Saturday, July 13, 2013

House Purchases and Social Justice

We have finally closed on our new house.  Now I own 2 properties in South Florida.  Well, to be more accurate, I outright own one house and I have a heavily mortgaged new house.

I've been writing a bit about our search, but I haven't written about the specifics much.  I didn't want to jinx the process.

I've taken the same approach in real life as online life.  A few friends know of this journey.  A few people at work know because I've had to rearrange work hours at some points.  But for the most part, we haven't told very many people.

Now I face the interesting task of saying, "Hey, you didn't know we were doing this, but we've bought a house!"

Will people feel odd that we didn't tell them earlier?  Why do I feel odd?

With our friends at church, and with some of our other friends too, there's an interesting social justice angle.  Lest you think my friends are judgmental sorts, let me hasten to say that it probably comes more from me than from them.

My inner 19 year old objects strenuously to this project.  She points out that if we're willing to spend gobs of money on a new house, when we have a perfectly good house already, that we should funnel that money instead to the poor and the dispossessed.

My inner 19 year old would not care one whit about housing values and crime rates.  She wouldn't give us a break because retirement approaches, and we need a house that will appreciate in value.

She would get huffy.  She would say, "There are only 2 of you.  Why do you need the luxury of all this space?"

Ah, we're back to that question, the one that haunts the Gospels, and not just the Gospels, but most spiritual texts:  are we living a life that's integrated with our values?  What does our use of our money say about what we truly value?

So, I am conflicted, as I have been conflicted most of my life.  I feel guilt because I have much and so many have so little.  I share what I have, but it doesn't alleviate my guilt.  It doesn't erase the sorrow that I feel because I have had opportunities while others have faced obstacle after obstacle.

I'm fairly I will feel this way my whole life. 

And truth be told, I wouldn't want those feelings to vanish.  I want that feeling of gratitude, of knowing that I have been the lucky recipient of much abundance.  I want to feel that sorrow for those who haven't had the same blessings.  I want my sorrow to motivate me to share.

And more than that, I want to continue to work for a more just world, one where abundance is more evenly distributed, where more people have all sorts of opportunities.

Jesus, too, wept over the plight of the poor and dispossessed.  And Jesus showed us all sorts of ways to work for them.  And the first place to start is prayer.

No comments: