Tuesday, January 14, 2014
At People for Others, Paul Campbell SJ has posted a rundown on the world if it were reduced to 100 people. The video clip here shows a similar breakdown. We've become so inured to percentages, 14.5% of people in the US went hungry at some point last year, the top 1% of wage earner took home 20% of the total US earned income, it can be hard to get a gut feel for what they mean to people, to put faces to numbers. One percent seems different, smaller somehow, than one person in a hundred — or one person I know.
Crash gave me a great book for Christmas about sticky ideas (Made To Stick), and the miniature earth concept is by their definition, pretty sticky.
So I'm trying this as a spiritual exercise, in the spirit of St. Ignatius' First Week. Take the percentage du jour from the news, or one that is close to my heart. Now imagine it reduced down to 100 people. Twenty of one hundred people in the United States live in poverty or near poverty (for a single person, this means an income of less than $15,000 per year — roughly what you would make working full time at minimum wage with no vacations). Now imagine ten close friends, and that two of them are living with such limited resources. What would I say to them? How would I share what I have with them? How open is my heart to their needs in relationship to my own?