The Hidden Poverty of Affluence

ChurchLeaders | 10/17/2019 | Staff
emilia (Posted by) Level 3
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There is a definite hidden poverty of affluence among people in our world today that we must talk about.

When our family moved to Nashville from our 850 square-foot apartment in New York City, we were hoping for more living space… but not too much more. We had grown accustomed to the smaller space, which drew us together and enabled us to live more simply. We asked our realtor to find us a modest house within five miles of the church where I would serve as pastor. “Anything around 2,000 square feet will be plenty,” we told him. But the smallest house he was able to find for us – the house where we now live – is almost twice that size.

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Moving day would be the first glimpse that either of our daughters would have of our new home. When we arrived, our justice-driven, sometimes bleeding heart, sensitive-to-global-poverty daughter exclaimed that the house was too much. Way too big. Why do we have so much space? This standard of living seems wrong. Although we didn’t say it out loud, in some ways Patti and I felt the same.

Two ironies soon emerged from this moment. First, our 3,650 square foot house ended up costing us about half of what the 850 square-foot New York apartment did. Secondly, within weeks, we all noticed that our big house was starting to feel small relative to some other homes we had visited.

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Our former New York church and our Nashville church are unique, as both churches have an unusual number of well-off and “celebrity-types” in the mix. This has forced us to wrestle with the question of wealth and fame. What does Jesus think about wealthy people and celebrities? Is there a place for them at his Table and in his circle of friends? Are others...
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