“If we, as Kansans and as religious communities, who are committed by our core values to look out for the marginalized and most vulnerable in our society, if we are not paying attention to this, what are we about? If this doesn’t matter to us, what does?”
“What happens to these folks when nobody is looking? We need to, as citizens of Kansas, hold ourselves accountable to the value of taking care of these people. Not just today, but tomorrow and the day after tomorrow.”
-Pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen
Topeka First Congressional United Church of Christ.
This time of the year (tax time) finds me moaning and groaning quite a bit about the money the governments take from me. This year was even worse than usual, with all the Tea Party Limbaugh Fiscal Conservative-ness floating around nowadays.
I am driving home the other night and listening to Kansas Public Radio. They ran a locally produced piece from a series they are doing on health care. This particular piece was a response to the Kansas governor’s proposal to close the Kansas Neurological Institute in Topeka, one of the last facilities for the severely disabled in Kansas. As Pastor Tobias Schlingensiepen began to talk (Listen at link below) about a sermon he gave, which has taken like wildfire throughout the Topeka clergy community, the lightbulb began to go off inside my head. Pastor Tobias nailed the very essence of what it means to be a HUMAN BEING, what it means to be a faith-filled member of society. After several minutes of self-reflection, a shadow of shame crept in and dimmed the light bulb in my head. I realized I had failed, I had placed my own selfishness in front of those who “marginalized and most vulnerable” people out there who need me to care. I should be willing to pay, not complaining to pay, the meager tax amount to help provide these citizens and their families a safety net. I should be doing more. I should be more Matthew 6. Shame on me.
For more background
Officials meet with clergy on KNI closure by Ann Marie Bush