3MN: The measure of a community isn’t how it treats insiders.

3MN: The measure of a community isn’t how it treats insiders.

Happy 3-Minute Thursday!

You are busy, so let's make this quick. No fluff, no filler, no spamming. Here are a Christian's thoughts on current events that takes minutes to read.

💬 In the next three minutes:

☝️ The Christian divide on poverty.

✌️Why the measure of a community isn’t how it treats insiders.

👌 Three things to increase your compassion.

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💸 Minute 1 - The Christian divide on poverty.

Today, I return to the States after a 10 day stay in Liberia, Africa. I was there for a mission effort to train up leaders and educators, edify the brothers and sisters in Christ, and give the African soil a few drops of my sweat helping a rural school build out their farmland. Liberia, once a social experiment to repatriate former slaves from the U.S., bears traces of American influence in its name, capital city, and form of government. Once an economic marvel, Liberia now grapples with the harsh reality of poverty, with over half of its population living below the poverty line.

The scars of a devastating 14-year civil war still linger, causing widespread suffering even after its end in 2003. Adding to the challenges, the Ebola and COVID-19 epidemics wreaked havoc on the health and economic well-being of many Liberians. The nation's limited infrastructure and public services further compound their struggles.

Reflecting on my pending trip (I'm writing this 1 week in advance of leaving), I came across a troubling study by the Washington Post that sheds light on how religious identity shapes our perception of poverty. According to the study, white evangelical Christians tend to attribute poverty to individual failings, seeing it as a result of moral shortcomings like a lack of effort or poor financial decisions.

I am not accusing you of holding this belief. Rather, I am exploring a Christian divide I want you to consider: While some Christians focus on personal redemption and salvation in the face of impending apocalypse, others emphasize the pursuit of justice and dismantling harmful economic structures to create a better world for all. Which side do you find yourself?

The Christian worldview says that all poverty is due to sin, though that doesn’t necessarily mean the sin of the person in poverty. In the Garden of Eden, there would have been no poverty. But it exists and we must determine how we understand it to navigate how we redeem it.

⏱️ Minute 2 - A security blanket of kindness.

David French, a New York Times Opinion columnist, recently delved into the captivating realm of small town culture. Within his provocative piece, he shared something that hit me between the eyes:

The measure of a community isn’t how it treats insiders, but rather how it treats outsiders. It is easy to be kind to your friends and allies. And when you experience that kindness, it can turn a small-town community into something like a security blanket. This is where you belong. But when you experience cruelty, a small town can be something else entirely. It can make you feel trapped and uneasy, as if there is no place to rest, as if your home isn’t truly your home.

This truth holds striking relevance in the discussion about poverty and how we treat those who live inexplicably different lives than our own.

God chooses to be known as the deity of the underdogs and downtrodden, not the elite and egotistical. In many ways, God seeks intimacy with those outside my personal community of middle-class, self-centered Western world. The Psalmist beautifully depicts God as the guardian of the fatherless and defender of widows, showcasing God's intimate connection to the vulnerable, often exploited and abused by the powerful.

While God died for me just as much as he died for you and for the people in poverty-ridden countries like Liberia, my view of poverty should be radically influenced by God's Kingdom.

👂 Minute 3 - Are you compassionate?

So today I am considering how I view those outside my security blanket of familiarity. It's easy for me to point fingers of blame. It's much more difficult, and uncomfortably humbling, to consider God's perception of those not like me.


  • Practice active listening: This begins with giving people our fullest attention (i.e. turning our phone face down, not glancing at our watch, making eye-contact). It also means you avoiding interrupting, rushing to offer solutions, or thinking of what you will say next instead of listening to what they are saying now.
  • Seek different perspectives: It's easy to listen to people who say everything how you want to hear it (these are called echo-chambers). It's proven far more difficult to listen to those we disagree with the intention of learning. I'd love to hear how you do this regularly.
  • Engage in acts of kindness: Sounds easy, right? Then why don't we do it more often? I have found kindness is far less in the grand gestures that seem to be more for the giver than receiver. Kindness is smaller. More personal. Far easier to excuse as insignificant.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went.


A F T T F, A D O W, I G I H H D.

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:5

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Until next week,

Payton Minzenmayer


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