I do not normally associate the comedian, Lenny Bruce, with theological discourse. Yet the following quote is as a serious a theological statement as you are going to find.
Christ and Moses standing in the back of Saint Pat’s, looking around. Confused, Christ is, at the grandeur of the interior, the baroque interior, the rococo baroque interior. Because his route took him through Spanish Harlem and he is wondering what the hell fifty Puerto Ricans were doing living in one room when that stained-glass window is worth ten G’s a square foot. – Lenny Bruce
If Christ is confused at the opulence of Saint Patrick’s, what must he think of a Church which does little or nothing to bring his love into that one room apartment?
Nothing is more spiritual than our response to the cries of the poor and hungry. And as the theologian, Lenny Bruce, points out, sometimes our response must be confusing as hell to the one we claim to follow.
There is a convergence today between the Biblical view of Jesus as Liberator, and the cry of oppressed peoples for liberation. For our own day, to “see the world through the eyes other than our own” has simply got to mean seeing it through the eyes of the poor and dispossessed. When the story of Jesus and the story of human oppression are put side by side, they fit. They are simply different versions of the same story. The cry of the hungry is overwhelming. The cry of the politically and economically exploited is overwhelming. The cry of those in prison and under torture is overwhelming. The cry of parents who know that their children are doomed to stunted and warped lives is overwhelming. . . . There may have been other emphases needed at other points in Christian history when talking about Jesus as Liberator, but I am persuaded that for this time and this place, the claim of Jesus to bring freedom, and the cry of the oppressed peoples for freedom, converge and cannot be separated.
The greater the crisis becomes, the more earnest and consciously responsible is the knowledge demanded of us for although what is demanded is a deed, only the deed which is born of knowledge will help to overcome the crisis.
We definitely need more action on behalf of the poor and hungry. But, as Buber pointedly reminds us, those deeds must be informed by knowledge. In order to achieve a world without hunger in our lifetime we need the best information available on which to base a solid and responsible course of action.”Francis Bacon wrote, “For knowledge, too, is in itself power.”
That power of solid knowledge is what we need to create a global movement committed to ending the horror of 25,000 of our human family dying daily from hunger in the midst of a world of plenty.