Camden · Philosophy · theology · urban · urban ministry

How do we help the poor?

“There still are some things that Camden has to offer,” Tony told me last summer.

Camden is one of the poorest cities in America.

“What is that?” I asked.

“Camden still has waterfront property. Right on the banks of the Delaware.”

“Really?” I said.

“Yeah,” Tony smiled only the way that Tony can smile. “A good place for any rich white guy to live.”

Tony is a twin. He told me this last year. I remember the exact day—July 4. I remember because it was raining cats and dogs. Rain has a way of cementing memories in your mind.

“So the waterfront property is worth a lot?”

“Yeah, dawg. It’s prime real estate. Developers are buying it up, kicking the Puerto Ricans like my parents out, and rebuilding the waterfront property block by block. The poor and the squatters just get thrown out because they can’t afford to pay rising housing costs.”

“So where do they go?”

“They go where they can,” said Tony on the fourth of July. “It’s uncle Sam, man. It’s the American Way.”

—————
There has recently been a very good conversation going on about how best to help the urban poor in America at young anabaptist Radicals blog. It underscores an important point I made earlier on my blog here. Please consider some of these things for the sake of the children there.

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2 thoughts on “How do we help the poor?

  1. Yes, sadly it IS the American way, but is it the way of Jesus? I don’t think so. The Hebrew prophets thundered their condemnation at the developers of their times (check out Amos).

    I like some of your ideas, and while I don’t know that I can quite make the step of moving children into an area like this, I know some Monks and Friars and Nuns who do exactly this sort of thing. Moving into an area, to help build the Kingdom – a person at a time.

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