I just received a complimentary copy of a new book entitled The New Friars by Scott Bessenecker. The book chronicles the emergence in evangelical Protestant circles of ‘orders’ of people who are committing themselves to living among the poor for the purpose of ministering in the name of Christ. The word order here is used in the same way it is used when describing Catholic orders (i.e., Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Cistercians, etc). It means a group of people who have vowed themselves to a way of life–a rule.
These Christians intentionally move to places of deep poverty and seek to “push” others out of poverty (from beneath them) rather than “lift” people from above them.
Bessenecker’s book talks about many forms of injustice around the world. Many of these instances occur because of broken systems. This morning I read the following story on cnn.com and it challenged me:
JANDALA, Pakistan (AP) — Nassem Kausar has done it. So, she says, have her sister, six brothers, five sisters-in-law and two nephews.
Each has sold a kidney to a trade that has led Pakistan’s media to dub the country a “kidney bazaar.”
“We do this because of our poverty,” said Kausar, who is in her 30s and lives with her family in Sultanpur Mor, a village in eastern Pakistan.