Episode 28

We Don't Give a Damn About the Poor

Bishop Julius C. Trimble is the Resident Bishop of the Indiana Area of the United Methodist Church.

Bishop Trimble has the personal mission to encourage all people with the love of Jesus Christ to rise to their highest potential. It is his commitment to his personal mission that led Bishop Trimble to create the “To Be Encouraged” Podcast along with co-host Rev.Dr. Brad Miller.

Bishop Trimble says, “I am compelled by Jesus to share with you an encouraging word or two about Jesus, theology, the Bible, the pandemic, the environment, racism, voting rights, human sexuality, and the state of the United Methodist Church.”

To Be Encouraged with Bishop Julius C. Trimble is to be published weekly and is available at www.tobeencouraged.com and all the podcast directories.


Episode 028 is a Bonus Episode Original Heard on The United Methodist People Podcast Episode 48


Brad Miller:

Poor Bishop. First of all, welcome to the podcast today and tell us a lot about this article.

Bishop Julius Trimble:

Thank you so much, Brad. appreciate the invitation to be in conversation with you and, and others to lift up things that I think we as Christians, United Methodist, and people of goodwill should be concerned about. My 20 years ago, I heard Tony Tony Campolo even use harsher words than then Damn, but also in reference to us not caring about the poor. And it was a critique of Christians. Self critique should I'd say not Not, not to point fingers to others, but to but I think more of a confessional statement, as well as a critique is that if we really did care about the poor, we would be concerned not only about charitable response, or acts of mercy, but also acts of justice and acts of both government structural change, and also a greater commitment to those at eradicating those things that cause poverty. Tony Campolo is not the only person that heard raise that concern to I believe, Jesus raised the concern about about the poor and Reverend Joseph Lowery, I've heard say things very similar to this, as well as my own pastor when growing up in Chicago, who was very much concerned about persons who were growing up in poverty, even in a in a relatively wealthy city like Chicago.

Brad Miller:

So you've seen that you've heard Paulo and other folks talk about this. But what has happened recently that's caught your attention about the plight of the poor? And why have you pointed out how in our current society and our current culture, we just don't seem to give a damn about it.

Bishop Julius Trimble:

Because I think we have elevated our partisan politics, theological impasses, are how our own personal preferences for freedom of choice above what I consider the concern for the common good, and particularly those who are most vulnerable. So the reason that prompted me to write the article was because of the current debate, an impasse around the the bill that the President Biden and the Democrats are in squabbling about and the Republican Party, as pretty much put up a political or partisan blockade against the passing of the I think it's called build back better provision. Because in during the time of the pandemic brand, 100 million people this is globally have been added to the what we would consider the rows of the poverty, that's that's caused by many things, including famine, including the great number of people who are in the process of migrating or riff that that the the tremendous influx of refugees, climate change, and places even in wealthy countries where people don't have a living wage. So I think for us to stand on the sidelines and not weigh in as people of faith and people who are committed to the common good. While politicians and others can't seem to agree on what is what is an appropriate amount of, of debt for the country to go in, really makes us bystanders. And as, as recently I heard, there's no such thing as an innocent bystander. You're either you're either engaged in, at least at minimum, the discourse around what could be different. And we've been called not only to make disciples and call people to Christ, but to transform the world. So I raised this article because I think it's both confessional as well as it is to be convicting that if we are to transform the world, certainly we can't be accepting you know, 1314 15 million children going hungry in the country is rich is the one we live

Brad Miller:

in. You know, there's certain I think there's a certain level of Bishop here Eva and I just kind of have to say it's got to be sinful, you know, we got to we got to call it what it is. I think I'm reminded of Matthew 25 Jesus taught me you know, the goats and so on and and about, you know, if you did the least of these you know, if you fed the hungry you know, you've done good if you if you Both give thirsty to the poor or thirsty to give drink to the thirsty and so on. What's your taking a biblical perspective on this or speak to you know, this issue about how if we're if we don't care about the poor, as a church, and do what we can in the in the political realm and other things, what are we doing? What are we doing speak to the biblical spiritual part of this?

Bishop Julius Trimble:

Well, again, let me quote, Mike slaughter, but I don't think he's the first. He he's really quoting from the gospel. He says that the gospel is not good news that Jesus say, Come to proclaim good news, good news to the poor, if it's not good news to the poor, it's not good news at all. It's not really gospel. Of course, Jesus is quoting the Prophet, Prophet Isaiah. And so if we don't pay attention to the Matthew texts, that says, you know, what, you have not done to the least of these, you, you're not also done unto me, then we really are preaching a truncated gospel, we are proclaiming the gospel that is not that is not that is not holistic, or or, or life changing, for those that need it to be life changing?

Brad Miller:

Well, let's just focus for just a minute, as we have now talked about the kind of the painful part for with us some of the political part about how the squabbling just means that people get left out. We've touched on the biblical piece. Now let's talk for just one or two more minutes about the application for a local church pastor or a local church ministry, whether it be a food pantry, or some sort of a sort of housing issue, or counseling, or whatever. What are some of the things in the local church, a pastor or people can do to really, really serve the poor here and show that they do give a damn about to board?

Bishop Julius Trimble:

I think I think a key thing is for us to engage people who can help us build relationships with those persons who may be closer than we think in our communities. This could mean working with refugees, this could mean working with local community organizations that are engaged in ministry with those who are poor. And by poor, I mean, people that could be the working poor, I mean, people that may have been disenfranchised people that may have different abilities or disagree with considered disabilities, but but have been left outside of the don't have the freedom to choose, you know, whether to have an hepper a vaccine or not, or choose whether or not to, to work remotely or not. People who have been left outside of the workforce. So I think one of the things that I was turned on to because someone responded to the article was think it's called fast, pray, give is a website you can go to, and you fast one you fast, one meal, you pray, as the Bible destructions, and you gave the the amount of money you would have spent on that one meal you give, which goes towards helping to provide meals for those who are hungry, I think it's fast prey give, it's a website that you can go to. And that was referred to me in someone's in response to, to the article. Several people have responded and said it was inappropriate for me to use language like that. But I do also recall and Tony Campolo shared this as well as Joe Lowry and others have shared, they said that we we get more upset about language of indignation than we are about the the the desperate indignation of the fact that we have people who are suffering, poverty, that that don't have to that it shouldn't necessarily be that way. And our our inclination is often to blame the victim, as opposed to engage in ways that we can I think churches are doing great things I did not mean to be for it to be a kind of a condemnation of that which we do, because I think mercy and charity are parts of what we need to do. But it also needs to be coupled with acts of justice. So Congress, congregations could be saying, we want to advocate for living wage in our community. So whatever companies are in in whatever jobs, we advocate for living wage congregations can say, how can we support not only our local food pantry, but also support, access to transport transportation for people to be able to get to employment, or to be able to get to schools, part of our one of our mission initiatives, children matter most is an invitation for us to adopt our schools that are close by many of our rural communities, schools are in desperate need for partners. That would also be looking out for those who who are less fortunate maybe, then we might find ourselves. There's a lot of rural poverty in the United States and in the state of Indiana.

Brad Miller:

Sure, there well, there's kind of an assumption that poverty is only in the urban areas or something like that certainly is not the case. And certainly we've seen some transitions with the COVID crisis and other things, some massive shifts and wealth and other things have happened. But you've given us some great thoughts to ponder and to apply. I love it when you give us the practical things Bishop, to apply in our churches, for pastors and for local churches to apply to their communities. So thank you for being with us here, today. And any part you have, you're all about being encouraged any parting words of encouragement to to our listeners here today, before we save, say goodbye.

Bishop Julius Trimble:

I want to say be encouraged to everybody. We want to give people Jesus, but also help them get jobs. We want to give these people prayer, but also help them make sure that they can have provisions for their children. When the holidays roll holidays roll around. I'm always inspired when I see these special stories about employers who are employer employing former felons and employing people that may not have higher education degrees, people who are providing opportunities, and I think we who are in the faith community, not only need to encourage people with the gospel of Jesus Christ, but also encourage them with an opportunity for relationships and community.

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