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post a 250-word reply to each of two classmates’ threads.Major points are supported with textbook citations (and scripture, if applicable). Points must be elaborated upon and key concepts  must be demonstrated. Simply including a direct quote from the textbook will not earn full credit.

6 days ago

Anna Johnson

Forum 2, Module 3: Anna Johnson

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Forum 2, Module 3

Poverty is, without a doubt, one of the biggest and most widespread cultural problems in our society today. But poverty is no new problem…nor is it just a product of our tumultuous economy. Poverty can be seen in all times and places, and among all ages and races. Yet why is it that some people fall into poverty, while others within the same society do not? What are some social “triggers” that might lead a person into a life of poverty? And lastly, how can we, as individuals, change the trend of our culture?

Why do people find themselves in poverty?

There are many reasons why a person may find themselves in poverty. A person may be born into a poor family and thus, simply “inherit” a life of poverty; a person may be fired or laid off from a job and, despite their best efforts, fail to find another source of income; and, lastly, a person may simply be unable to work and make money–be it due illness or other health conditions (such as mental illness) that prevents them from doing so. 

What are some of the cultural components that lead to a culture of poverty?

Although there are many personal reasons one might find themselves in poverty, the individual is not solely responsible for their financial situation. The society a person lives in, and the influences of that society and government they experience, both strongly impact an individual’s personal situation. Some of the societal/cultural factors that contribute to the problem of poverty include national issues such as booms and busts, stagnant incomes, and a very high national debt (Henslin, 2014). Additionally, other factors such as a lack of governmental “encouragement” for people to find jobs (Welfare, Social Security, Unemployment Financial Assistance, etc.), and people that live in third world countries and experience constant devastation and destruction due to repeated natural disasters. 

What other social issues can cause someone to find themselves in this situation?

As Henslin notes in Social Problems: A Down-to-Earth Approach, social class has a huge effect on whether or not someone experiences a life of poverty (Henslin, 2014). For example, an individual that is born into a poor family has a very large chance of living in poverty their entire life–simply because they do not know how to “break the cycle.” Furthermore, many individuals suffer from severe mental and/or social impairments ans thus, find themselves in poverty due to their inability to function normally within society.

What can be done to improve this situation? and What should the role of the church and the family be in dealing with this situation?

There are many steps that can be taken to reduce the cycle of poverty. First, the government should make more of an effort to not only encourage people to pursue their education, but also make it more financially feasible for all people–regardless of finances–to get an education. Secondly, our nation should earnestly strive to reduce the extreme national debt we have accrued which would not only help our national economy, but also improve the individual circumstances of each American citizen individually. Lastly, we as Christians must remember our calling to, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy,” (Proverbs 31:8-9, The Holy Bible). Our ultimate duty as believers is to “[g]o and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19, The Holy Bible) and, as we are reminded in Psalm 9:9, “The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed; a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9, The Holy Bible.) As followers of Christ, we must fulfill the Great Commission and “love our neighbor as ourselves,” (Mark 12:30) which may sometimes mean we must step outside of our comfort zone, and into the worlds of those who experience poverty. Through providing assistance to the needy, we are simultaneously communicating a message they may not have heard before: that Jesus loves them and died for their sins, so they can live free in Christ. 

Although we may not be able to rescue people from a life of complete financial poverty, we can seek to improve their situation by providing for their physical needs, and, by doing so, rescue their soul from poverty, simply by using our acts of kindness as an opportunity to tell them of the greatest act of kindness every performed on their behalf–the death of Christ on the cross. 

References

Henslin, James M. (2014) Social Problems: A Down-to-Earth Approach, Eleventh Edition. Pearson Education, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts.

The Holy Bible, New International Version. 

2 days ago

Nathanial Totten

DB 2

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            There is no single reason impoverished individuals find themselves in their unique situations. For some, it’s by a series of poor choices whether through investments that have failed, gambling, poor fiscal management, and other decisions upon which personal responsibility rests. For others, the poverty comes through economic recession or depression, meaning they experience the negative consequences of factors beyond their control. There are homeless, impoverished veterans whose lives were entirely undone after returning from war. There are impoverished people who went to prison and were unable to get back on their feet after returning to the free world. Many perceive these forms of poverty as being the only or most pervasive, but it is worse than that.

It is imperative we acknowledge systems of oppression whereby people – especially ethnic groups and other minorities – end up in great poverty through no act or choice of their own agency. A report from the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy provided some incredible findings on race’s importance in the issue of poverty. According to their study, one-in-four Latino children and one-in-three African American children live in poverty; these rates are two times higher than those found in white children (Lin and Harris, 2009). By analyzing differences in vocabulary, the effect of familial environments on minority children in schooling, social networks, and public policy, the report found significant discrepancies between the wellbeing of Latino and African American due to deeply rooted systems of fiscal and social oppression compounded by class conflict (Lin and Harris, 2009).

Racial prejudice and its implicit inequity in the minds of the predominantly white males who shape and inform public policy have much to do with the propagation of systemic injustice throughout the course of history. Colonialism, manifest destiny, and historical bias towards white supremacy have propped up the white working class and upper echelons of society through policy that is self-benefiting. This is a cultural issue many thought was over after the Civil Rights victories in the courts and Congress in the 60s and 70s, but that blindness to the true issue has allowed more subtle forms of racism take shape through systemic means such as mass incarceration, the war on drugs, etc.

I would consider racial injustice as being the most significant issue within the conversation around poverty. The first step in dealing with this is acknowledging white privilege, finding ways to see and eliminate it where it exists. By seeing the problem, we can make well-informed policy decisions crafted by those for whom they are intended to work, and in doing so, allow for our systems to begin readjusting. I’m not educated well enough in these issues to provide anything beyond my simple white, privileged, male perspective on something that has never negatively affected me. However, I believe it is my responsibility to leverage my influence and privilege to benefit those being harmed under the weight of racism and injustice.

It is devastating that the church has so often been responsible for permitting and supporting racism through slavery, segregation, and its historical tendency to prop up white persons as being somehow ideal. The church has had incredible responsibility in oppressing, hurting, and destroying the lives of minority figures. What it can do now is embrace its role as the champion for social justice, working without ceasing for equity and justice as is essential to the Kingdom of God Jesus so often referenced. In seeking justice through compassionate means, the church more adequately embodies the Christ it says it exalts.

Word Count: 591

 Source:

Lin, A. C., & Harris, D. R. (2009). The Colors of Poverty: Why Racial & Ethnic Disparities

Persist (Rep. No. 16). Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan.

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