This is a follow up on a previous post, Jeub Trolls and Haterz.
One of the most trolled articles concerned one that Wendy and I spent a good deal of time writing. “What’s So Bad About Poverty?” made an attempt to show that we Americans have a hyped-up delusion of poverty. (Good grief, a family my size can qualify for food stamps and still clear nearly $50k per year!) The article’s thesis: poverty is not inherently bad, that there are silver linings in every financial depression.
We thought the post was well-balanced and reflective of the blessings of life, no matter what your financial position. From the comments of some, you’d think we condemned hungry people to a life of starvation. Here’s a post from Flynn, one of our most loyal trolls, typos and grammatical errors intact…
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 … 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.
What did I learn from my troll friends? That looking down on poverty is much worse than understanding poverty. I know a lot of impoverished people, none of whom are as destitute as Flynn described. Flynn, like many of the trolls on this post, resorted to examples from India and Africa in an attempt to give their straw men validity, as if that bared any resemblance at all to our original post.
And this is what a certain mindset toward poverty does. The comments from the trolls (in Part I and Part II) went to great lengths to push poor people down. Put ’em in their place. How dare poor people think highly of their situation. Being poor, in their eyes, is the ultimate damnation, and how dare the Jeubs think differently.
Our message is one of hope. We’re speaking into the millions of struggling families, our attempt to encourage them and give them reason to be thankful for their children, for their relationship with God, and for the blessings that are there in front of them. Oh my, you have no idea how deadly such talk is to those who hate God. To them, in a twisted sort of way, their worldview requires poverty to be inherently bad because, if it could be good, it may explain why God tolerates it so.
Are the poor hopeless?
Poverty as hopeless: Such a view is pathetic, and hardly helpful to those “suffering” from it. Just the mere fact that people would be upset with us (who live dangerously close to the poverty line, for Pete’s sake!) for attempting to shine light in darkness is insulting. If anything, this is “ignorant, arrogant and hurtful.”
We think differently. God’s blessings can pour over the poor, just as they pour over the wealthy. Our 20 years of marriage has been a roller coaster of financial stress and blessing, but never of immense wealth, so we think we have a lot to say about it. Read it, friends, and be encouraged. Great joy, in Christ, awaits families who embrace their walk with God. How much money you have is no barrier to it.
Come to think of it, finding the blessings among the rich may be more difficult than those in poverty. Now that’s something to ponder.