economic vs. spiritual poverty

God is on the side of those who need rescuing. God is on the side of the economically, culturally, and socially poor. I hear, far too often, economically comfortable Christians drawing quick correlations between physical poverty and spiritual poverty, making them equal. When we make economic poverty equal to spiritual poverty are we elevating our understanding of spiritual poverty or are we downplaying the seriousness of economic poverty? We start talking spiritual and forget that that Bible is talking physical. We want to justify ourselves--justify our wealth and comfort. We want to see ourselves as poor so we can say that God is on our side, but we can't do that in any economic or cultural way (especially if you're a white male with a $100,000 education, like me) so we start to redefine and shift everything into the spiritual realm, making our spiritual poverty just as serious as their economic poverty. We even begin to place spiritual poverty in higher priority than economic poverty and thus evangelism becomes more important than social justice. And it all starts with th fact that we are not poor and so we don't truly understand poverty.

If we begin with an understanding of how serious God is about economic poverty then, and only then, will we be able to talk about spiritual poverty. It's perfectly ok to talk about spiritual poverty but our understanding should elevate spiritual poverty, not downplay economic poverty. And we should never begin to underestimate how serious God is about economic, social, and cultural poverty.

So if you're going to talk about spiritual poverty, as you should, do not do it in order to justify yourself. Do not downplay real poverty just because you don't understand it. Take seriously the things which the Bible takes seriously.