now 5, you start going to school. Mom drops you off in the morning and makes money in the afternoon by doing people’s hair. You are still better off than some of the kids you make friends with, who only come a few days a week and smell, as no one paid the water bill in their house again. When you are 7, your dad gets out of jail and you meet him in person (not behind glass) for the first time. You don’t know if you like him, but hey, he’s your dad. You seem him every now and then and he brings you stuff. Your mom is happy, then she gets angry. Your grandmother dies. Mom gets back on drugs and you learn how to shop for food, do your homework, and make sure they eat something. Sometiems you go to school, but no one really cares if you do well or go or not. When you are 10, you are put in foster care in a worse neighborhood, where you have to fight for food, and if you are weak, the four or five other kids in the house will beat you. Sometimes you get beat up anyway, but you learn to take it.

    By the time you are 13, you are dealing drugs so you can eat, as the foster home you are in now doesn’t even try. Your mother ODed and your dad is back in jail. You can barely read, and while some of the girls you know talk about Church, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you.

    Or you could have been born in a village in a rural part of the United States. You are born in a community of 45 people, most of whom you are related to. You live a subsistence lifestyle and you love it. Until you are five, when one of your uncles molests you. You tell your mother, but she tells you to just close your eyes. When you are 20, you tell your daughter the same thing, as the man who is doing it is the villages best hunter. To have him arrested would mean that the entire village would starve to death over the long winter.

    That is why poverty is bad. The complete and utter lack of resources drives people to live very unhealthy lifestyles. Life becomes about survival from day to day, not about how to get to a debate in another state.

    • Anonymous

      Very good points, Maggie. Thank you for taking the time to list them.

      For the record, we only give ourselves up as an example of “poor” because we are labeled as such by the federal government, as do over 40 million Americans. You’re right, we live with all our needs met and quite comfortably, all things considered. Though things aren’t so peachy right now, we’ve been in much worse in the past.

      Any which way we cut it, we don’t see how poverty (bad, really bad, truly bad) is inherently bad. Your attempt to show that it is includes molestation, imprisoned parents, drug addiction, physical abuse, etc. THESE are all awful things, poverty is not.

      Sorry, still not convinced that poverty is inherently bad.

      • Anonymous

        I see your point. Poverty isn’t inherently good or bad, it just is. And good things can come out of it as well as all of the bad things. Some of the most faithful people I know live in abject poverty. However, I think that for the average person, it is very very very difficult to triumph or even to stand strong in the face of such despair. Not having running water, spending entire days trying to find change for food, not having a safe place to sleep – it’s draining and exhausting and I’m not sure it’s being creative as much as a survival instinct that kicks in.

        • Anonymous

          “For the average person, it is very very very difficult…”

          No doubt! They should be empowered, not limited. Encouraged to press on, not wallow. We want people to live, not just survive.

          A great movie comes to mind: “Pursuit of Happyness.”

          • Anon

            It’s “happiness” by the way. Something homeschool teachers and writers should know.

            • Sherri

              F.Y.I. – “Happyness” (with a “y”) was the spelling of the word in the official movie title…

            • Anonymous

              Um, the movie intentionally used the misspelling. Something anonymous posters should know.

              • Inhisname

                Well..Mr. Jeub since you are the spelling authority and a career making ‘debator’, how does one spell cereal ? Please check your previous post, the one about the kids making breakfast. You spelt ‘cereal’ as ‘serial’.

                I would respect you more if you do did not compare blatant poverty that exists in third world countries to your life. From reading your blog, I can see you have a lot of land, vehicles capable of carrying your large brood around, live in a house with granite counters, have new computers and so on. Obviously your family have made sacrifices, live frugally, hunt and so onto support your family which I admire. Your poverty level is not like third world countries and nothing you say will convince me.

                I would have loved to support someone like your family in their business by buying your cook books, diet book etc as you are a real family as opposed to the talking heads on TV. But why should I ? You come across as arrogant and living in the clouds.

                You have something important to say. One of the book reviews of yours was ‘The Jeubs deserve the platform’ they are given. From this discussion and the banning of comments I do not know what to think.

            • anon

              “Happyness” was not only an intentional misspelling of the movie title, but an important part of the storyline. Just FYI, to the other anon.

      • HJH

        I think you should give up 90% of your income and really experience poverty. After a year, come back here and report your experiences.

        Would you tell a blind man that blindness is “not that bad” or a “blessing”?
        Would you tell a cancer patient that there is nothing “inherently bad” about terminal illness? They’d laugh in your face. That’s what these writers are doing. They have experienced real poverty, you have not, so you know not what you say.

        Again, I urge you to give up most of your income to the poor and try real poverty out—instead of just posting about it on your website.

  • Bea

    Honestly Chris and Wendy – Stop running around with the poverty banner cause you are not living in poverty. Yes the definition of poverty is based on income and the number of children in your household. Since you have a large family you skew the equation and end up being labeled as living in “poverty”. Here’s the thing though in the US during 2010 the average American made $46,326. If I remember correctly you have stated that you made somewhere in the 40k range. So since the average American isn’t in poverty making that amount it must be the number of kids you have that throws you into “poverty”. Thing is like many other people have pointed out you have luxuries that very few poverty families will have (internet, trips anywhere regardless who you stay with, constant food, access to medical care).

    Our family has lived in poverty. We had a free roof over our head but no money to put gas in a car (not that it worked anyway) and barely enough food to feed me so that I could “feed” our infant daughter and provide enough of what our unborn child needed. I remember being hungry and I remember my husband not eating anything for days at a time so that I would have enough food to hopefully produce milk and give our unborn child the nutrients she needed. Where we creative with what we had? Yes. Did God bless us? Yes. In the end did everything turn out o.k.? Yes. But in no way would I EVER want to be in that situation again. We are not rich now but we are definitely comfortable. TRUST ME comfortable is better. Since we have lived in poverty, now that we have means we donate to many organizations that help others in poverty. We work in the soup kitchen a few weekends a month (we could never make it to the soup kitchen as it was 10 miles from us and our only transportation was to walk or bike – with one bike). Whenever we hear of a someone that is having trouble feeding their family (there are a LOT in District 20- you would be surprised) we go shopping and buy enough to feed that family for a month.

    While I think you have “grown” more tolerant to other viewpoints over the years its posts like this that show how much you truly do live in a little bubble. For that, my friend, I feel very sorry for you. Our family is at the Marion soup kitchen every third weekend (for sure) helping out and you are more than welcome to join us and see/talk to those that are truly living in poverty. I guarentee you that you attitude will change.

    • Anonymous

      Your genuine care for the extremely impoverished is one we agree. We’re Godchild donors, we support food pantries, even volunteered at Marion, no kidding. Funny, much of what you claim we have no experience in, well, you really don’t know us or our history as well as you might think. We have a lot to say about managing finances, living frugally, and — yes — poverty.

      We still stand by our statement: poverty is not a disease. No one should let it limit them, it shouldn’t let it bring them down, and opportunity is still within their reach. Insisting on how miserable they should be isn’t hope, it’s doom.

      • Bea

        Poverty isn’t a disease but it sure isn’t something I would wish for anyone. Instead of saying poverty isn’t bad why don’t you say what you did above that it shouldn’t limit people, bring them down, etc? Obviously you struck a cord with people with what you said but if you’re just trying to say that you can break out of poverty and it shouldn’t get you down that is something completely different.

        Yes you guys have a lot of kids and you make less than probably a lot of your neighbors (Monument does have the stigma of more well to do area like). You make things stretch and your kids have clothing, food, and shelter. You creativity attack the problems that occur in your lives. But the fact of the matter is not everyone in the US has that and for some there living situation is really bad. Some sadly will not be able to escape while some will. Instead of making blanket statements you should have (in my opinion) just stated what you did above.

        • Bea

          Of course maybe you wanted to start a conflict all along, I mean debaters are like that wanting to get people fired up and get their hackels up. Oh what…. that would be a blanket statement wouldn’t it. ;-)

          • Anonymous

            You would have been a great debater, no doubt! ;-)

          • kelly

            As a policy debater who debated 4 years in high school and 4 years in college this is simply not the case. Real debate is about an exchange of ideas and learning to turn things over in your mind and consider what the opposing view really means. It means in the round being fiercely competitive and contradictory but a good debater wins by his use of rhetoric and logic not by the emotional response of others.

            One of the best things I learned from debate is a willingness to be wrong and consider that which others put forth.

            Trying to get people worked up is propaganda, not debate.

            • Anonymous

              Stop attacking the posters, kelly. It has been some great discussion and debate, hardly propaganda.

              • kelly

                Who did I attack?

                I also didn’t claim this was propaganda. I simply said that something to elicit an emotional response is.

        • Anonymous

          We believe our message is of hope, not despair. Think of it this way: We refuse to look anyone–even someone in the worst of circumstances–in the eye and say that they should be miserable. There is no hopeless circumstance, which is largely our point.

          Thanks for posting, Bea!

          • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.jones.792740 Lisa Jones

            :)

      • kelly

        No one claimed it was a disease or that those in poverty were lesser than. I am simply saying that our job is to help not to tell other people they should be cheery about it.

        I don’t tell people how to feel.

      • Mark

        Actually, you can get lots of diseases because of poverty. Children die of poverty-related diseases, like malnutrition, every day. I doubt their parents find this to be the “blessing” you do.

      • Roddma

        No one said poverty is a disease. What most to mean on here is using your brain to better yourself. There is nothing wrong with a dozen people cramped in a trailer barely eating but there is something wrong if they never better themselves.

  • Math teacher

    Ha! I am a teacher in an inner city public school. Many of my students cannot afford warm hats and gloves in the winter. If you want to see real poverty, walk through the neighborhoods of Compton, CA; Akron, OH; Charlotte, NC, etc.

    You are whining about staying in host housing instead of a hotel? You do realize that there are many, many families who couldn’t afford to send their children to such an event, right? It sounds to me like you are completely ungrateful for what God has given you.

    You are not “poor.” Get over yourselves.

  • Babyholic

    Having grown up in poverty, I understand both sides of this argument in the comments. I think some of you are not getting what the Jeubs mean.

    I get it. There were many negative things about my life; when we couldn’t afford fuel for the wood stove in winter, and my parents went hungry so us kids could eat, when even Food Stamps couldn’t help us pay our bills, when we stayed in a home that was literally crumbling down around us because we could not afford to move. But many times these things weren’t due to the condition of poverty we were in, they were due to poor planning, misuse of finances, unexpected medical issues, lay-offs, etc.

    There were many blessings for us growing up poor. We saw miracles! We learned to be thankful, we learned to value people (even those we didn’t know.) I feel I am a stronger person with more compassion. I know my upbringing is why I have no materialistic goals in my life, and no real concern for money. We didn’t have enough when I was growing up, and I know my kids and I will be fine if we ever find ourselves in that position again. I know how to climb back out of that kind of hole, and keep a smile on my face, too.

    I do not fear change, even if it is negative change, because I learned to be adaptable. I learned to create my own future. Being poor does NOT have to be bad. It’s all how you deal with it, and what you learn from it. If I had grown up with everything handed to me on a platter, I might not have any idea how to survive when the economy took a dive and we find ourselves below the national poverty level. I might be one of those who commits suicide rather than face not having the luxuries I’ve become accustomed to. I might become the kind of monster who would take it out on my children because I am so bitter about losing what I consider my dues.

    I believe the love of money is the big bad guy. The conditions that go with poverty are little in comparison with the troubles caused by love of money.

    • Anonymous

      Gee, we were beginning to think no one agreed with us, or at least understood us. Thanks for posting, Babyholic!

    • Kbecul

      I grew up very very poor too and it was due solely to divorce. I do not like poverty, but I also don’t fear it to the extent that some do. I know how to work with it and thrive in it. Not far from here there have been many suicides due to lay offs. That is unfathomable to me! And so sad that people truly believe a lie with all their hearts – that God will not provide. Even in a not-so Christian family, God still took care of me. I went hungry but I did not die.

  • Hailey

    I guess I interpreted this post in a different way than the other readers. I read it to mean, even though the Jeubs live within the poverty level as defined by the government of The United States of America, they don’t feel like they are living in Poverty.

    I also read it to mean, even though you may not have a large sum of money and the US government defines you as “living in poverty”, more children are possible and always a blessing. More children may make you “poorer” but it is not a reason to not have children.

    Personally a few years ago, I lived well within the poverty line (as defined by The United States government) It forced me to make many adjustments to my life and appreciate everything I had. Eventually, when I could not find a job for some time, I started a business and was able to get myself above the poverty line. Even though the United states defined me as living within poverty, I did not feel as if I was living in poverty. It actually forced me to be more creative and appreciate what I had.

    This message gave me hope, even if the US government defined my family as “living in poverty” children would still be a blessing.

  • Heather

    Growing up in poverty I witnessed… as a CHILD… how God miraculously provided many times… healing when we couldn’t afford a doctor… a car when we couldn’t afford transporation… food when we couldn’t afford food… I think growing up seeing God provide has made it so much easier for me to trust Him with our needs as an adult with a family of my own.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Knight/1482829098 Steve Knight

    So what about the people who are not blessed by god? All the starving Christians are they blessed? Of course you should not let poverty get you down but guess what? people are human and they have problems and they can’t always see glory in their misery. Not everyone feels blessed by god. god seems to only bless some people and leaves others to suffer.

    • Karen

      Are you a starving Christian or do you know of any personally, or do you just assume they must exist?

      Many many Christian organizations have come about to help poor people. That is God working through us. The salvation army, Goodwill, Samaritan’s purse, I could go on and on. Even the red cross was started as a Christian organization. In many places Christians are opressed because of war. I don’t see how you can blame God for that. He didn’t start the wars.

  • http://titus2badger.blogspot.com Sarah

    Thank you so much. My husband and I are going through a particularly difficult time right now, as we have to decide between groceries or paying the bills at the end of the month. While poverty should not be romanticized, this post definitely encouraged me and reminded me that I could be spending my time focusing on things much more important than the state of our bank account.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Sarah. A quote from our new book reflects on how different we see finances the older we get: “On this side of our most productive years, we see much more value in family than money.” Or something like that.

  • Emily

    Poverty is neither good or bad. My grandmother who lived in poverty her whole life use to say “Poverty is not something be be ashamed of but it is also nothing to be proud of either”. I came from a family where I never had to worry about when my next dollar was and my parents never had to worry about paying for the groceries. They got this financial security by working very hard and doing what was best for their family. Being “rich” is not a bad thing either. It provides a lot of opportunities to help your family as well as your neighbors and others in need. There is not one thing that a poor family can have or develop that a family with a less limited financial situation can or do have.
    Would I ever raise a child in poverty? Absolutely not! Children deserve better than that. They are people who need real opportunities in life.
    It is usually the wealthy or at least those who are not living in poverty that donate the majority of the money to various social causes.
    I also find it somewhat strange that people claim that they are poor but do not depend on the government but at the same time claim income tax deductions etc so their taxes are little to nothing.
    I just get so tired of people putting down others who do not come from an impoverished family and that my successes are some how less than those who do.

    • Heather

      Though Emily, what would you do if you had children and then lost everything due to extreme circumstances, if you would not raise a child in poverty? Would you give your children away? Children have a right to “better”? And what “right” do any of us have to anything? And I think the argument would be… what truly is better? It’s all relative, and it’s all perspective.

      I’ve gone from being homeless with two children to having a $200,000 income with seven children. I have found being better off makes it so much harder to be involved in minstries because “poorer” people distrust your charity and don’t think you understand… yet I do understand what it’s like to not even be able to afford the cheapest shampoo.

      I’m learning the children of my “wealth” tend to be more selfish and have more of a sense of entitlement than the children of my “poverty”. My 7 yo tore holes in her jeans and I asked her why she did that, and my 4 yo said “just by her new ones”! My older children are far less likely to complain… they are far more likely to be content with the blessings they do have.

      I don’t actually miss being homeless, but I do miss our first humble home. It was easier to clean, we were forced to spend time together, because we had less rooms, we were forced to get along pleasantly. We had less stuff.

      In my big rambling home, we’ll have people over for Bible study and they’re so awestruck by our home and their children start comparing what we have that we don’t have… and I wish so much that we were back living within humble means. I’d sell this house in a heartbeat, and give what I could of the proceeds to charity if my husband would agree.

      I don’t believe people are putting down others for being rich. We’re just saying poor isn’t all that bad. And yes, we mean the US standards of poor. Coming from Europe to the States, I know the US standard of poor is still very wealthy. We in the US have so much, even when we have so little. The US gov’t's definition of poverty is still a LOT to give our kids compared to what the rest of the world’s children have. It’s nothing to sneeze at.

      • Anonymous

        You are so right on, Heather. Thank you for posting these profound thoughts.

  • hadi

    I know what you mean. If we’re too affraid to be poor, it will cause greedy, so we take the right of others and make others become poor. Many big corporations doing this, they envict people from a land (tradition society people that have no sertificate for their land) for their mining, plantation, hotels, golf field, etc, OR their industry activity cause nature problem and disturb other ppl’s access for clean water and air. And poverty limit that determined by American govt is arrogant, since American achieve their wealth by their greedy corporations actions in 3rd world country, and as you say live in little under poverty limit that determined by your govt is fine, while many of poor ppl in 3rd world country is really really poor and can’t enjoy their life. I think the real problem here is greedy. It’s okay to be rich, but don’t be greedy and interfere other ppl’s assets, but it’s not okay to be really poor so you have to work to earn sufficient wealth for your life. And I don’t think it’s a real problem if you have many kids as long as you and your kids are not greedy :)

  • Kathy

    I think many of the negative comments are coming from people who are uncomfortable with being convicted over their own standard of living so they are lashing out at the Jeub family for having the audacity to suggest we should strive to live within our means, or perhaps even below our means. This would provide God with the opportunity to bless us for HIS glory, not because we worked for the money to provide our lifestyles.
    My husband travled to Haiti in March of 2010 last year. They are surrounded by water, yet they have little clean water to drink. They are so impoverished they lack essentials for basic hygenie. However, whenever a Work and Witness team provides them with a well and clean drinking water, they are estatic. You see their poverty allows them to see the blessings God has given them. I think this is the point the Jeub’s are trying to make. By living in “poverty” we allow God to use others to bless us, and we in turn can bless others by sharing in what God has blessed us with. Scripture tells us that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter into heaven. I believe that is because when we are rich by our own hands we loose sight of our need for GOD. So go ahead and blast the Jeubs, in the end, you are the ones that will end up “paying for it” in eternity.

    • kelly

      I am not uncomfortable with my own standard of living. I spend a good part of every year doing service work and we give almost 40% of our income away every year to both tax deductible organizations and individuals. Our income is simply a reflection of the market for our jobs. It isn’t a reflection of who we are or aren’t. The same with those of less means.

      I merely have a problem with the Jeubs claiming poverty because they fill their needs creatively. I agree with the scenarios they describe ARE blessings…but that isn’t poverty.

      And the reason the Haitians are ecstatic over water is because that is a need! Those in poverty are extremely blessed when others help meet their needs. And more importantly I am blessed by being allowed to help with that.

      And I think it is very petty to threaten us with paying for it in eternity because we refuse to accept that living in subsistence isn’t good for people. Even you agree since you gave the Haitians water!

      • Anonymous

        You claim to understand other’s poverty, yet you have never experienced poverty yourself? Well, I’m glad you care, and it is good that you give so much of your wealth to the poor. We challenge you to give them hope, too, rather than insisting that they are helpless.

        Still resolved: Poverty is not a curse. It may be a blessing. The comments from Kathy refuses to give poverty victory, and it sounds like they experienced poverty firsthand in Haiti.

        • kelly

          I grew up homeless. I have relative affluence now as a 30 something.

          Homeless. Yeah..I think I know poverty. Also, I did a gap year abroad working in refugee camps.

          • Anonymous

            Homeless now? And you debated 4 years in high school? And 4 years in college? Now you have “relative affluence”? And you know our financial situation so well?

            Hmmmm.

            • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_APYDAQUQBP37YQYKNQ3DUGRBYM Mariel

              Posting this response from Kelly by her request:

              Dear Chris,

              Yes homeless and in and out of foster care and care of family members. I have two mentally ill parents who struggled my whole life. I now support both of them. Homeless kids can go to school. Did you know that? And we moved closer to family when I was in middle school and my parents were occasionally employed. We lived in section 8 housing and I worked at a Lee’s Fried Chicken and babysat for two girls whose father had been widowed and worked at a factory second shift 4 days a week. This enabled me to work more than I was legally allowed, keep the power on and some food in the house. It enabled me to study and do homework. (He came home at 1 AM, woke me up and I wandered down the apartment complex to my building 3 buildings away).

              I made debate a priority because I was good and combined with academics I knew it would be a way out of my life, repeating the cycle of poverty and abuse. I knew it could help me live in a house and eat food.

              I got a full scholarship to debate. It was life changing for me. It enabled me to get an education and eventually a job. It was a “poverty” level job initially (defined by the US federal government…but I had food, housing, lots of stuff!). I was able to earn a masters too. In something I found interesting and loved. I married my wonderful husband and unlike you our blessings were limited to one. More than one hasn’t been an option for us given the numerous pregnancy losses and depleted ovarian reserves. But I am ok with that. He is a wonderful child who I love and adore…the same way you love and adore your children. I seek to bless him as well…with discipline and experience. He is growing up in relative affluence but we make sure he understand that is simply the luck of what our jobs pay in the market place not a judgment on who we are or are not as people. Human beings are worth it no matter what they make.

              I work an solidly middle, middle class job. It isn’t life changing, but it is convenient. I am not homeschooling but my job has a lot of flexibility. I come and go as I please and it works out well. And it enables me to pay it forward…because during my time of homelessness and high school and college there were so, so many people who did bless me and help me become who I am today. The debate coach who made sure I had the materials even without money. The youth counselor from a local church I visited occasionally with a friend who sent me money regularly in college. The strangers who put my family up, bought us toiletries and clothing when I was 9 years old and the car we were living in caught fire in a gas station in Conway, Arkansas.

              I owe it to those people to take the financial blessing I have and find ways to do good with them. So I do. We donated more than my salary last year and my working is worth it.

              My husband is employed by a fortune 100 company in a highly competitive field (info security, specifically pen testing, forensics and fraud prevention)he is compensated handsomely.

              So Chris, yes, I am a modern day Horatio Alger story I guess. Homeless girl who grew up to be in the top tax bracket. Lucky financially because as we both know…money doesn’t determine the worth of someone. And because of all those blessings I was able to escape many of the damaging consequences of poverty. (Hi infertility! my depleted ovarian reserves are likely related to the malnourishment I experienced when I was very young). I am able to in turn invest in my community both locally and worldwide because I want others to avoid those things too. I have a wonderful family and inlaws (we live across the street from them…so yeah, family is important to me). And I am able to help support my mentally ill parents.

              So you can doubt my story…but for someone who claims that poverty doesn’t have damaging effects and is a blessing. Shouldn’t my story be one you champion?

              Kelly.

            • Alda

              Why do you say “starvation” is not a symptom of poverty? Rich people don’t starve. You are not starving. Those who live in poverty are in danger of starvation.

        • kelly

          I never said they were helpless. I simply have maintained you aren’t poor, financially or in spirit. Nor have you demonstrated the ways poverty is beneficial.

  • Kathy

    My post from the Jeubs FB page:
    I grew up poor and we live poor, by American standards. But I agree we are rich in blessings. It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. THAT is the true burdern of poverty. Eternity WITHOUT God!
    My husband is a pastor, we are expecting our 9th child. We are financially dependant on others providing for our needs. It’s very humbling. But we have learned so much! My husband does work outside of the ministry. In September of 2009 he was laid off from a very comfortable job, with a comfortable salary. He remains “unemployed”. God is still blessing us, He is running his own company, I’m doing what I can from home.
    A few years ago my husband lost his job (different employer). Our son Daniel (6) at the time needed shoes BADLY. I prayed with him, that God would provide shoes since we could not afford to buy them. A friend came to visit, doesn’t have small children of her own (all grownup) anymore, but brought a bag of clothing. On top were 3 pairs of shoes his exact size. This increased HIS faith SO much! God uses our poverty to show HIS riches! I am wealthy, in Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior!!

    • Karen

      Oh I have a similar praise! We don’t have a car so when we go somewhere a lot of times we have to walk, and my daughter really could’ve used a rain coat on those walks as just an umbrella usually wasn’t enough when the wind was blowing. Well one of our friends from church stopped by and just happened to bring a raincoat in her size, and one for our littlest daughter as well! There have been many many instances like that in our lives! God really is good. He knows just what we need.

      • Roddma

        You shouldnt have more kids than you can possibly afford. the Bible also says those who cant take care of their own are no better than infidels. Many smaller families are in this situation too but they saw fit to stop the baby machine. My problem isnt with large families but those who continue to have them but know they cant afford it and rely on others..

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362549172 Sabrina Scheerer

          The Jeubs aren’t advocating being dependent on anyone but God. If you read all their posts you will see that they specifically suggest NOT taking government assistance even if you think you need it or working to get off it as quickly as possible if you have had to use it (even if you still “qualify”). But they are saying that God will provide when you allow blessings into your life. Why is it wrong to accept bread or clothes or whatever else from someone who has a surplus? This is God’s people taking care of their own out of their abundance (which is definitely a Biblical principle). The Bible never tells people to stop having children because of poverty (or perceived poverty), this is the main point the Jeubs hope to make. It actually says a married couple should NOT refrain from sex except for a short time for prayer and fasting (and that was the only way at the time to prevent children), it does NOT say “for prayer and fasting and if you have more children than you can afford.” Its all about trusting God for your provision.

  • Miranda Fann

    Our income dropped dramatically when we moved to Oklahoma from Ohio a few years back, and our family has grown too. But one thing having little money has done for us is it has helped us distinguish between the things we really need and what we can live without. Trusting God through this time of financial trial has really helped us simplify our living drastically. While it’s been very hard, it certainly hasn’t been all bad.
    We haven’t even bought clothing in a LONG time…and we don’t let it be known to those around us when we need something, we just pray and by God’s hand what we need SHOWS UP! Not kidding! Even without the money. Sometimes He gives the money to buy it, sometimes He just gives the items. Like Katherine, we started out needing shoes for the kids (we are having our 7th in July) and had no money for them, and we prayed for shoes and people (some we don’t even know) started bringing us shoes to see if we could use them. We now have more shoes than we can wear! LOL God is truly faithful. “The Lord is a stronghold in times of trouble, and He KNOWS THOSE WHO TRUST IN HIM.” Nahum 1:7

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Knight/1482829098 Steve Knight

      so god just dropped money into your hands and clothes too? amazing.

    • Sola

      “we just pray and by God’s hand what we need SHOWS UP! Not kidding! Even without the money. Sometimes He gives the money to buy it, sometimes He just gives the items.”

      Wow, amazing. Perhaps you could share your secret with the world. There are so many people literally one step away from starvation who pray and believe just as much as you do yet for some reason God’s hand doesn’t fill their need. Perhaps if the starving of this world knew how to pray as you do, maybe God would help them too.

      Just think how many lives could be saved. We wouldn’t see starving emaciated babies any more.

  • robnznst

    I’ve lived years in a “poor” and “impoverished” life. My children watched me be creative in a seemingly hopeless situation. I had to make hard choices that not only included finances but the hardship of an “impoverished marriage”. Poverty has a very large definition and implication. I agree that poverty by US government standards requires very little thought to defend or refute because it only uses US currency as a guide. Yet, we all know the government can not truly define any one word to describe our lives. Some of my children have flourished because of their ability to watch mom make life work within poverty. Some of my other children are struggling as adults because of the “impoverished” life we led.

    Living now, without any want or need, I have to say I am able to participate in my children’s lives in a way that is helpful, creative and resourceful. No, I don’t rescue them, as they could not rescue me while I was struggling. We still come together to help each other when in need. The stronger are able to help the weaker.

    I think some of the negative comments may be coming from people who are not living “poverty” with support. You have someone donating bread. Be careful not to assume that all who fight the good fight and live by faith have bread on the table.

    I had to laugh a bit when I discovered that your premise for this post was based on US govt. guidelines. As long as I have known my dear Jeub friens, they have NEVER used the govt. to make a premise of defense. Just sayin’

    You know I love your family! You were an asset to my poverty years. lol. More than that, you are dear friends that I truly love and respect.

    Love that I’m actually chiming in on the debate with the debaters. Who knew I had it in me?

    Robin

    • Anonymous

      We love you, Robin! Thanks for posting.

  • Tammie E.

    Speaking as someone who has been on both sides of the fence (so to speak), I can tell you one thing… the best memories and most fun I have had with my family has come when we are without. Meaning the time when we have little but eachother … I have learned alot and grow alot during those times and while the majority of people today seem to think it is just awful to live without, I actually recommend it. I just dont see the need to fill our lives with “STUFF” .. you can’t take it with you, but LOVE is everlasting and doesnt cost any money at all. :O) I would much rather have the love !

    • Anonymous

      We have very similar testimonies. The best of times have been some of our poorest.

      • Angela

        I agree, my husband and I have been through poverty. When we were young (21 and 23) with 3 babies at home, we had nothing. Struggled to survive, but we pressed on and God *did* provide. I was given the exact stroller I wanted when my twins were born (although no one knew I wanted it) it was used and given freely. We had friends show up with popsicles when my morning sickness was out of control and I couldnt drive. Never have I felt so loved and cared for by the church, and by God himself. Those days were some of our best. We picked Christmas presents from the trash (side of the road not dumpster) and cleaned, sanitized and refinished a play structure for the kids. My husband made a Christmas tree out of a strand of lights we had. We were thankful and mindful of every blessing, big or small. A new maternity top, a church friend stopping by to help clean, free field trips to the fire station- it was all tremendously appreciated. We now have 8 children and God continues to provide for us in amazing ways. I hear your message loud and clear and its a great one. Thank you!!

  • Claire

    lol. You guys are getting reamed over this. Way to show people how “Christian” you are.

  • Allison H

    We may be “poor” but we are not less fortunate by anymeans. We have been able to do more with less and I have seen people who have more want more and do less with it. I guess my family is poor financially, but I don’t think we are poor. I don’t feel poor. If you ask our children I think they would laugh if you ask them if they think we are poor.

    What I am saying if I had a million dollars (with the exception of adopting) we would not change the way we live. We would still have a run down RV, drive used cars, wear hand me down and resale/yard sale bought clothes. We would still live on a small budget and find the cheapest way to do things. We would still think about every purchase and pray. I don’t think living frugally is poverty or should be considered poverty. Living within or beneath our means doens’t strip us of our love, our creativity, our drive to do the best we can with what we have.

    But we don’t have a million dollars and that doesn’t mean we should lay down and die or live in despair. Our world isn’t dependant on material or monitary gains. And it isn’t dependant on what others think God has blessed us with or what He hasn’t blessed us with. God expects us to work not lay around in pity and wonder “when is He going to bless me?”. (2 Thes.3:10: For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.) We need to be active and participate in our lives and not lie around feeling sorry for our situation.

    We may be poor by the world’s standards but we are happy and we lack nothing. So maybe poor isn’t the correct term? Maybe we are poor be we are not oppressed. We also give back to our community, even though by goverment standards we should be in the recieving line. I am thankful we live in a Country that, for now at least, doesn’t oppress its people.

    Thanks Wendy and Chris for this thought provoking article!

  • Margaret

    Chris and Wendy, I think you speak very well to the American idea of poverty, especially as “poverty” is frequently used as a reason that having more than 2.1 (or is it 1.7 now?) children is bad, irresponsible, foolish, and the like. My husband and I have never been above the poverty line. We are *rich and blessed* in comparison with the rest of the world, even in times when he was unemployed, or we were stuck paying two mortgages, or the economy tanked. It gets irksome to hear middle class Americans, or even poor Americans, go on and on and on about how poor and miserable and deprived they are (and how adding more children would mean “raising them in poverty)–while they are paying off two new cars and that lovely big flat screen TV.

    However, I do understand that some of the commenters are looking at different definitions of poverty, and that your post is not going to be well-recieved as something that is applicable to all levels of poverty. Poverty in rural Africa can be very, very bad, because it means starvation, inadequate water, disease-ridden water, no health care, no school, no clothes, etc. There is a big, big difference.

    That said, my husband was raised in poverty in Africa. The no-food, bad-water, no-opportunity kind of poverty. And he agrees with you that children are a blessing. :) He believes it is more comfortable and better to be able to raise your children and feed them well and educate them well, but it is not circumstances that determine whether children are a blessing or whether life is worth living.

    So keep on with your writing. We do appreciate it. But it might be good to address this from a broader perspective on poverty. :)

    • Anonymous

      A basic debate strategy is redefining the terms. Our proposition is: “Poverty is not inherently bad,” and we believe it is a freeing message that gives hope to those who are struggling financially. Insisting that it is bad (“really, really bad”) is checking the poor into a box of no hope.

      Commenters (or more accurately “blog trolls”…google the term) have attempted to redefine poverty in terms of the most hideous forms of despair, as if that’s what we were saying in the first place. This is a “Straw Man Fallacy,” an attempt to build up an argument that isn’t real because it would be easy to knock down.

      Most readers aren’t fooled. Thanks for posting, Margaret!

      • Flynn

        YOU are the one who defined poverty as not being able to purchase a bus or having to eat day-old bread. If that’s the case, then obviously poverty isn’t bad.

        Also, trying to argue that “Poverty is not inherently bad” is silly. Even though you personally may have found blessings within it, and while others may be able to do the same, the situation of struggling to feed your family or worrying about where you will sleep every night is certainly not inherently GOOD.

        I’d argue, rather, that “Poverty is not without hope.” Especially in this country, we can strive to make things better for our children. We can push education, we can teach them to be charitable, we can teach them what true poverty is, how thankful they should be when they are financially stable & how important it is to give back.

  • Cn

    And the Jeubs say, “Let them eat cake”…

  • Kayla

    I really fail to see anything good about the idea of children starving to death because they were brought into the world by parents who couldn’t afford to feed them.

    http://scrapetv.com/News/News%20Pages/Everyone%20Else/images-3/starving-child-sudan.jpg

    Where’s the blessing here?

    • Anonymous

      Kayla,
      (1) We aren’t talking about starving children. We’re talking about poverty, something 40 million Americans struggle with.
      (2) The image you link to is of an Ethiopian, starving not because of poverty, but because of the communist regime purposely keeping food from him in the 1970′s.

      • Kayla

        (1) Starvation is directly linked to poverty. People who can’t afford necessities starve if they have no support, and since you haven’t said anything about this post applying only people who are receiving aid, I can only assume it is applicable to everyone who suffers from poverty. When talking about poverty, we have to consider effects of poverty (such as children starving).

        (2) The name of the image is starving-child-sudan.jpg. Google “starving child”, it’ll be the second picture under images. Besides, you’re missing my point. Even if this one child isn’t starving to death because of poverty (but I’m pretty sure he is), there are millions of other children who are.

        Besides, it’s terribly poor sport to rebut my argument and then to block my e-mail so I can’t rebut your rebuttal. Not cool, man.

  • Pele

    So we are all on the same page here are the 2011 poverty guidelines:

    The 2011 Poverty Guidelines for the
    48 Contiguous States and the District of Columbia Persons in family Poverty guideline
    1 $10,890
    2 14,710
    3 18,530
    4 22,350
    5 26,170
    6 29,990
    7 33,810
    8 37,630
    For families with more than 8 persons, add $3,820 for each additional person.

    If my math is correct, this would mean a family of 17 (15 children + 2 adults) would be earning $72,010 and still be in “poverty.”

  • HJH

    Only in America would someone complain that not buying a bus is “poverty”!

    Awww. . .

    No wonder China and other Asian countries are beating us at every turn. They know what real hardship is.

  • Ya’halla

    Webster’s 1913 Dictionary
    Pov´er`ty   Pronunciation: pǒv´ẽr`tŷ
    n.    1.    The quality or state of being poor or indigent; want or scarcity of means of subsistence; indigence; need.
    The drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.
     - Prov. xxiii. 21.

    Do you lack the means of subsistence? Are you indigent?

    You should have been clear how you were defining the term upfront, then you would not have been misunderstood by those who were using the ordinary meaning of the term and not bureaucratic guidelines.

    BTW – that verse in Proverbs doesn’t make poverty sound like a Good Thing.

  • Momma at 16

    Let me just ask you something. Have you ever had to steal food, clothes, or other necessities? Have you ever lived on the streets, or in a car? Have you ever had to scam vending machines? Have you ever had to wash your clothes with shampoo? Have you ever gone without taking a shower for a week or more? Have you ever had to give up your own dinner so that your children can eat? Have you ever gone without a jacket? Or been forced to wear shoes with holes in them because you cannot afford to buy a new pair?

    Have you ever had to do things you are to this day ashamed of doing, because at the time it was essential to get by? Has your wife or daughter had to sell her body for just enough money to get some food?

    Come back and talk when you have to experience REAL poverty.

  • Anonymous

    One must be careful, of course, to avoid saying “we’re getting along fine, though poor” and we will have more kids, and at the same time seeking help from others to subsidize that process. If one has to receive charity from others to survive in the lifestyle one has chosen (key word, chosen), then one has chosen unwisely, in my opinion.

    • Karen

      I don’t have a problem with it as long as they NEED it. We all have a right to be here whether it was someone’s choice or not. Besides help is temporary, children are a lasting blessing and a boon to society, particularly ones who’ve been taught to volunteer and be charitable. Why it wasn’t that long ago that one of the Duggar kids saved someone’s life. And I know many great people who have done countless hours of service for others who came from big families so poor they didn’t even have shoes to wear, probably some of your relatives were as well.

  • L.F.

    I have never been without anything. So I really can’t say that I know poverty. However, as I’m becoming an adult, I’m seeing the value of living with less, and this post is helping to teach me that poverty doesn’t have to make you unhappy about life. That is true.

    But as I was reading some comments, it made me think back to some things I’ve been learning. Poverty, as you have shown, can make people be creative about their situation. But it can also force people into, as one commenter noted, dealing drugs, committing crimes, and doing other destructive things. Not so nice solutions. It’s often more than just one’s average income or amount of stuff that they have, but it’s a culture of poverty that can have many bad outcomes. That’s something that I think is worth working on in this country.

  • Pingback: Poverty: What's So Bad About It? (Part 2)

  • Karen

    So true even in my poorest of times I NEVER totally went hungry. I may have missed a meal or two and not LIKED what I had to eat, but I certainly never starved even when I went for several weeks with no income whatsoever and no savings leftover. God took care of me and I believe he always will.

    When you see really rich people on t.v. it is always the same, they are buying 2 million dollar homes, getting their legs waxed and plastic surgery, and whining about their lives. Riches are a blessing but who says God entrusted you with that money so that you may spend it on your pleasure and vanity?? Maybe He expected you to get a 200,000 home and spend that extra million on helping the poor. That’s what’s wrong with our world. Instead of using riches as a blessing we use it as – oooh lookey what I can afford now!

    I will take it one step further and say what is so great about being rich? Jesus said it was more difficult for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. With God all things are possible, but riches can be a snare for our hearts!

    And I can preach all I want but I’ve done it too. Do I really NEED everything I have? Even with 4 children and living below the poverty line, I’ve bought many many unecessary things.

    If you truly ARE poor and could use $25 or so for food or something, let me know I have been praying what to do with a little bit of extra money. I would like to help someone directly rather than going through a charity which eats up costs in paperwork. Contact me at [email protected] and tell me I am a Catholic and willing to help someone out.

  • Margie

    When I was 23 and so very fortunate to be living in the West Village of New York City during a blizzard, my puffy little white dog had to go to the bathroom at 3am, I put on my winter jacket, my dogs booties, and off we went for a quick walk..The Streets of my quaint neighborhood were completely quiet, New York City in a snow storm in the middle of the night is a sight to behold.. walking up the block of beautiful brownstones, a woman wrapped in a box- about 65 years of age, obviously homeless, tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I can let her in my building, she will just hide in the basement until the storm or the building supper find her, please..please… I am so cold ?

    The question is what do you do? Do you allow a person who is in such dire need to remain on the streets in a storm? Do you let the woman into your building? Is this poverty? Is this woman making a choice to live on the streets? Do you let the woman in?

    • Anonymous

      What did you do?

      • Margie

        Torn was the understatement- This woman by my youthful standards was elderly, freezing and in total need. I did not let her in my building – On a moral level, 27 years later that decision is something I still have trouble with… Poverty, homeless, elderly, living on the streets, a woman living by the graces of what the city and strangers gave.

        Would you open your home, in a storm to a homeless person?

        As we live and breath, it is difficult to speak the truth-in concept- of course–in reality??

        What would you do?

        • Karen

          Find her someplace else to stay, and if there was no shelter available pay for her motel room. That’s what I would do.

          When I was single I lived down the road from a homeless shelter. I would see a homeless man every day who drank and made no secret of the fact he drank. I would stop and talk to him or at least say hi when I saw him, once or twice ask if he needed anything but he said he didn’t. He would just sit on the sidewalk in nice weather. He never hurt anyone, he was just enchained by alcoholism. He lost his family and everything he had. That happens a lot.

  • Vicki

    If you are claiming the Earned Income Credit on your taxes, you are getting more back from the federal government than you paid in. It is essentially an income redistribution program. I don’t begrudge at all the fact that my taxes go to support families like yours. But I think you should be honest that living under the federal poverty line enables you to get that EIC money. Try to imagine the impact on your family if this federal anti-poverty program were to be eliminated.

  • Luvmyjje

    Sometimes I feel like my simple life is more of an inconvenience to others than to myself and family. To be clear we are not at poverty level, but still try to live frugally.

  • Luvmyjje

    another thought is the Bible speaks about thepoor not having many friends, etc…that can’t be fun….

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1362549172 Sabrina Scheerer

    Ok-just a thought I’m going to put out there…..this is a blog that lots of people follow, most of those people probably have computers and internet at home (ok so some might go to the library but they would have transportation to get there….). So, MOST people reading this blog aren’t “extremely impoverished.” I think that is a fair assumption. This was written as a response to the MANY people that say they “can’t have more kids because they can’t afford them.” So its not written to the single mom of 3 living in a shelter barely able to feed her kids etc. That is not the intended audience. So quit trying to make it apply to that situation. This is written for the typical upper-lower to lower-middle class that “thinks” they “can’t afford” more kids because some obscure standard of “poverty level” or “how many kids one can afford” or “how much it costs to raise a kid” has been imposed on them-and they believe it. Chris and Wendy are putting out there that you don’t have to make as much as the typical American (with computers and internet and many modern luxuries) think you have to make to have “more” kids. In other words, if you have a roof over your head, a car to drive, food on the table and clothes on your back why are you afraid of having more kids? Sure you might not be able to eat out twice a week or wear designer things or drive new cars but you can absolutely make it work.

    That is NOT to say that children should ever be considered NOT a blessing but I think Chris and Wendy would agree that a single homeless woman (or any single woman) should not be putting herself in a position to get pregnant? Therefore, that is not the intended audience (I’m not trying to imply here that that is the only situation in which one would be homeless just going with the stereotypes others have put out there…).

    In a stable, Christian family you can make a “poverty level” income work for a large family. And it can be a blessing to have to pinch a little and get creative. The whole argument is that “I don’t make enough” is not an adequate argument for not having children.

    Chris and Wendy-am I on the right track???

    • Anonymous

      Amen, Sabrina!

      There were some tv gossip sites that overreacted to this post and did what they could to hijack the discussion. You definitely added to the discussion, and this is what we were communicating.

  • Pingback: Poverty: What's So Bad About It? (Part 3)

  • RR

    Does anyone here know what it’s like to live in a car for 5years? Or how the car insurance, repairs, gas, maintenance, much needed cell phone, showers and other basics are to be paid? Try looking for work and being open minded and willing, only to acquire ‘crumbs’ for your efforts! Crumbs defined as rare opportunities to earn money. I don’t have a criminal history, or bad driving record, or drug habit, don’t drink. I’m healthy with some education and to be frank, I’m just tired. My will is depleted. I used to teach kids at church for 4 years, and I hope they don’t have to see me like this. I wish I could go to heaven now. Let me get out of the way, and not be a burden to society. Good for the rest of you that have no experience with extreme survival experience. BTW, staying in stealth mode so police won’t intervene is nice for stress.  God bless the poor, it’s hell.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lisa.jones.792740 Lisa Jones

    Wow, I didn’t read all the comments but I had some initial thoughts but mainly focused around this verse in Psalm and then other comments really made me think of it. Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story. We all have a story to tell and we all have experiences that are valid. It doesn’t make your experiences less valid but there are some concerns. The real truth is there are tons of people that go hungry in America, tons of children. Should they? Absolutely NOT!!!! There are people who are faced with the gravest of situations. I get to talk to so many people and their perspective is quite different, but marked with great hardships. I wonder if your post while meant for good really caused a lack of understanding based on people’s personal experiences. Paul says things may be permissible but are they beneficial. I am sure you were inspired to write this post and it has an audience. I hope that people are encouraged as they read it but it would truly be where they are and most importantly I hope your family is encouraged. It sounds like despite your struggles (and it is far from fair to compare struggles to other people’s situations) you have found joy.

  • RickStevens

    I think that the word “poor” stirs up so many different visions in one’s mind that the thought of being called “poor” is really an indictment on our current reality. If you look at folks we would have considered “poor”, look no further than the Ingalls family from Little House on the Prairie. In today’s world, Charles would be considered one of the “working poor.” They raised their own food, cut wood to build a fire, made their own clothes and had only one “vehicle.” Yet, they managed to survive and even thrive as a family (though a somewhat fictional representation of one). Today, I am considered to be among the “working poor” because my family’s income falls within that level of “poverty”. We make decisions all the time based on whether or not it is the best use of our money. You are absolutely right that those with more modest means of income have to be more in tune with the stewardship of their treasure, but we also have to remain stewards of our time and talents as well. I will finish with this thought, as someone who grew up taking “vacations” to stay with our relatives in Northwest Indiana, my life is much richer today having spent evenings talking with my aunt and uncle about a myriad of things rather than going to hotels and swimming in the pool. Wealth is not all about money. Poverty can be much more about the heart.

  • RickStevens

    I always find it interesting to read/hear what others consider the concept of “poor” to be. It seems that many often think of 3rd world countries where no one wears clothes and everyone lives in a mud/straw hut…sort of a National Geographic view on “poor.” The reality is that many Americans are part of the group that economists call the “working poor.” As a member of that group myself, we must always make choices regarding the stewardship of our time, talent and treasure – and more often than not, those choices involve a combination of all three. While I wouldn’t mind one day being able to make choices where treasure is not even a consideration, I can also say that my family “vacations” as a child to Northwest Indiana where we would spend 3 or 4 days with various aunts/uncles were some of the best memories that I have of childhood and I’m pretty sure that no hotel pool could have made such an impact on me as sleeping on my Aunt Mary’s couch did.

  • Doug Marvel

    Creativity is well expressed in business innovation, not living on the street trying to figure out who to beg for the next meal. This is the laziest form of creativity. It takes far more creativity to produce more income than to settle. Your kids would probably learn a lot more by seeing you innovate & fight for your family’s finances rather than settling.

  • Jennifer

    Chris, I understand what you are trying to say with your post, however, I think you are misusing the word poverty (at least as we understand poverty to mean in our society). What you are experiencing is not having much money, not to the point of not having “enough” money. And you are right, many Americans (such as my husband and myself) are in that situation, not by circumstances that are out of their control, but by how they (we) choose to live their (our) lives and it is “not so bad” because we have the means to make changes and correct our situations. What your readers are saying, and why they are so upset by this post, is that not having much money to buy “wants” (what you describe in your post) and not having any money to buy NEEDS are very different situations, and apparently your family (and mine), by that definition is NOT living in poverty.

    • http://www.chrisjeub.com/ Chris Jeub

      Then your problem isn’t with me, it’s with your US government. THEY attempt to define what “poverty” is, and I happen to fall into that definition now and then, and I resent that.

  • Janet Kiessling

    Blessings from the Kiessling family! We have this book that goes along with our homeschool curriculum: the Power for True Success – How to Build True Character in your Life! It has character qualities in it! And what the Bible teaches about True Success! I found a quote in there that I frequently share with our children: “Lack of money is God’s ‘school’ to teach us the importance of being generous when we abound. (See II Cor. 8:14)! ……….:) How true!
    Have a Blessed Day, Jeub Family!…..

  • MO

    “So…if I want health care for myself and those that I love, I am to want it equally for those who haven’t been able to find employment with companies that provide it. If I have the benefit of being able to get preventative care in a clinic of my choosing rather than having to go to an emergency room every time I get sick, I desire the same for my brother. This is a no-brainer for me. It is my Christian ethic. I don’t know how to make it all work – that is in the grey matter. This is a heart matter”.
    http://www.judyjeub.com/2012/the-inner-voice/

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  • Michelle Robinson

    I know this was an old post and old comments but, after reading some of the comments below I wanted to post this for those people who come back and read what they now should be ashamed and horrified that they actually posted what they stated.
    First off, to all of the hurtful people who called Mr. Jeub ignorant.
    If a person was actually ignorant, people wouldn’t tell him to his face that he was ignorant, just as a person would jokingly tell a person that they were retarded but they wouldn’t tell an actual retarded person that they were. When a person was taught to be respectful to adults, that doesn’t mean that when they become adults, that that rule doesn’t apply to you anymore. You should be just as if not more respectful to adults as you were when you were a child!
    Second, to all of those people who got jealous that the Jeub family wasn’t as poor as yourself.
    I don’t care if they aren’t or are. If you are living in the gutter with your family well, to bad for you. Mr. Jeub didn’t post this post to be attacked with jealousy. He was merely stating that if you are poor, it’s not that bad. And that’s is leading to my next and final point.
    Thirdly, to all of you who started blaming God.
    There is only one God. And he is a God of Mercy. A God of Love. And a God of Forgiveness. You ask yourself: “Why isn’t He blessing me? Why are there all of these rich people and so many poor people in Africa? Why isn’t He helping them??” (WARNING TO ALL OF YOU WHO ARE ARGUMENT HAPPY To a human’s ear this might sound absurd.)
    Sometimes God puts people in poverty for their own good. God made us to know him. Love him. And to serve him in this world so we can be happy with him in the next. That is the only reason we are here on Earth. Period. The end. Exclamation point!!! Only reason we live. When people are rich and have everything they need, they seldom say “Thank You” to God. They seldom pray to God. They seldom think that they need God. The reality is, yes they do. Without Him, they would be dust! God works through every, single person if they allow him to. Poverty is a very good thing sometimes for the soul. for it to stay connected with God. So, that’s why God doesn’t always immediately answer your prayer of him helping you. Most of the time, it’s for your own good. Even though that might sound stupid to you. But that’s the truth of it all!
    Sorry for this post being so long but, I got what I needed to say out. I feel sorry for you adults that commented below. Not for your poverty, but that a thirteen year old girl had to give you the basics of life. Merry CHRISTmas!
    P.S. I live next to a Benedictine Abby. The Abby of Our Lady of the Annunciation. In Hulbert Oklahoma. You might look it up and come see it. You would be amazed at the Monks that live in simple conditions. AND THEY ARE HAPPY WITH IT!!