Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Shantytown Gleanings

Today, in email correspondence with a fellow blogger, I shared the story below. I don’t think I have blogged this one, which took place about 25 years ago:

During my first year at Eden Seminary I had a dear professor who was one of the kindest, gentlest, and giving people I have ever met. In one class he introduced us to the head of a seminary in Jamaica. He and a few others had started the seminary because too often Jamaican men and women who felt called to ministry would attend seminaries in Great Britain or Canada and never return to minister to folks in Jamaica.

During his talk to us about his Jamaican seminary, the president of the seminary said that a requirement for each student was that he or she spend time living in the shantytowns around KingstonJamaica, where the poorest of the poor dwell.

My dear professor said, "Yes! We must teach to poor to rise above their poverty!"

The president of the Jamaican seminary responded, "No! No! You don't understand. We do not send our students into the shantytowns to teach the poor; we send them into the shanty towns to learn from the poor." 


Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.


  1. HA. I can dig that. Good Lesson. Cheers Nick!!

  2. Oh, we can be such a pompous lot...

    Thank you for the dose of humility.

    And 'Amen' to that.

  3. There's a Hindu saying: "If God loves you, he makes you poor."

    If all a poor person has is a sandwich, he'll give you half without your even asking; at best, a rich person will give you a portion of what's left over after he's bought himself everything he wants, and will expect to be well praised for his "generosity."

  4. Yes, a wonderful lesson for all of us. Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the lesson, this is so true but we never think of it like that...
    have a good day. Andrea

  6. That is not something that most people can hear or want to hear. Thank you, sir.

  7. Nick
    That reminds me of the story about the rich father who sent his son to live with a poor family so he would appreciate his wealth and he returned to tell his father how rich the poor family was and how poor their family was. Peace

  8. Yes!

    I'm thankful for wise men like the prez of the Jamaican seminary.

    And for you, Nick. Thanks for sharing this story.

  9. What a profound statement. How very true.

  10. I grew up ppor, not destitue, but poor. And i always thought i was more well of than what i was because of the destitute.... perspective does matter.

  11. Glad you posted this, Nick; I shared it with my Husband this morning, and he agrees vehemently!
    Teach us some more, Nick!

  12. Nick, what a wonderful post. I was poor as a child, but we did not know we were. I find people with the least share the most and are happy to give.

  13. What a wonderful post. There is an awful lot we could all learn if we chose to.

    CJ xx

  14. Ah, that seminarian was a wise man...We could all learn from that.

    There is something for you on my blog today, Nick, if you care to drop in.

  15. This so reminds me of how most people view the have nots. Little do they realize that just because there are things they do not have does not mean they are not rich in other ways. Such a wonderful lesson.

  16. It would be so freeing to allow the poor to teach us. We have learned all we can from the many different ways can one learn to be greedy?

    Thank you, SSN.