I've said it three times because it's dominating my thinking right now.
The truth is that I have the resources to ignore this issue. I have a college degree (several actually). I have the educational and practical skills to make enough money in the middle class marketplace that I can live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. I have the ability to ignore this problem. And, if I was ignoring this problem my life (my personal life) would be less complicated. I wouldn't have the anxiety associated with knowing friends that don't have the ability to live in a place that isn't horrible. I could go home and ignore the problem.
The trouble is that my faith and call won't let me ignore the problem. And that means that some days are really hard days. There are lots of wonderful relationships that I am able to participate in. And there are a lot of desperate people that I meet daily. I so understand the temptation to not know about this stuff. I so understand the temptation to insulate yourself from these kinds of realities - it makes life possible. And so I daily avoid the temptation to insulate.
And I also have to avoid the temptation to drift into hopelessness. To believe that the system the way it exists right now is the last word. I know better than that. I know that God has the last word. I know that redemption is real and I see it daily. I believe that the life of Jesus Christ, the living LORD, makes a real difference in the real world right now. And I have to admit that I am sometimes tempted to hopelessness in the face of the practical problems that I see daily. I think both temptations - to hopelessness and to insulation - are not in line with what God is doing for us and through us. Both temptations show a lack of faithfulness -- a lack of trust in God's overwhelming and never-ending love for God's creation.
And so I meet with people who are faithful. I meet with people who are working in their neighborhoods in ways that matter. I thank God for the people who are able to stop and celebrate God's presence and victories in our lives. I remember that the temptation to hopelessness is nothing more and nothing less than a temptation. I remember that God is God and I am not. And I remember that I am not the only one who is doing this good work. And I think God for them.