I am in the 1%

OccupyPittsburgh 600x337


Greetings friends,

A quick break from studying to share something I learned this week. On Friday, Ed and I went with some of our friends to the monthly PKN meeting downtown. I love this meeting. It is truly inspiring, uplifting, and delightful.

It can also be challenging, as this month's was. Brad Henderson, who runs the joint, was speaking to us about his work in Haiti. He shared the same message with us that he shares with multi-million dollar baseball players (he serves as the chaplain to the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Penguins). To insist that his point wasn't geared directly at these uber-wealthy individuals, but that it had implications for all of us, he directed us to at website called www.globalrichlist.com. You enter in what you make in a year and it shows you how you stack up with the rest of the world.

My results were kind of shocking.


I'm in the top 1.72%? Really? On a meager youth pastor's salary? As much as it might not feel like it some times, I am one of the richest people in the world. And chances are, so are you.

Brad's point was (quite correctly) not to guilt us, but rather to open our eyes to how much we had to celebrate and rejoice over, and to give out of our rejoicing. It definitely hit a chord with me, and I went home and examined how much we've been giving lately to see if there was any room to increase.

But then on the way out, we drove by the Occupy Pittsburgh folks. A pretty big part of me is on board with these folks in this movement. It's not fair that 1% of us should be able to create a system by which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. So sure, let's protest. But right after being told that I am in the 1%, it got me thinking. Maybe what we need is an Occupy America. Maybe we need to realize that even the penniless hippies that are camped out in front of Wall Street have more than most of the world. Which isn't to say that it's right that banks and investment firms have all the money. It is however to say that we're all part of the 1%, and instead of protesting, I think maybe we ought to start with giving.

Just some thoughts. I'd love to hear yours! As in, it will distract me from studying, please post a comment!