Agree or Disagree: It’s time for us to have a discussion about poverty

Well it’s a historic moment in History…

Let’s not carried away, but it is the first time we have had a guest post!

You might remember earlier in the week, I wrote a story for the Calgary Beacon about a dance performance called Something to Say happening from April 4-7 at the Vertigo Theatre. You can read this story HERE.

The producer and the director of the show is Connie Jakab. She has her own blog called the Culture Rebel.

The interesting thing about poverty is it’s a very uncomfortable topic at times.It’s simple enough, there is us who has stuff and status and those who don’t. You can go downtown anywhere too see that.

I was shocked to learn that Calgary has the highest debt rate in Canada. If there is a city that has a need to have a conversation about poverty.

Connie has been very open on her blog about her struggle with stuff. So I asked her to write a post about this from her perspective. Hopefully this will give you something to think about going forward and talk about.

Here it is…

Does this ever reflect my life up till now. I’ve become frustrated with it. As of late, I have come undone with myself. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with mascara… and hats… and coats…. and scarves. Maybe add a little love for earrings in there too. And only if you consider – 5 pairs of Adidas, 4 pairs of boots (don’t be silly, that of course doesn’t include my winter ones), 8 pairs of heels, and an unmentionable amount of sandals of all colors and sizes – a shoe obsession, then I guess you could call me that.

I’m sick of it. Where has all this excess got me? Full of myself and debt.

I don’t know how it happened really – me coming to a place of disgust with my consumption – but I’m glad it happened. All of a sudden I was hungry to learn what it meant to really lack. What is poverty? While most of the world has been living on $2 a day, I’ve been sitting around thinking about the fact I don’t have an iPhone. In my own city, people making minimum wage can’t afford to eat or have a home. I wanted to know what reality was beyond my world of bling.

I started to seek out organizations working in areas of poverty. I was blown away by the poverty some live. But I was mostly blown away by the revealing of my own poverty: the poverty of the soul. While, yes, I eat well, have a home and things, I’ve discovered my poverty is the worst of all.

The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied… but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing. – John Berger

John Berger just nailed my poverty strait in the nose: I’m not a victim of natural scarcity, but a scarcity I’ve bought into by believing that the next outfit, a night out, more bling, more stuff will somehow help me “arrive” to a place of happiness and status. Scarcity that makes me think that there’s not enough for everyone so I better fight for what deservingly is mine. This poverty of soul creates in me a god…. a god of self. And when I’ve fully engaged in my new god, I can’t see a world in need, because I’ve been blinded by my own desires. The beggar on the street is only an eye-sore to me now, an inconvenience, a problem the city should deal with. He doesn’t remind me of my own poverty because I don’t see it.

Consumerism and the fight for status are igniting a poverty of the soul. It’s time to see poverty as something personal. It’s time for me to engage in the needs of my city; to make it the community my kids and neighbors can thrive in.

It’s time for me to rebel against the consumer society that blinds me to the beggar who can open my eyes to reality.

A Sunday Morning Rant

As I write this, some of you are about to enter a church service with your friends and family. Well, some of you will be a little late. I’m pretty certain most of your churches will start with a music/worship set. I’m also certain considering most churches focus on worship, that there are some very talented musicians leading this.

It seems too me we will get a set of some of the popular worship songs of the week or the year. Here’s my question. With the amount of talented bands and musicians in the church, why is it we don’t hear more original songs?  I’m sure they are talented enough too do it.

Does your community encourage this? Should we encourage this?


Soon is Here

Soon is Here

I’m very excited to introduce you to my new blog. I’ve been quietly planning this out for 2012 and it is finally here. It’s a step in the step of progress.

This will be the central place that you will read my posts.

It has been a long time and some planning to get to this point. I’m really quite intrigued of what the future will bring.

I know some of you are friends with me on Facebook, and some of you follow me on Twitter. Some of you do both. Some of you do none. I’m well known I think for my nightly Agree or Disagree discussion. I’ve really wanted to create the topic on Twitter however, with 140 character limit, that’s tough. The hope is the blog will give you an unlimited amount of space to express your thoughts and feelings.

The intention is for this place to be a central place for all to discuss. I will always use Facebook, but for those who don’t, I want a place for everyone to talk and connect. The discussion is important. So you will see more of this as we go on.

As I said this is a step towards a step as I have some plans going forward. Two of them will be some guest posters and hopefully some co-blogging as well.

This is what I’m hoping you will do (No, it is not to give me $30.00).

I would like you to Subscribe and/or Follow the Blog. Pretty Please with sugar on top? There is a place to do that. That should be on your top right.

In the top corner on the right you will note something called Etiquette. I would also like you to have a look at that as it would be some guidelines as to how to conduct yourself.

If you are a blogger, can you please let me know? I don’t care if you do it a little or a lot. Or if you feel that it’s not good enough, I would love to follow it.

The last thing is I would love it if you told your friends about this. So please retweet, share on Facebook, put up a poster! From where I sit, I think people need what this can offer.

Thank you for your time reading this. Welcome to the new world!