Recently, I’ve read the book Our Kids, written by Harvard Professor Robert Putnam. In it, he argues that there is a widening opportunity gap for today’s kids. Children from homes with lower incomes are facing greater and greater challenges than ever before.
Why? Among other reasons, they lack something Putnam calls “Social Capital.” Plainly speaking, social capital are those tangible assets that count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and encouragement that come from other people.
Putnam contends that the lack of social capital – a network of positive and supportive relationships – is one of the biggest causes preventing poor kids from becoming successful and productive adults.
As a pastor, what immediately comes to mind when I hear that are the words of the Apostle Paul. He wrote to one church:
“Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude as Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:1-5)
What is the church? It’s Spirit-empowered “social capital.” That is, it’s a group of people who committed to the good of each other, motivated by the attitude of Jesus.
Let’s stop wondering what the answer is for Our Kids. It’s already here.
Your Partner in the Gospel,