The Scarcity Paradigm (by Joshua Walters)
I am a white, middle-class man working on a master’s degree. I’m supposed to eat lunch at anAsian-Fusion restaurant or Whole Foods or a sushi bar (tongue in cheek). I shouldn’t be eating the free meals that urban churches are cooking up for people in need, right?
Or… should I? I’m beginning to think that I – we – actually should be.
Thursday morning came and I stood on Broad Street in the Theater District of Philly. Across the street were giant billboards and flashy signs. Towering above me were BSM’s massive stained glass windows. Below on the street was a mixed crowd of people waiting for doors to open. I stood on the fringe feeling overly self-conscious. Were these people staring at me? Judging me by my appearance? Would anyone ask me if I was a new volunteer? Did they know I didn’t truly belong there?
These feelings remained throughout lunch. As I sat at a table of 8 people and enjoyed a three course meal I couldn’t help but think that I was a fraud of sorts. I didn’t need this meal, did I? Was I taking food away from those who might need it? Would others be angry if they found out I wasn’t “in need” as they were?
To view the world through the scarcity paradigm only serves to divide people groups into social classes based on materialism. This is precisely the kind of thing that BSM’s Breaking Bread is working against. Instead, Breaking Bread is a meal for all that provides a time and space to transcend boundaries of social class and materialism and meet on the level of common humanity. It seems strangely beautiful. And scandalously Christlike.
There isn’t enough to go around? I simply can’t believe that anymore.
There IS enough to go around. We live in a world of abundance and the Creator of this world is the God of abundance.
Joshua Walters is an M.Div. candidate at Palmer Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. Follow him at videoaudiodisco.blogspot.com.