At a glance





11 contributors participated in this conversation: 3 contributors self-identified as being on the left, 5 contributors self-identified as being left-leaning, and 3 contributors self-identified as being right-leaning.



Contributors were asked to self-identify where their views regarding Income Inequality fall on the political spectrum. They were also asked the following guiding questions*:


1) What has your experience been with economic or opportunity differences?

2) What opportunities have or have not been available to you?





Perspectives



1

"I was one of five children, growing up in a suburb of Baltimore. My father worked hard as a mailman, and my mother stayed home with us. We were not wealthy, yet we had all we needed, and I even had opportunities to pursue music as a passion. I realized later on in life that it was because my grandparents gave my parents our home as a gift, that we were able to lead a stable and better life. This reality has made me aware of my own blessings and provision, and at the same time curious and sometimes guilty when I compare that with others who have worked hard, yet were not given the same kind of gift." - Patrick [Last name redacted]


"My experience with income and wealth has been very different from that of my parents, who grew up in materially deprived circumstances, worked their way up the ladder, and therefore highly value economic success. Despite the pressure from my parents and peers to go into even higher paying professions such as consulting, business, and finance, I hope to stay true to my own passion for science, innovation, as well as health and climate." - Anonymous


"I was raised by ministers who highly valued education. Since the public schools where we lived weren't very good, my parents saved all of their money so that we could go to private school. Coming out of private school, my network helped me get great jobs and continue pursuing higher education at wonderful schools. But I have also been engaged in communities with high rates of poverty and few opportunities for a good education. These experiences have made me support increased attention to public schools - to ensure that your family's income doesn't dictate the quality of education you receive." - Anonymous


2

"Based on my experience of growing up with economic challenges in a very stratified culture which was organized along income inequality, I have lived many years with a bias against those who have financial comfort and economic prosperity. My views of politics have always been influenced by a lack of personal identification with the wealthy elite even though I agree with some of their stances on some political issues. Where I have grown and am continuing to grow is in understanding that there are complicated forces involved in the opportunities people are offered, based on class, race, and gender. I'm convinced the church needs to do some hard work to think about the way the kingdom of God demands for God's people to live differently." - Anonymous


"My parents sacrificed so much to give me opportunities in life. This has given me the freedom to choose what I want to do, but I also feel the responsibility of fulfilling their expectations. It's important to me, though, that I fulfill God's expectations. I would rather follow the path he has set for me, than the path that the world proffers (Prov. 30:7-9)." - Anonymous


"For so long I was a product of my working class family upbringing with regards to my political views on income inequality insofar as I’ve always believed it is important to have a good work ethic and that would pay off. As I’ve gained more life experience, however, I have seen how people can be seemingly unlucky – especially hardworking people – and examining this more closely, I can see this is nothing to do with chance, but systems designed to benefit some, and usually these are people who already have an upper hand in life." - Anonymous


"As a seventh generation cattle rancher, I believe that everyone has personal responsibility in carving out their economic path and that hard work is and should be rewarded. I also believe that as a Christian I should be seeking justice and willing to humbly address overt and subtle injustices in our economic system and be generous to those in need starting first with my own personal resources, then as part of a church body, and through government institutions as appropriate." - Sarah Swickard


"Growing up poor and without generational help, I worked hard and achieved upward mobility in my early 20s. Along the way, so many people helped, especially the community. I've dedicated my life to the church and helping those who are underprivileged, highly in political favor of redistribution and systems that recognize access, health, race, and other factors when it comes to income disparity. Through that I've come to hope for a community in the church that spans income gaps, where extreme generosity can form dignifying relationships to bring awareness, friendship, and mutual transformation across these divides." - Josh B.


4

"Given my background in Indonesia/Singapore, and being a third-generation immigrant - with all the blessings, successes, and pressures that come with that - I was particularly struck how those on the other side of the world (various parts of the US) struggled with similar things, i.e. the role of generosity (or not); importance of stewardship; how much inheritance / generational legacies play a role." - Claudia Kwan


"My experiences of economic inequalities, what I want for my life is sometimes out of my own control. The career choices that I choose can impact my wealth. Sometimes you have to choose whatever gives you the most drive so that you can be happy going to work each day and not dreading." - Lisa McCalla


"Born and raised in a communist country, where people used to be paid equally by law, I saw that income equality created extreme poverty for everyone, which was not sustainable. Living and working in Canada, like many others I am rewarded through hard work and education. In my life and work, resilience and responsibility get me through tough times." - Anonymous




*Credits go to Living Room Conversations for some of the guiding questions used to form this library.