Last night I couldn’t sleep and having to leave at 5am for the Free Methodist Class that I’m sitting in right now it only seemed normal with my sleep patterns to be up at 2am watching The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. On The Daily Show, John Stewart was interviewing the 2006 Nobel Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus, about his amazing accomplishment with the Grameen Bank that eventually won him this prize. Maybe this is my sheltered self, but I had no idea who this guy was or what he has and is doing, so when I was watching this episode I could feel my entire heart soften at simply how amazing this was. This truly was an amazing invention.
His invention? Banking to poor people. He gives loans to those who have no money. He said that he really didn’t understand why the people that have lots of money can get more and those that have none can’t get any at all. It just made sense to him. It just made sense. He said that baking built on trust works, and he knows it works because he’s doing it right now. He said that there is no better people to give money to than those that are desperate and need to make a life for those around them.
He has seven million borrowers. 97% of them are women. They all were poor and had no credit rating.
It is men like Muhammad Yunus who will change the world. Why the hell haven’t we figured out yet that the only way to change a system as corrupt as ours is to stop continually pour into it to try to fix it. How does lending money to rich people and people who have had money already in anyway help stop a system of keeping the poor the way they are and the rich the way they are? How does throwing money to rich people in poor neighbourhoods to help get the poor neighbourhoods of their feet ever actually give the poor neighbourhoods a chance to work at getting off the ground instead of patching bandages over the issues?
All this to say that I think the Kingdom is in many ways a lot simpler than we make it. Muhammad Yunus is changing the world by looking at a problem and offering the most simple solution. It’s as almost as he woke up and said “Well, Duh, of course let’s give the people that don’t have any money, money to help them get started.” Instead, we work up elaborate plans of welfare and other social assistant programs and government projects while banks sit back and give the rich people more money and put themselves more in debt. I am not a social economist by any means, but are we just lying to ourselves and making this more complicated?
As the church, we need to give to those that are in need. We need to stop serving a system that keeps people poor and in lives of oppression. We need to stop pretending to ourselves that everything is ok, because the only reason we think that is because we are the benefactors (or so we think) of this system. It’s time for us as the church to act subversive to these systems that are destroying us and take our selfish priorities out of the way so we can see how simple some of these answers really are, because as I see it, its our selfishness that makes things more complicated.