It seems like that “incarnate understanding of poverty” is what most people go out of their way to avoid, and it’s only by treating charity as something we roll up our sleeves and actively do that we not only get the larger good effects, but we get the closer to home notion of what it is we’re actually working towards, and a better understanding of the sort of change in the world necessary to really bring that shift about.
Godly passion has been reduced to lust, just as our thirst for knowledge has degenerated into a need for amusement. Our most passionate quest, in fact, is for entertainment: to be distracted and amused by computer games, Internet pornography, sports events or “must see” TV. [emphasis mine]
This, I think, is the core of the problem: We seek out banal diversions instead of actively engaging our neighors. As Dan says, we “go out of our way” to avoid engaging people when, in fact, working to engage people is exactly what we should be doing… it is going to bring us the most satisfaction than another episode of our favorite TV show. I see my own failure here. I’m certainly not in a position to tell others to do what I haven’t yet accomplished, but I know from past experience how refreshingly authentic an “incarnate understanding of poverty” is. My struggle is to stop being distracted and to start making time to engage those I can help.