What does it mean to stand “with the poor”?

Written by on April 5, 2009 in Helping Without Hurting, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments


I’m a follower of Jesus shedding religion. When I think of being with the poor, or loving the poor, it’s over my head — meaning I need a lot of grace.  Here’s a post on Geography of Grace entitled “With the Poor: Three Conversions” (the meaning of the word “conversion” is to change your way of thinking/direction).

I can identify with each of the three conversions: 1) becoming oriented toward the poor and discovering Christ with the poor, and 2) beginning to feel anger over the structures and systems that oppress the poor and 3) working side-by-side WITH the poor to change the spiritual and material conditions.

The third conversion begins with a crisis of disillusionment. We realize the poor are not going to cooperate with our ideals and grand ambitions to help. They do bad things, fail to make good choices, and settle for less than we hoped. The author calls the third conversion the movement into solidarity with the poor.We join with them — accepting the joys and sorrows, celebrations and failures that come with the territory.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .


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