From the Apostle Paul:
Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. (1 Corinthians 4:8-14)
From Twenty-Four Hours a Day:
I am not so envious of other people, nor am I so jealous of other people’s possessions and talents. When I was drinking [insert out-of-control behavior], I was secretly full of jealousy and envy of those people who could drink [insert moderate behavior] normally, who had the love and respect of their families, who lived a normal life and were accepted as equals by their friends. I pretended to myself that I was as good as they were, but I knew it wasn’t so. Now I don’t have to be envious anymore. I try not to want what I don’t deserve. I’m content with what I have earned by my efforts to live the right way. More power to those who have what I have not. At least, I’m trying. Have I got rid of the poison of envy? (Nov. 25th)
More from Homeboy Industries director, Father Greg Boyle:
If we choose to stand in the right place, God, through us, creates a community of resistance without our even realizing it. To embrace the strategy of Jesus is to be engaged in what Dean Brackly calls “downward mobility.” Our locating ourselves with those who have been endlessly excluded becomes an act of visible protest. For no amount of our screaming at the people in charge to change things can change them. The margins don’t get erased by simply insisting that the powers-that-be erase them. The trickle-down theory doesn’t really work here. The powers bent on waging war against the poor and the young and the “other” will only be moved to kinship when they observe it. Only when we can see a community where the outcast is valued and appreciated will we abandon the values that seek to exclude…
Funders sometimes say, “We don’t fund efforts; we fund outcomes.” We all hear this and think how sensible, practical, realistic, hard-nosed, and clear-eyed it is. But maybe Jesus doesn’t know why we’re nodding so vigorously. Without wanting to, we sometimes allow our preference for the poor to morph into a preference for the well-behaved and the most likely to succeed, even if you get better outcomes when you work with those folks. If success is our engine, we sidestep the difficult and belligerent and eventually abandon “the slow work of God.”
Failure and death become insurmountable.