10 Times Classism Hurt Jesus

When I hear people ask, What can religion do to address classism and poverty? I think instead, What does classism do to religion? Classism hurts Jesus, y’all. We may be struggling/working poor, fallible and often defiant, but Jesus still loves us (the Bible told me so). Here are 10 times when Christian churches denied that truth, and, thusly, hurt the lil’ baby Jesus: A 92 year old woman was excommunicated for being too poor to tithe. Fifty percent of your church chorus/band had the best equipment and clothes … but couldn’t pay their electric bill or rent. You really wanted... Read More

Does Organized Christianity Justify Class Bias

… and Make It Appear Inevitable? I’m British. I’m white though not ethnically English. I’m from a poor working-class background in a Northern English city. I am lucky enough to have a university education. I passionately believe in social justice and that everybody should have the same chances for health care, educational opportunities, career advancement, and the right to work hard and prosper. I am also a Christian. Being Christian, One of the Good Guys Like the United States, the United Kingdom – but really we are talking primarily about England – presents an image of being Christian, socially responsible,... Read More

Rich People’s Church, Poor People’s Church

I have much to say on the topic of religion and class, but let me begin with a disclaimer. I know people who experienced the same churches I did and did not come away angry, feeling they were warped by them. So I recognize that more than one experience is possible. Like many poor and working class people, I went to Pentecostal churches for a good part of my life. They were “Holy Roller” churches, where we talked in tongues, laid on hands for healing, and believed the end of the world was just around the corner. Some of these... Read More

Pope Francis’ Call to Action

Paving a New Path for Economic Equality Last Thursday my heart swelled with pride as I listened to Pope Francis call the U.S. Congress to action against the extreme economic inequality in the United States and throughout the world. In his opening remarks, he reminded Congress of their larger mission to “defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics.” Disappointment and Discontent This statement is not only true of governments but of religions as well. All major religions hold similar... Read More

To Advisors of First Gen Students: Tell the Truth

I can still vividly remember my first days on campus as a first generation, first gen, college student. How lush and expansive if felt in comparison to the slums of Cleveland. This was a whole new world literally, and I was new in it. I had made it from poverty to the rolling lawns and bunny rabbits of Bowling Green State University on full scholarship – or so I thought. Minor to Major Differences As I continued my matriculation through college, I noticed the stark differences between my peers and me. First, there were minor differences like what brand of... Read More

3 Things to Keep In Mind as a Non-First Gen or Low-Income Student Leader

I dedicated the last two weeks this past summer to being a student leader for the incoming class of 2019. I’m an academic peer tutor, meaning that I serve as a residence-hall-based resource who fosters academic and personal well-being in the hall. As a low-income, first gen college student, I noticed that the standard summer training lacked any discussion of socioeconomic diversity. Many incoming first-year students are low-income, first gen, or both. As a student leader, it is important for you to recognize their specific needs. But this can be difficult if you don’t share their background! As we go... Read More

The New Caste Class

As the top 1% grabs most of the new wealth created in the United States, a conversation about inequality has risen to the top of national discourse. This will likely lead to a new focus on class that is always the central issue in capitalist societies. What is remarkable is not that the capitalist class controls so much of U.S. life but that there has been so little discussion of how classism is creating serious hardships for most Americans. There has been little discussion also about its role in producing war, climate change and a shift toward a socioeconomic system... Read More

Seeing the World: The View from Above

Ever since I was a little girl, my parents have taken me traveling all over the world. They have always told me how lucky I was to have been exposed to these different cultures, how open minded it made me, and how it made me unlike “those other kids” who had never traveled outside their state. Growing up in an upper-middle household, I had no reason not to believe them. Even now I have a map on my wall with flags posted on all of the different countries I’ve visited. My parents always reminded me that traveling was a privilege... Read More
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