"To dismantle poverty in this way, we not only need multi-ethnic congregations, we need multi-class congregations. Poor people ought to have a voice in the Church. They ought to have the opportunity to serve as elders, deacons, preachers, and board members alongside the Privileged. Putting all Privileged People in power and places of influence may be the American way, but it’s not the Kingdom of God way."The challenge sounds nice on the surface, but when multicultural Christians make statements like this they're usually campaigning for an unrealistic element of cultural Marxism.
In this historical moment, "poor people" are typically poor because of low intelligence, mental problems, or lack of morality (drugs, promiscuity, laziness). While this isn't always the case, anyone who regularly rides the Greyhound bus across the country (as this author does) knows that the underclass is severely tainted with vices and psychological problems.
That's because the "poor" in America aren't classed as poor for financial reasons, they're classed as poor for cultural and behavioral issues. Every college kid who graduates with $50,000 in college debt (which is probably most of them) is more poor in real terms than the average African-American living in the housing projects, but because college kids are often responsible, smart, and culturally savvy few people look down on them for their lack of financial resources.
I've been attending church my whole life and been part of many congregations. I've never once been involved in a congregation where members were chosen for authority positions purely because they were rich or high class. In fact, most of the preachers at these congregations were not well off (though some were).
"Privileged" to Held-Evans and Smith is basically a synonym for responsible white people. The "privileged" whites are being told they need to displace themselves as leaders to make room for the often defective minority underclass. Whites are expected to give preference to the opinions and ideas of people who possess lower intelligence, are of questionable sanity, and who have not lived rigorous moral lives.
Does this sound like good stewardship? Should Christians allow those with the fewest leadership qualities to control the money, time, and energy of a congregation?
The question of who should lead is not a question of social justice but of rational thought. If God has given the talents required for responsible leadership to an individual they should be recruited to lead. This simple truth is lost on the multiculturalists because they're consumed with earthly things. Inspired by their cultural Marxist narratives, these thinkers believe the egalitarian equality of all men is the end game of Christianity, and that all differences between people should be eliminated for the sake of perfect equality.
However, this is the purpose of Marxist revolution, not Christianity. A man isn't less of a man because he's not qualified to serve in a Church leadership position. A women isn't less than her husband because he's the head of the house.
Christianity gives people value beyond their earthly office, resources, and powers.
If God has blessed one race with genetically greater average intelligence than another race this doesn't mean that one race is better than another. It simply means God has chosen to give one talent or trait to a particular group of people.
Another problem with placing members of the underclass in positions of leadership is that very few of them fulfill the requirements of office. In Titus 1 Paul gave his disciple a list of qualifications for those appointed to lead:
"For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the [a]overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict."Finding a man in the housing projects who is "above reproach," has "children who believe," is the "husband of one wife," and has the intelligence to "refute those who contradict" sound doctrine is a rare jewel of a man.
I've been to the housing projects, I've read the statistics, and the chances of finding a qualified elder in those places is close to zero. The same can be said for the Greyhound station.
This doesn't mean there are no Christians in the underclass, there are many, but simply being a devout Christian doesn't make one qualified to lead other devout Christians.
Rachel Held-Evans and Smith are both influenced by Liberation Theology (and Black Theology) with its "preferential option for the poor." The founder of Liberation Theology summed up it's position:
"But the poor person does not exist as an inescapable fact of destiny. His or her existence is not politically neutral, and it is not ethically innocent. The poor are a by-product of the system in which we live and for which we are responsible. They are marginalized by our social and cultural world. They are the oppressed, exploited proletariat, robbed of the fruit of their labor and despoiled of their humanity. Hence the poverty of the poor is not a call to generous relief action, but a demand that we go and build a different social order."Rather than accepting what Jesus said, "the poor will always be with you," the object of Liberation Theology is to overturn established order and create material equality.
To turn the liberation dream into reality, Hold-Evans and Smith advocate the displacement of the "privileged" (i.e. responsible whites) who support the current social order. To these thinkers, a person is robbed of their humanity if they're robbed of their material wealth. This is not a Christian idea, but a product of worldly obsession.