I’m partway through reading a Fastcompany special report on China in Africa. Very interesting…
It is not love in the abstract that counts. Men have loved a cause as they have loved a woman. They have loved the brotherhood, the workers, the poor, the oppressed – but they have not loved man; they have not loved the least of these. They have not loved “personally.” It is hard to love. It is the hardest thing in the world, naturally speaking. Have you ever read Tolstoy’s Resurrection? He tells of political prisoners in a long prison train, enduring chains and persecution for the love of their brothers, ignoring those same brothers on the long trek to Siberia. It is never the brothers right next to us, but the brothers in the abstract that are easy to love.
— Dorothy Day, “Meditations”
This also is theft, not to share one’s possessions. Perhaps this statement seems surprising to you, but do not be surprised… just as an official of the imperial treasury, if he neglects to distribute where he is ordered, but spends instead for his own indolence, pays the penalty and is put to death, so also the rich man is a kind of steward of the money which is owed for distribution to the poor. He is directed to distribute it to his fellow servants who are in want. So if he spends more on himself than his needs require, he will pay the harshest penalty hereafter. For his own goods are not his own, but belong to his fellow servants… I beg you to remember this without fail, that not to share our own wealth with the poor is theft from the poor and deprivation of their means of life; we do not possess our own wealth but theirs.
— John Chrysostom (347 – 407)
That bread which you keep belongs to the hungry; that coat which you preserve in your wardrobe, to the naked; those shoes which are rotting in your possession, to the shoeless; that gold which you have hidden in the ground, to the needy. Wherefore, as often as you were able to help others, and refused, so often did you do them wrong.
— Basil of Caesarea (329 – 379)
Five years on the Darfur conflict continues to languish. Why, interests me. One thought is the conflict lacks a compelling contrast and antagonist to draw attention to the story. With words like “genocide” it sticks in the back of the brain, but against other conflicts it seems not to arouse the emotions of injustice as readily… and so it languishes in the minds eye.