where do we turn for guidance

Have y’all ever watched the show 30 Days by Morgan Spurlock. Very interesting… he’s the guy who made that movie Supersize Me.

This weekend I got consumed by watching a few episodes.

I don’t know if there was a mini-marathon going on leading up to this season’s premier but i caught three episodes… three that I had actually seen before. But for some reason they really impacted me this go ’round… particularly the minimum wage episode.

I haven’t thought about the minimum wage since i was in high school working at an auto parts store. But this episode grabbed me, spoke to me and I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit now.

In watching this episode, Spurlock shows rather effectively the difficulties of living on minimum wage and how families live on the edge every day. So many questions and issues spider-web out from this issue of living off of $5.15 per hour: homelessness, health care, psychology, child rearing, stress, spirituality, poverty, hunger, marriage, divorce, economics and the list could go on.

I recently began reading a blog called CRAP on Sundays because, like Will, I don’t really like to hear about politics from the pulpit and some of his posts resonate with me. But when I watch something like that episode of 30 Days, I struggle with the idea of absolutely no politically issues being mentioned from the pulpit. I voiced that sentiment recently in one of my posts, which was inspired by Will when he announced he was leaving the UU fold.

It can be argued that this (the minimum wage issue and its byproducts) is a moral issue. It is most certainly a political issue. Like most right brained people, I view the world primarily through my emotions. I see this issue and what stems from it and think, “that is wrong. We live in one of the wealthiest nations in the world and we have fellow citizens who live on the edge every day… and it’s wrong.”

But I have my logical side, too. I am no economist but I suspect goods and services will have to be increased for businesses to offset the raise which was signed into law in May of 2007. And so my logical, colder side says, “why is it my place to pay for someone else’s lot in life.” “This is a land of opportunity… some people have just squandered it.”

Sure, some people have made poor choices. Some people have screwed up. But many were born at the wrong place at the wrong time… way behind the starting line when the gun went off. A myriad of reasons can be thought up has to how or why someone has come to their lot in life… you know nature vs nurture, etc. They may have been dealt bad cards or just dicked up the good cards they were dealt.

But how will history judge us, those who had a chance to make things right, if we don’t. What will our children’s children think of us, if we didn’t act to make something wrong… right. (the emotive guy coming out again) And where do we hear about that which is right? Where do we turn for guidance regarding making things right for ourselves and the world around us?

I go to church on Sundays.

Then again… maybe I’ll just watch the new season of 30 Days. The first episode is about immigration.

[Deist makes a note to himself. “remind the Rev to preach about min wage… just don’t make it too political.”]

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2 responses to “where do we turn for guidance

  1. I think you’re right about this. State should be separated from church, but church can’t always be separated from state. When something is wrong, or has become a major issue of moral uncertainty, churches should strive to find the truth and the compassion in the story and bring it to the attention of people, even if they risk offending someone this way.

    You can’t please everybody all the time.

  2. It certainly is a fine line to have to walk. While politics from the pulpit drives me nuts, addressing evil and injustice certainly is fair game. In fact, identifying evil and injustice ought to be primary objectives for preachers.

    So where is the line drawn? Who knows? We probably all have different tolerance levels for such things. When it comes down to it, so much of it might just be the skillfulness of the preacher–how well the sermon is written and delivered.

    Can the preacher point out the injustice of poverty without making those who, for good reason, might be against a government mandated minimum wage (or raise of the minimum wage), feel that they are unwelcome for mere worldly political opinions? After all, wouldn’t the goal of a sermon be to try to convince the anti-minimum wage folks that they need to consider the plight of the working poor? And how are you going to convince them if they leave the service thinking they’ve just been belittled?

    There’s a difference between addressing injustice and demonizing those with whom you disagree, between identifying wrongs in the world and pushing a political agenda disguised as religious rhetoric.

    Good work, Jules. Let us know if your preacher takes you up on your suggestion.

    Will

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