DO THE POOR FEEL WELCOME IN OUR CHURCH?

For two years we were poor. In 1979 I tried earning a living as a free-lance writer, a job that yielded high personal rewards, but low and irregular income. As a result, our family entered a period of poverty.

We had just returned to Oklahoma after three years away. We returned to the same middle-class congregation we had attended before, where many of our friends worshiped, and where we had felt at home. But after attending every Sunday for a year, we still didn't feel a part. We were still outsiders trying to get in.

Why the difference between this time and last?

We were poor. As a poor family attending a middle-class church, we had run into a number of barriers-unintentionally erected-that kept us on the outside looking in.

We had not noticed these barriers in the years we'd been there before. In fact, as we looked back we could see how we ourselves had raised similar obstacles in a youth program we had directed in that church. But however such barriers are erected, they keep the poor from ...

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