I’m Tired, Too

I’m 39 years old.  I’m the father of five-year-old twins, a husband, and a pastor. I’m tired – exhausted, even – much of the time.  I routinely put in 50+ hour weeks between all three of my aforementioned responsibilities (in truth, more like 90+).  I make a decent, though hardly lavish and at times barely adequate, salary.  One day I hope to retire, but seeing that just about every penny that currently comes in goes right back out to our median-range mortgage, our cars (both run-of-the-mill Hyundais), utilities, groceries, our kids, and other basic expenses I’m not terribly optimistic. We’re saving what we can, but it’s a far cry from what we really need to accumulate a sufficient nest egg.

I’m tired and, yes, a bit jaded.  But more than anything I’m dismayed.  I’m dismayed that folks like Robert A. Hall seem to think that the mess we’re in is simply the result of lower standards or loose morals – and that everything would be better if people simply had more discipline and dedication.

If you’re on Facebook or other online social media platforms, you’ve probably seen Mr. Hall’s diatribe – although not attributed to him.  It cycles through Facebook attached to a picture of Bill Cosby.  I received it (again) last week.  Cosby didn’t write a word of it, however, and has officially distanced himself from the comments.  Snopes.com has traced the rant to an entry posted by Mr. Hall, a former Massachusetts state senator, on his personal blog back in 2009.   The Snopes entry is dated to August 2011.  The fact that the piece is still circulating in 2013 with the Bill Cosby attribution is the first indication of how disconnected it is from the present.

I am not entirely unsympathetic to Mr. Hall and those who keep his “opinion piece” alive.  I have no doubt he worked very hard to accomplish all that he has in his 83 years.  I also imagine the 21st century is an uncomfortable, disorienting, and perhaps even frightening place to him and many others of his generation.  The world has changed.

But that’s the kicker: things have changed, REALLY changed.  Some things have changed for the better.  Others have changed for the worse.  Either way, the past cannot be the sole criterion for evaluating the present.  We have to consider why certain things were better “back then”, not just that they were better, especially when viewed through the sunny filter of nostalgia.

If Mr. Hall was 83-years-old in 2009, that means he was born in 1926.  His formative years would have occurred during the Great Depression and World War II.  He would have reached his prime as a working adult during the post-war boom of the 1950s and 1960s: in other words, the golden age of the American economy.

There are many reasons why this period of American history was exceptional, but one of them is that work actually paid.  College degree or no, jobs were available and many offered living wages, even if those wages were modest. The productivity of American workers was increasing dramatically, and more importantly average workers were sharing in the fruits of their own labor.   The more productive they were, the more they earned.  Between 1950 and 1970, the median income for American workers increased nearly 100% in real dollars .

By contrast, in the 40 years since 1970, wages for most American workers have stagnated, even though their productivity has continued to increase. Rather than reward employees for a job well done, the American corporate culture now applies the gains of that increased productivity to higher benefit costs, dividends for stockholders (through wider profit margins), and/or outrageous salaries and bonuses for the executives who oversee the work.   In 1965, corporate CEOs were paid 20 times more than the average worker.  Today, in America’s top 350 corporations they command 273 times the pay of the average worker – the average worker, not the lowest paid.

Is it really any wonder, then, that many working Americans seem to be losing what Mr. Hall calls “his work ethic”?

The great irony in all this is that Mr. Hall and many others of his generation have supported (if not authored) the very policies that, economically speaking, have helped to create this society they deplore – policies that have produced a concentration of wealth at the top.  We’re living in (and with) the long-term effects of  “Trickle Down” economics, which has proven to be aptly named.  When the rich (the so called “job creators”) are granted unrestricted access to the fountain of prosperity at the head of the line, a trickle is pretty much all that remains for everyone else.

This is why you’re “being told” that you need to “spread the wealth,” Mr. Hall.  No matter how tired you may be, I doubt you’re as tired as the millions of Americans who, in our current corporate and economic climate, will never be able to get ahead no matter how hard they work. Income inequality in the US of A has now reached its most disparate point in a century.  By some measures, the wealth gap is wider now than it ever has been in our nation’s 232-year history.  Why?  The top 10% of earners now take home nearly 50% of all national income – and not because they’re disproportionately smarter, hard working, and deserving than the other 90%.  They are smart and hard working; but they’ve come to control that much wealth because tax codes and other government and corporate policies disproportionately favor them.

Wealth Distribution in America

Despite all the complaints (similar to Mr. Hall’s) about “slackers” and “takers,” there is a whole host of people out there busting their humps each and every day – some of them at two, three, even four jobs – trying to piece together a life for themselves and their families in 21st century America, at meager (not modest!) wages.  The single mother who’s working first shift at one company and second shift at another, but who still can’t afford to put a stable roof over her head or enough food on the table, isn’t poor because she’s lazy; she’s poor because her work isn’t valued or fairly compensated.  The young man (usually a Black or Latino man) who has a felony on his record for a minor drug offense doesn’t have a job not because he’s tattooed or pierced – or because he doesn’t want a job.  He doesn’t have a job because “the job creators” are legally allowed to discriminate against him for the rest of his life, even though he’s served his sentence and “paid his debt” to society.

Which brings me to Muslims.  No, not really, but Mr. Hall veers off on this topic in the middle of his post for no apparent reason other than such non-sequiturs are the nature of tirades.  I just thought I’d demonstrate how nonsensical and pointless such an abrupt and clearly prejudiced shift in subject comes across.

Is personal responsibility an issue?  Yes – especially for cowardly online ideologues who hide behind the faces of celebrities in order to spread their vitriol. But personal responsibility is hardly the only, or even the central, issue we face.  The kid in the projects who today is choosing to join a gang is exercising a measure of personal responsibility.  He’s looking around and weighing his options.  He sees one group of people who sit around and do nothing all day but watch TV and nurse their disillusionment, another group who are working their fingers to the bone for minimum wage (or not much more) and getting absolutely nowhere, and a third group who are dealing drugs or running weapons or trafficking sex – and who have money and are making things happen.  He’s choosing to belong to that third, enterprising group.  Yes, he’s a criminal – but he’s far from a deadbeat.  He’s making the best of the options he sees available to him.

There are institutional, cultural, political, and ideological reasons why things are the way there are in America today.  Until we admit that and start confronting the systemic roots of inequality and injustice in our society, nothing is going to change, no matter how much ranting we do or how many “likes” such rants receive.

So, let’s stop the ranting, the raving, the railing and all the rest of it and let’s get to work. Let’s name the problems, study the problems, dream of what a society would look like without those problems, and then come together, roll up our sleeves, and start building that society. I would think even Robert A. Hall could cheer a little sleeve rolling.

Now, let’s see how many rounds this makes on Facebook.

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84 Comments

  1. *slow clap* Amazing piece man, just great.

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  2. For a fuller explanation of that chart, see:

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  3. Thank you, friend. This needed to be said and you did so brilliantly.

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  4. emiliadaffodil

     /  October 22, 2013

    Great post. I’m from Britain, but the same problems affect us.

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    • Thanks. Tell me more about what’s going on in Britain. I know class is still a factor in UK society in ways that it’s not here (though we do have class in America, despite assertions to the contrary) and concepts of class influence wages; however, you also have universal health care. Health insurance costs here have been rising steadily for years (sometimes by double-digit percentage points from one year to the next – and this was happening long before “Obamacare” came along). Those rising costs have contributed significantly to stagnant wages. I would think that wouldn’t be so much of an issue in the UK – unless those same rising health care costs are passed on to UK companies and their employees through higher taxes rather than higher premiums. Thanks for reading!

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  5. Great post, really well written!

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  6. I am sixty seven years old and boy am I tired. Well, not really. The kids are grown, the job is retired and I am looking for things to do. I understand your frustration, been there and done that. I would teach during the day, teach tennis after school, and then do night school and teach esol. My average day was fourteen hours long. Then home and during a fast dinner grade papers into the early morning. Weekends were grading papers, giving some time to wife and kids. Those were the good old days. I felt needed. Now I spend the day with my wife and an occasional thing to do. I know it will sound rough but live and prosper.

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  7. A Sign Of Life

     /  October 22, 2013

    A much-needed post. For a while I worked two “part-time” jobs to support my husband and myself, and ended up working over 18 hours a day, 70+ hours a week, and I didn’t have a day off for four months. As it was, I could barely manage the small apartment we were living in. To hear the wealthy gripe about their money being given to the undeserving, the lazy, and the drug addicts infuriates me, because I realize that they are lumping people like myself in with what they see as the scum of the earth.
    So yes, for the love of all that remains holy, let’s do something about it. But where do we begin?

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  8. vonleonhardt2

     /  October 22, 2013

    I’m 28 and already worn… the Ok older generation are the people who gave the rich the power they have. And how often have the rich just given things back or a slave earned freedom by breaking his back? They sold us out, they can at least not bug us about how “lazy” we are in the living rooms of houses we could never afford.

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  9. This one gets a standing ovation from me! To heck with Facebook! I am one who has worked two jobs and could barely stand, what with flying back and forth between jobs and getting in maybe 3 hours of sleep thanks to being ‘asked’ to work late at one job, only to have no time to sleep before heading off to the other. I guess, I’d get called a ‘deadbeat’ for still not making it into the ranks of the upper crust and I was doing all of this after escaping an abusive marriage in a new city with only the clothes on my back, upon arriving. So, yes, we’re all just worthless bums because we’re not Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and a member of the famous ‘Walton’ bunch. Nowadays, I still have no spare time, what with working and advocating for the ‘bums'(the working homeless) this Mr. ‘Small’ Hall speaks of.

    Thank you! Thank you! Excellent, most excellent!!!

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  10. Fair compensation for hard work? Amen. It’s a shame people are up in arms about raising the federal minimum wage to $10 an hour in an age when living off $15 an hour is difficult in many places, and work is increasingly fast-paced and demanding. Worse yet, most “entry-level” jobs are only part time – no one wants to pay benefits. This makes my generation appear lazy to those who worked full-time jobs right out of high school back in the day. Trust me, we are jealous of the work they had! Bottom line, you said a lot here that needs to be said, over and over until change occurs. I will like and share!

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    • Thanks. I think raising the minimum wage is very important. It hasn’t been revised upward nearly often enough. Hang in there – and thanks for sharing!

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  11. Reblogged this on Pezcita's Blog and commented:
    Re-blogged from Via Ex Machina about why it is so difficult just to stand on your own two financial feet nowdays.

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  12. Great piece.

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  13. Reblogged this on Rumored Humor and commented:
    Read this great piece. Just started following!

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  14. Reblogged this on Minimalist Living and commented:
    Ties in with my meager thoughts on http://minimalistlifestyle.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/living-a-lie/
    No wonder I feel the way that do. Add in a mouthy teenager and I am ready to throw in the towel.

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  15. Wow! How enlightening and courageous.

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  16. This was a fun read for me. I’m just like most everyone on here. I work extremely hard, but it is frustrating that no matter how hard I work, I will not make any extra money. I am blessed to have been promoted into a salaried position, but my schedule is pretty much locked down and my income is static. I could really complain all day about the situation and I pray that it changes for the better sometime in the future. However, I truly do give thanks to God. I made a decision a long time ago to be content with life, but never complacent with my own ability to do better if it is in God’s will. No matter the economic situation, we just need to hand it all over to God in prayer. That’s usually not easy to do, but under the current conditions…it is the only smart thing to do. Good blog sir!

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    • Thanks. Contentment is not something our current culture is into – to our detriment. Part of the reason is that in a highly consumer culture we’re constantly being bombarded with ads advertising (and encouraging us to buy) the latest thing. We won’t do that, of course, if we’re content with what we already have. So advertisers seek to make us feel non-content with what we have in order to get us to buy what they’re selling. There is a spiritual element to contentment that (like any discipline) must be nurtured, cultivated, and practiced intentionally. I think gratitude is the starting place for that. If we are truly thankful for what we do have, it’s easier to worry so much about what we don’t have. That said, there is a real, systematic injustice and disparity taking place in our society right now. And it needs to be confronted. We should never be content with suffering – especially when there is MORE than enough in our midst to prevent people from suffering if they only had access to it. May the Lord’s peace be with you.

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  17. Incredible stuff. Very well put.

    While personal responsibility will always have an effect on any individuals success or failure in this world, I feel like people use it to kill conversations about fixing the status quo. I remember watching the presidential debates last year and hearing Mitt Romney say that his stance on gun control was family values. While it’s great to support family values, and it’s absolutely true that kids with great family situations are less likely to shoot people, it isn’t an answer to that particular question. People use personal responsibility to end conversations because nobody will ever disagree with the fact that people should be responsible for their own lives.

    Prosperity is the be all end all. Those absentee parents with kids who get into drugs would be around much more often if they weren’t working three or four jobs just to feed their children a meal or two a day. If there were good opportunities for them to work a single job for close enough to 40 hours a week, they could come home and help their kids with their homework and give them a shot at being more prosperous than the generation before us.

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  18. Yes, we all agree that things are bad now, but let’s remember that for all but a very select few, things stunk worse for everyone back in Caveman Hall’s heyday. Women? You don’t need a job dearie, you need a husband. I don’t care how smart you are, you don’t need a college education because you can’t contribute anything to society anyhow except by having sons, so hop to it. Jeez, we gave the ladies the vote just six years ago, and now they want everything! Black? Well, if someone knocks on your shanty door and picks out a strong tree, just pray. Gay? Good luck with that. Lesbian? Heavens, women don’t DO that sort of thing.

    If he thinks life was so much better back in the glory days of old, then let him hand in his polio immunity and his social security check, and go live in the past, when everyone was either a straight white Anglo man or was made to wish they were. Me, I’ll stay right here with my own credit line, my own job, and my own college education.

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    • What you’re getting at is what I referred to as the “sunny filter of nostalgia.” One of the things I could not find out about the job/income data I cited was how women and minorities fit into it. I’m eager to know. Certainly, the web of legal and social discrimination against women and minorities that existed in the early and mid-twentieth century had an impact. Some things have changed for the better – but even in those areas there is much work still to be done. Thanks for reading!

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  19. robbiesdailyplanet

     /  October 23, 2013

    Thank you for helping me understand more.

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  20. Thank you for speaking up….. tired of being told I am lazy because i can’t find a job, Tired of being amused that all i want to do is live off of welfare, because right now I have to. I am tired of the looks, i had a good paying job, it wasn’t great but I paid my bills, i lost my job and I am tired of being looked down on because I have to get help or my family wont eat. I would prefer to have a job, pay my bills and take care of my family. there is no pride in asking for something, i would rather work any day than be were i am right now.

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  21. Thanks for the post, it’s a really good point you are making. Becouse all of the changes in tax code, regulations concerning retirement plans, taking the dollar off the gold standard, etc. USA is transfroming from a land of opportunity into a really poor country of not educated people. And while you try to stay afloat, FED is printing billions of dolars, that you never even see. Haha, good luck saving for retirement. The rest of the world follows, becouse it has to. Still, some do well, and I guess we have to learn to think about money in a different way.

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  22. Now Dimly

     /  October 23, 2013

    I am 39 too and I feel you. I could have written much of your first paragraph myself!

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  23. Great post – really well written! After graduating from college, I struggled to make ends meet by working multiple jobs while taking night classes to pursue an additional degree. I finally said TO HELL WITH THIS and moved abroad with my husband. It kills me that we had to move to the Middle East to live the American dream.

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  24. Thank you for this…I bet you give great sermons!

    I was in Home Depot last week talking to one of the associates who told me he lost his decently-paid restaurant manager job and then worked three jobs to stay afloat but his partner was so fed up she walked out. He’s now making the usual $9-11/hour — this is in a county 25 miles north of NYC where even driving across a bridge (which many do to get to their jobs) can cost $5 to $8 each way.

    I worked a PT retail job for 2.5 years and wrote a book about what I saw and felt in that world; we served the 1% crowd and the naked contempt for us was sometimes overwhelming. We must de facto have been stupid and uneducated — and every one of our 15 staff was attending or had graduated college. Our manager was a veteran of the Special Forces…

    I write for a living and every day am told by a 25 yr old with a salary to start at a freelance rate I made in the 1970s. Wage stagnation is real and the endless propaganda about “job creation” seems to have dazzled everyone.

    I hope you won’t mind a link to my book: people working low-wage jobs in retail tell me it is an accurate description of their difficult lives — and it includes interviews with industry experts who admitted they view their workers as “disposable.”

    http://malledthebook.com/

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    • Thanks. I can identify. I worked for just under a year at a part-time retail job myself (making $6.80 an hour) right after the economy hit the fan in ’08. I had a part-time church position as well at the time, but even still was not NEARLY enough to support my family. My daughters had just been born and if it hadn’t been for my in-laws, I don’t know what we would have done. It was that retail experience that first opened my eyes to the reality in which we’re living. Most of the people working with me at the store were not teenagers doing after school type work. They were all adults, more than a few had other jobs, and some of them had been working there for years without much of a pay increase. We were all working hard and were the ones making that store function – but were paid a pittance for labor that was essential to the company’s operations. It was ridiculous. And I know all about “the looks” you’re referring to. Keep speaking out!

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      • Then you know this one all too well. Retail is the largest source of new jobs in the economy — and as we know they are not “jobs” in any meaningful sense…the wage they paid you is stunningly low; I got $11/hr and still found it nothing compared to the profits our labor helped bring in.

        We are in a very divided nation now, and those at the bottom of the wage scale are dismissed as losers. It’s absurd.

  25. Excellent post! I’m going to reblog this as I could not say it better. I am the eldest child and was born in 1961. My father had multiple jobs, sometimes 3 and 4, also. We had a house, we were considered, I would think, middle class. Later on, my dad worked as a heavy equipment mechanic for the government at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY. It was then that he could relax, so to speak and do one job, occasionally taking on side jobs at night. He supported a family of three kids. Although we had the sense that we could not do a lot of extra things, we managed and one of our family outings was drive-in movies. You don’t see a lot of realistically priced family things to do. Hardly any more bowling places around, neighborhood movie theaters, no more drive-ins at all… Now you have to break the bank at amusement parks. Today, I could never afford to go to these places and quite frankly, I would not want to waste my hard earned money to support these mega companies.

    My husband’s mother is amazing. She grew up in the depression and has that mentality of making use of everything and only throwing out things that are beyond repair. She put all of her five kids through college, helped with buying first homes, etc… all from practically nothing… I mean nothing. That family saved, saved, saved. They must have lived under their means to be able to do it. The parents did not have corporate jobs, but lower paying, harder working jobs. Night watchman and secretary (I think). They also worked the fleamarkets buy scooping up items, repaired and restored them and sold them. She was really creative with her money and was able to do SO MUCH. I have a lot of respect and admiration for her.

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    • Thanks so much. You’re father and mother-in-law sound like amazing people indeed. Sadly, in today’s world, I don’t think they could have pulled it off – and NOT because they weren’t trying.

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      • I totally agree with you because I know that with our present jobs my husband and I will not be able to do half as much for our son. That saddens me a great deal, but we will do whatever we can for him.

  26. Well, I’m definitely putting a link to this on my Facebook page. My friend working three part-time jobs to only just barely hold onto a hovel of an apartment and maintain her borderline malnourished state has enjoyed being called a layabout by the likes of Mr. Hall for quite some time, but I think a counterpoint is due.

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  27. I commend you for writing what most Americans (the so called bums of the earth) are feeling. I too work and I volunteer at homeless shelters and blood drives, my husband works so many hours that he’s a walking zombie and yes we managed to send our children to college and yet with all this we live from pay check to pay check. My son has over $200,000 in student loans and just finally started working 3 days per week because companies don’t want to hire journalist full time they want freelance so they don’t have to give them benefits or full pay. What a wonderful world it would be if we could all just turn back the clock.

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  28. Every once in a while WordPress really nails it with their selection..This one is IT. Powerful write…All I can really add is @Let the church say AMEN!

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  29. Reblogged this on Berna's Vibe~The Way I See IT and commented:
    AMEN..This write is so very good in all ways>Re-blogged by Berna(the 1 & only

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  30. Mental
    i’m 39 and have no children
    at all

    liked your post
    though

    thanks

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  31. Reblogged this on DragonMommie's World and commented:
    I don’t reblog others’ posts too often, but this is an excellent post and it touches on a subject that I’ve been thinking about all during my Era of Unemployment. Anything I could write about this would never approach the thoughtfulness and execution of this post, so please read……

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  32. I really enjoyed reading your post! The paragraph in which you touched on records and job employment really hit home for me. I have a family member who received a felony charge at the age of 15. This person has gone on to finish high school, and has obtained a bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, he has only been able to receive minimum wage work, because most companies that offer above minimum wage can’t look past his record.

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    • So sorry to hear about your family member. He should be proud of what he’s accomplished and I’m so sorry the system is stacked against him. You both should read Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow.” It’s about the war on drugs, the industrial prison complex, and how all of our “get tough on crime” policies have resulted in new under caste of citizens (primarily African American men) who are basically serving life sentences for their transgressions, even though they’re out of jail. They’re records forever haunt them and prevent them from attaining honest, gainful employment. Then we wonder why so many of them end up back in jail. Hang in there!

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  33. trusam

     /  October 23, 2013

    Mind blowing post. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

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  34. What an excellent response!! Thanks for saying this so clearly and forcefully.

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  35. Reblogged this on Thesmallvoiceofpolitics and commented:
    This is insightful but offers little in solutions, except that we need to analyze what works and what doesn’t

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  36. Absolutely true – great post! This needs to be spread as it hits the point!

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  37. This is pathetic

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  38. 39 with a 13 yeast old son & 11 year old twins. I hear ya…

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  39. Have you read, “Walk Out Walk Up?” It’s a very interesting book about communities have banded together to fix their problems from the bottom-up, without waiting for government aid, charity, etc. It should make you feel optimistic that our big problems can be broken down to smaller problems, and then fixed by those who know the most about them. But we must encourage all who can, to work. I know far too many well-educated people who think certain (available) jobs are beneath them. They feel entitled to better. None of us are entitled. Work is a requirement, for all (including those who are obscenely wealthy). So I hope and pray people can stop worrying about “issues” and use creativity to fix problems, including the creation of satisfying jobs for all. That said, I think we must all be thankful for what we do have, and less focused on our jealousies (just as for whom this is applicable should focus less on their greed).

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  40. Pastor? Really? Ever open your Bible and get a biblical perspective on life? That was a rhetorical question because your post shows that you haven’t. Why are you stuck in 1 John 2:15-17 when you should be living in Colossians 3:1-4? If you were living a life gazing at the glory of Christ (2 Cor 3:18), being an alien and stranger in this world (1 Peter 2:11), yielding to the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:16), then you’d be basking in the FRUIT of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). You need to go learn, accept and live the absolute truth of Matthew 6:19-34!

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    • The bible is there to inspire and not everyone is inspired by every single passage written there. I’m sure that the original poster was writing from the passage where he found his OWN inspiration from, at the time he wrote this article.

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    • @ billvau. Thank you for reading and responding to my blog – although I must confess I’m not sure I understand the point you’re trying to make. You seem to imply that if I was truly full of Jesus I wouldn’t feel tired. You also seem to be suggesting that the subject of socio-economic inequality isn’t a concern of sufficient spiritual weight for a pastor to spend time writing about it.

      If you haven’t read the original “I’m Tired” post, written by Robert Hall, I would recommend you do so. You can find a link to his piece in the third paragraph of my post. Click on the word “diatribe.” The “I’m tired” refrain comes from Hall. I based the format of my response on the structure of his rant as well as its content. My post begins with a statement of my age, my job, and the phrase “I’m tired” because that is how Hall begins his.

      That said, at the end of most days I am truly exhausted from the work of pastoring a church and being a father and a husband. I sleep soundly. I think that exhaustion and need for rest are functions of my humanity more than symptoms of spiritual weakness, however. I’m mortal. I get tired – and so do you.

      As far as opening my Bible goes, I assure you I read it regularly since I preach from it every Sunday. The verses you quoted are important ones for all Christians to study and ponder. Striving to live a life focused on “seeking the things that are above” and bearing “the fruit of the Spirit” (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) lies at the core of the Christian faith.

      But what does it mean to “seek the things that are above”? Does it mean to separate ourselves completely from the world – to have no concern whatsoever for anything going on in this life? I don’t think so. Jesus said the Greatest Commandment (the one from which all the law and the prophets hang) has two components. The first is to love God with our whole selves (heart, mind, soul, and strength). The second is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If there is a way for me to genuinely love my neighbor without being concerned with what is happening to him or her in this world, in this life, I don’t know what it is. Loving someone involves much more than praying for them or wishing them well.

      My Bible also contains the Gospel according to Luke, which tells a great deal more about Jesus than the Christmas story found in chapter 2. One of those other things is a parable Jesus tells in chapter 16 (verse 19 and following) about an unnamed rich man and a poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus lived on the street right outside the rich man’s gate, but the rich man paid him no mind. He lived and dined in luxury while Lazarus suffered from hunger and disease and no doubt many other effects of deprivation. To the rich man’s great surprise, when he died he found himself in what we would call hell; but he could look up and see Lazarus reclining in the bosom of Abraham in heaven. He asks Abraham to send Lazarus to him with a drink of water to cool his tongue, but Abraham refuses. A great gulf has been fixed between you and him, he says, and no one can travel from here to there. The rich man then begs Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his brothers so that they might avoid his errors and thus be spared a similar fate. Abraham’s response: your brothers have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.

      When I read the prophets, I find statements such as:

      Micah 6.8: He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

      Isaiah 58.6-8: Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly…. (Jesus ascribes similar behavior to the saints in Matthew 25.31-40, by the way).

      Malachi 3.5: Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be swift to bear witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts. (I find it rather interesting that many of my fellow Christians have used the sorcerers’ portion of this verse to condemn Harry Potter but have remained quite silent about the hired workers bit).

      I could go on, but my main point is this: because I read my Bible, I can’t listen to Moses and the prophets; I can’t worship Jesus and try my best to live by His teachings and turn a blind eye to the injustices of our world and the sufferings they inflict on my neighbors. Nor can turn a deaf ear to the brow-beaters who belittle the plight of the poor by pretending such injustices don’t exist or have little bearing on why the poor are poor. Love doesn’t work that way.

      That’s why I wrote my post, and I think it stems from a very biblical perspective on life.

      Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  41. trusam

     /  October 24, 2013

    @billvau. Just curious, which seminary school you attended. I thought they were supposed to teach how to inform and encourage religious and non-religious people in a more loving positive way. I’m asking because I have been told a lot about seminary school and this is the first response I have seen like this.

    Reply
  42. Awesome post that really makes you think about things.

    Reply
  43. Right on. Gen Xers and younger severely undermined by multiple policies approved by their parents and grandparents. One of these days those of us born since 1970 will realize we’ve been had by gramps and our mommies. Check out cost of college in past 20 years versus median salary of new college grad.

    Reply
  44. I enjoyed the prospective, and never knew that Mr. Hall was the originator of that piece “I’m Tired” I enjoy your writing tempo as it is similar to mine, and the relevance of your supporting factors. Thank you for writing this piece. Can I reblog it?

    Reply
  45. Wow. Very nice. Very insightful. I can more than relate to your blog.

    My name is Sarah and I’m from the Philippines. I guess my country is known for economic inequality, among other things. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. And the recent news about our ‘pork barrel’ is such a shame.

    It is sad to know that USA has come to this when it used to be (and maybe still is for some) the “dream” for most Filipinos.

    I am in my late 30s, married with no kids yet. And it scares me what the next generation will have to deal with given the problems this world is currently facing.

    I am still hopeful though.

    Keep writing — a great way to reach out to the world, then the world will take it from there.
    Best of luck to all of us.

    Reply
  46. Thank you, for a truly thoughtful piece.

    Reply
  47. Nice piece, thanks. I’m told there is a new viral video on youTube of a McDonald’s employee discovering on the company website, advice to apply for foodstamps and medicaid to help make ends meet. Corporate America using social services to bolster their bottom line. Oh brave new world.

    Last sunday I was talking to an acquaintance who was furious because he saw someone buying potato chips and soda with an EBT card – “my tax dollars paying for junkfood for shirkers.” He missed an article in the paper that day on the tons of vehicles and war material we are destroying in Afghanistan in preparation to pulling out after 10 years of waste, because it’s too costly to ship it all home. Which is the biggest drain on my “hard earned tax dollars,” potato chips or wasted humvees?

    Examples about in any day’s newspaper. The willful blindness is staggering.

    I recently read that when Henry Ford started paying assembly line workers the unheard of wage of $5 a day, other industrialists called him a communist. Ford said he wanted his workers to be able to be able to afford the cars they built and that move launched the company into the stratosphere. Sadly, the ruling class has forgotten the lesson and they try to blame Obamacare for the “weak recovery” in which people can work full time jobs and still need food stamps to survive.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Morgan. The sad reality is that chips and soda are the cheapest things on the shelves – that’s why the “shirkers” (what a messed up term!) buy them.

      If you’re interested, I wrote a series of blog entries back in the Spring about my experience fasting during Lent on a budget of $2.14 for breakfast and lunch combined (basically the budget someone living on food stamps or working a minimum wage job would have). You can find them using the “Categories” drop down menu on the right hand side under the category “Journal Entry.” All of the entries have “A Place at the Table” in the title.

      Thanks for reading. And thanks for reminding me about Henry Ford. I think I had heard that before, too. I’ll definitely look into it further.

      Reply
  48. Well put! And that’s in the US which is a hub of wealth- what’s the rest of us to do?

    Reply
  49. Reblogged this on andrewsoption and commented:
    An American perspective that is eloquent and insightful.

    Reply
  50. Reblogged this on denabetti and commented:
    I’m tired too..

    Reply
  51. Visit my New web site and follow me http://andreamurdaca.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  52. maryproud

     /  October 29, 2013

    Thank you for being one more writer addressing the real issues of inequality we’re facing in the U.S. Unfortunately, many everyday folks who are doing alright, have what they need, do not want to address the issue. Its easier to believe that, in this country, one can still ‘pull themselves up.’ It is easier to accept the limited information provided by the news than to go dig out the truth. You mentioned seeking solutions, and there are several solutions available, but they all require us to think of the world and our actions in a different way. Change is difficult, our fear of the unknown may keep us complacent, and being this tired leads to depression. As a faith leader, where do you find Hope?

    Reply
  53. Congrats on being freshly pressed, it was a blessing to have a fresh perspective on what is happening the other side of the pond.

    Reply
  54. clumsywithwords

     /  October 30, 2013

    Great writing! I am from Serbia (where this entire post can apply) living in Sweden (where only parts of this post can apply) and I couldn’t stop reading. It seems like society is failing across the globe and no one is try to save it.

    Reply
  55. Reblogged this on Anything Interesting on WordPress and commented:
    Thanks, Danielle.

    Reply
  56. rubble2bubble

     /  October 30, 2013

    Your eyes on locked onto the world. You want to fix it. You can’t. It’s not your call. God does the God stuff. We die…to our mind, our will, our ways….and LET Him live His Life…in us.

    …trust. …obey.

    You’re tired. Separate yourself. BE with Him. WAIT for Him. LISTEN to Him. Obey Him.

    Of His “economy”…there shall be “no end.” Now, and in the life to come. He turns moments into miracles for His glory. He does it. Not you. You just need to love and be loved…by Him.

    I assure you, the Lord knows the “food” we are all in greatest need of. Our other needs? They will be met…as you trust…as you obey. Oh, but you…doubt…

    No shortcuts. Not your way. Your mind…your impatience….your agenda…hm…impediments. Yup, I know you know all this stuff. But, when you’re tired, family needs to come alongside…and love ya back into Rest. Never forget, Daddy’s teaching each of us these same Family lessons!

    …come on, bro. We need you to eat…to SWALLOW and let the nutrients from what you already know inform your body ’til you’re…satisfied. I know you’re tired. But your place is with the Family…I’m scootchin’ over to make room for you to come back to the Table… Come. Eat. Be satisfied.

    Then, on a full tummy, you’ll have the strength to draw others to the Table. Lots of room for every…one.

    Reply
  57. M1n3 M4nn

     /  October 30, 2013

    Reblogged this on transcensnews.

    Reply
  58. Wonderful post. t
    They say 75% of single parents are depressed. Overwork, heavy burdens, not easily recognized rewards. Now two parent families are experiencing the same thing. Having gone through the single parent experience, and being a descendant of a single parent, that truth is all to clear. So I have raised my children to seek post secondary education. But now the concept of the ‘live in’ adults grows quickly. Children who have applied the ‘study hard, get good grades, and you will be successful’ model are left with large debt and eternal boarding with their parents, who may also need their commitments to afford daily living. We wish our children could seek independence, raise a family, buy a house. But our reality may be a basement renovation and driveway extension as the family grows under one roof.

    Reply
  59. Beautifully stated and written.

    Reply
  60. mhorvat09

     /  November 20, 2013

    Reblogged this on The Wandering Life of a Foreigner and commented:
    Interesting…I have to agree though.

    Reply
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