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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Charity And Another Bell Curve

Imagine for a second you were born with immense inherited wealth.  

"Some people are born on third base and think they've hit a triple."

When I first heard that italicized phrase used to describe George Bush senior in the late 80's, I snickered with self-righteousness. To this day, in the midst of an unthinking polemic rant, that stinging remark still slips off my tongue periodically.

But once reason returns, the only thing I know is that I really don't know how a privileged birthright would have shaped me. The noble Pat fancies himself an unmitigated philanthropist, giving it away as fast as his ancestors acquired it. This is who I flatter myself I'd be. But unless faced with those exact circumstances, how can I know who I would have become? More significantly, what have my actions so far in my unprivileged life said about my charitable instincts?

Another continuum, another bell curve. There are those who give nothing to others, to whom charity is a dirty word. There are those who give of themselves and their resources completely, to whom charity is a calling. And then there's me, on the bell curve again.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for the reminder of how important it is to remain present to our individual plan. I sometimes find myself deciding how I think others should spend their abundance of wealth or time, only to emerge realizing the gifts of others are not for me to give. I usually go on to notice that I just wasted energy that I could have been spending on something more beneficial to myself and others.

    Only because you asked in a previous response, and because it fits nicely with this post, I would like to share a link to a piece I wrote about foster care. The bottom line, as you truthfully state, is that we are each on the curve, hopefully discerning where we are called to give, not only from our abundance, but even from our scarcity, perhaps until we are a little uncomfortable. This is when life can get into our heart to teach us about our humanity.

    http://americamagazine.org/issue/child-god

    Thank you! d.

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  2. I feel compelled to add that the article was written for a Catholic publication, and so the editing process took my words which included all humanity and altered them to limit the call of service to Catholics and Christians...I believe the message is the same for all of us regardless of religious convictions. Perhaps fodder for another post? How much are you willing to give to get published? haha!

    d.

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    Replies
    1. d; I'm looking forward to reading your article. As soon as I do, I'll use your e-mail to communicate with you about it.

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