Down here in West Texas, we don’t experience a monolithic Winter cold all season long. Oh, it gets cold alright. Not as cold as Denver, Cheyenne, or Missoula, but cold enough to harm or kill anyone stranded outside after a cold front blows through. Thus our Winter consists of “cold snaps”. Freezing weather that frequently gives way to relative warmth several times a month.
This means that our weather forecasters tend to use catch phrases to “remind” us of the fact that since another freeze is on the way, there are certain precautions local people need to take that they might forget. Things like “Drip your faucets”; “Turn off the automatic sprinkler system”; AND “Don’t forget to bring in your pets and plants”. It turns out such forgetfulness can be deadly.
Sadly, no one reminds the church to bring in the people.
Okay, that’s not true. Jesus does (Matt. 25:31-46).
So why do we blow this off?
I spend a lot of energy on this blog dealing with the reasons why.
Actually, I say it is basic contempt for the poor, a demon deeply rooted in American culture. But the church puts up quite a smokescreen to hide behind, and addressing it involves more complicated answers. Chief among the smokescreen issues is a little book called When Helping Hurts. This book (and especially those endorsing it) goes to extraordinary lengths to both justify contempt for the poor and promote it in the church.
Meanwhile, our community faces its first true cold snap of the season tonight. The forecasters will remind us to bring in our pets and plants, but our churches will hold seminars teaching us to not help the poor who suffer the Winter cold through the night, and to fear that the help we might have offered would actually hurt these freezing people instead.