Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The theological poor

I saw this quote from Jose M. Vigil this morning (via):
Theologically speaking, 'poor' refers precisely to those who are 'the victims of injustice.' God does not opt for the poor because they are poor (economically or materially), but opts for the poor because they are 'the victims of injustice.' Economic poverty is not in itself a theological category, but injustice, often a cause of economic poverty, is a theological category. Theologically considered 'the option for the poor' is in reality an 'option for the victims of injustice.' If it is called 'option for the poor' this is due to the fact that the poor (economically) are the primary victims of injustice and its par excellence expression. Speaking with theological precision, the subjects of this option for the poor cannot be identified with the 'economically poor' in themselves nor with 'the poor who are good,' or with those who are 'poor in some other sense of the word' or who are 'poor in spirit' (because of the metaphorical word games, all of these definitions are elusive and inadequate), rather the subjects of this option are 'the victims of injustice,' economically poor or not, metaphorically or not.

This makes a great deal of sense. I was just reading from Exodus 23 the other day where it says in verse 3, "Don't favor the poor just because they are poor." Certainly Scripture is clear that we ARE to look after the poor, and it's not like the church is doing a stand-up job of it, but sometimes I think we have a tendency to see the poor only in the economic sense, and we can often be biased against those with money; when they, in fact, might be just as "poor." I believe we also fail to usually recognize that "poorness" is often a result of an injustice, rather than a simple stand-alone malady. A nice little piece, I thought.

The full article is HERE.