The gap between the rich and the poor is complicated. I don't understand all the arguments around why this is a good or bad thing, I do not understand why it is bad for employers to pay a living wage to people, I do not know why it is acceptable for the top percents to have a disproportionate amount of wealth. What I do know is that there is an economic floor that I believe needs to be in place for the health and wholeness of an individual and, by extension, a nation.
Perhaps what I do not understand is the idea that more wealth is better. Like I said, there is an economic floor that needs to be in place so that there is food on the table, healthcare and some pleasures of life can be enjoyed, but more wealth does not mean greater wholeness. Daniel Kahneman1 and Angus Deaton have a study out that shows that a person who makes $250,000 a year is not much happier than the one who makes $75,000 a year. This suggests a limit to the amount of happiness economic stability can provide.
Mystic and theologian Andrew Harvey said, "For Jesus, it is clear, poverty is not the problem; it is the solution. Until human beings learn to live in naked contact and direct simplicity and equality with each other, sharing all resources, there can be no solution to the misery of the human condition and no establishment of God’s kingdom. Jesus’ radical and paradoxical sense of who could and who could not enter the Kingdom is even more clearly illustrated by his famous praise of children."
While I will continue to advocate for the economic floor for everyone to stand on, I will continue to struggle with the teachings of Jesus. I will continue to try to embrace poverty as the solution.