Monday, November 14, 2011

Sense of Entitlement?

Earlier tonight, I was walking around downtown Raleigh (and I took this picture whilst walking down Blount Street). Not surprisingly, there were a few people on the streets, asking people for money. One man asked a group of young men for money. I had overheard them telling him they didn't carry any money or spare change. The man seemed to doubt these young men's word and started arguing with them. One of them said, "Well, sorry, but in this credit card world, no one carries cash with them anymore."

I couldn't help but notice when that young man had told the beggar that. "In this credit card world, no one carries cash with them anymore." It's so true. I stopped carrying cash because I could pay for everything with my debit card or hop on-line and buy stuff that way.

I also noticed the man begging for money didn't take no for an answer. I didn't stick around to see how their conversation ended, but I assumed it was not long after I had left them because this group of young men caught up to me at an intersection whilst I was waiting for the light to turn green. It made me wonder where the beggar got his sense of entitlement. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

Earlier today, a rather irate caller started scolding me and demanded to speak to 'only a pastor' after having stated that he was on the verge of being evicted. He had called us two weeks ago, asking for assistance for rent. I referred him to someone else since I generally do not deal with calls asking for financial assistance.

This person ended up speaking in a rather rude manner to the person I passed the phone to, ranting on about how "all [particular Christian denomination] churches should close because they are poorly run and cannot honour the request of those begging for help." I was shaking my head. This man was staying in a hotel and demanded that we and other social agencies pay his bill? He was single had no dependents. In the meantime, there are others who have children to feed, bills to pay, etc., who needed assistance more than this guy. (I know, it sounds mean when I put it that way.) It's almost like he was saying that because we are a church, we are obligated to help him because that's what churches do, throw money at people who beg for it.

Now that was someone with an inflated sense of entitlement. What makes this single man, staying in a hotel, more worthy of assistance than a single woman (or man) with dependents, who were trying to genuinely support themselves, but the money, stretched thin enough as it is, was not enough to cover food, bills, rent?

And then there is a single man who keeps coming to the doors, insisting we have to give him food or give him gift cards to the local grocery store. Same reason: we are a church, and we're obligated to help everyone who comes to the door. Well, I have news for you and all the other people with an exaggerated sense of entitlement: Sometimes the answer is "no."

And sometimes, you will have to accept that "no" answer.

Enough of the rant. Tomorrow will be a busy day. I'm looking forward to an event with the Durham-Chapel Hill chapter of the American Guild of Organists: a choral reading session, featuring anthems published by Chapel Hill-based Hinshaw Music. It should be a good session.

But first... bed. And reading the insides of my eyelids. ;)

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