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  • Janyne McConnaughey, PhD

McMusing: It is Hogwash!



The word for today is:

hogwash (n.)

mid-15c., hogges wash, "kitchen slops fed to pigs, refuse of a kitchen or brewery," from hog (n.) + wash (n.). Extended to "cheap liquor" (1712) then to "inferior writing" (1773). (source)



Used in a sentence: The idea that everyone has the same opportunities and resources and anyone can succeed if they try hard enough is hogwash.


I must say that those who proclaim that we should not assist others in difficult situations and then support those who give tax cuts to the wealthy while removing benefits from the poor are rolling in the hogwash spewed by the privileged. Our nation can never be any greater than how we care for the least of these.


The homeless situation in our country is not because of lazy people. It is because housing is absurdly expensive (more information). Yes, homelessness walks alongside mental illness and addiction because it is all a part of the spiral of trauma that often begins in childhood and continues as a lack of support as an adult. It is a spiral embedded with despair and hopelessness. Sharing glowing examples of those who pull out of the spiral may be inspiring but it isn't helpful to those who can't.


And when any drive across town provides examples of the misery of the poor in our nation, it is really frustrating to see all the things "the church" is obsessing about right now when the Bible is clear:


"If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need." Deuteronomy 15:7-8 (NIV)

It isn't enough to have ministries for the poor in our churches. We are pulling a few people out of the river--very kind and important. But are we trying to figure out why they fell into the river in the first place? Are we voting for those who do not believe what the Bible clearly says about the poor?


And if you have read my rant thus far, I can tell you part of its source. I have invested four years of my life in a not-for-profit organization that is doing its best to go to the source and figure out why children are falling in the river. The work we do will make a difference in the lives of children and has the potential to reduce homelessness in the future--because we believe people can climb out of the spiral when given the right supports. We struggle to get even small donations. And when I see the amount of money donated to political campaigns for those whose platforms never mention the poor but instead focus on the ways they want to control other lives, I feel God's heart breaking.


“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.” Desmond Tutu
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