Good news for the poor – and the rich

Jamie interviewed me a couple of weeks ago. Now it’s my turn to be the interviewer. I decided to interview Dan, and he answered my first question today.

I think his answer is utterly brilliant. Here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite for more.

(1) Your blog is called, “On journeying with those in exile”. Who are “those in exile”? What does it mean to “journey” with them?

Although God desires that all be liberated from exile, we also see God constantly demonstrating a “preferential option” for some — “the poor” (I put the term “the poor” in quotes because I am using it as an umbrella term for all sorts of marginal peoples: the poor, the sick, the possessed, the abandoned, the powerless, etc.). …

Hence, we see Jesus proclaiming the forgiveness of sins (i.e. the end of exile) by living in a liberating solidarity with the poor, the sick, the possessed, the outcasts, and the powerless. However, it needs to be explicitly stated that this solidarity with some is not to be an act that excludes others from the offer of liberation from exile.

Rather, our solidarity with the poor is simultaneously an invitation to “the rich” (another umbrella term for the wealthy, the healthy, the powerful, etc.). We just need to realise that the offer of liberation from exile looks very different to those who suffer the most under exilic conditions, than it does to those who maintain and benefit from exilic conditions.

Freire and Moltmann … have noted the ways in which “oppression” (i.e. exilic conditions) dehumanise both the oppressed (who are not given the opportunity to be fully human) and the oppressors (who have their humanity warped because of their oppressive actions).

Hence the Gospel is good news for both the poor and the rich, in complementary ways. But you really need to read Dan’s brilliant account.

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