Thursday, August 23, 2012

Comparing Opiates of the People


I just happened upon this site, but it looks like it is definitely deserving of bookmarking.

The quest for dignity in poverty:

"...I find it hard to imagine what power on earth other than belief in God will give those men the strength to get off drugs and take the steps that they might to change their lives for the better. This does not make religion true, I understand; but what else do you have?"

I have also thought about this with respect to my own relatives just a few generations back in Poland. They were poor, but religious observance, and particularly observance of the Sabbath gave them a dignified life. All efforts went into making the Sabbath something special, something to be proud of-a smaller piece of a better meat, a treasured fruit, a special soup, white tablecloths. It is something to be proud of.

Observance of the Sabbath elevates the spirit and the soul-even for Jews who are not religious, there is something timeless and honourable about it. 

I found this part very moving as well, for the same reasons.

"This afternoon I had a nice long visit from a childhood friend who is a country preacher. This man and his family have known real poverty, and real suffering. His discovery of faith — simple Christian piety, believed with a stout heart — has brought to his life so much dignity, order, and gentleness, and peaceability. He’s a working-class white man, married to a black woman, and he preaches and worships in the black church.  That is not an easy thing to pull off in the Deep South, but he does it."

"He sat on my screen porch, rocking in a rocking chair and talking about prayer, and teaching me. I kept thinking about how this man has a high school education, but he knows so much more than I do about things that matter, because he has lived it, and prayed his way through it. How badly things could have gone for him, and have gone for more than a few folks around here who had it as hard as he did growing up. But he found Jesus as a young man, and that has made all the difference."