the cycle of poverty

The Rev. Dr. Jan Rivero, Stop Hunger Now’s Director of University Outreach, emailed this small piece to me a day or so ago. It bears sharing, and it bears some deep thought.

Early in my ministry I was privileged to be a part of the Society of St. Andrew, a Christian community devoted to modeling a simpler and more responsible lifestyle. One part of that commitment was to voluntarily live under the poverty level so that we could more fully identify with the poor we were striving to serve.

I share that because I know from personal experience that poverty brings with it an insidious downward spiral from which it is almost impossible to break free. And as John Perkins so clearly articulates, the cycle of poverty has a lasting impact on the spirituality of those trapped in its grip.

The Cycle of Poverty
John Perkins


The different aspects of poverty form together into a cycle of destruction and dependence that winds itself down upon and around a person. That’s the cycle of poverty…. Not enough food when young so that he can’t think straight. No hope of education or personal development or family so she gets pregnant before she’s fifteen. No education, poor jobs. Poor jobs, poor pay. Poor pay, bad housing and food. Bad housing and food, poor health. Poor health, poor performance on the job, less pay. A cycle, but at its center a captive, a mind so busy responding to the day-to-day needs that it has no time to think about the future or about those spiritual realities which give meaning to life.

Source: A Quiet Revolution