Wednesday, 9 December 2015
Friday, 20 November 2015
Warning to rich oppressors - James 5 (NIVUK)
5 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter 6 You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.
This week our church home group tried to tackle this passage. It is indeed fiery stuff, though it's not the only place in the Bible such thoughts are written. (e.g. Amos 4;1 5;10-15 Isaiah 3;12-17 Luke 6;24-25). And even this weeks SU Word Alive Bible notes dealt with the rich young ruler and Jesus' one-liner about camels and the eye of a needle.
So how do we apply this stuff today. Indeed who are the rich and oppressors we may encounter today. Here's a possible list:
- The Saudi Princes wallowing in their oilfields
- The Russian oligarchs buying up the Premier League and half of
- The merchant banker gamblers who were responsible for the great crash of 2008
- The arms traders who sponsor war and terror
- The people traffickers who profit from human misery
- The politicians with mansions and duck houses funded at public expense
- The employers who put their staff on zero hours contracts and fail to pay the living and often the minimum wage
- The petty loan sharks and pay day lenders who profit from the desperate poor
- The DWP job centres who sanction desperate benefit claimants for trivial reasons
- The consumers who want a bargain regardless of who has been exploited in the process
- The affluent pensioners who rely on investments in less than ethical funds
- Every reasonably comfortable family who benefits from the global economic system
- and not least chiefly ourselves
We discussed in our home group whether, since James was speaking to "you rich" whether there were any rich oppressors in his audience in the early church. We didn't come to a conclusion about that, but we agreed it is clear that just being a Christian does not in itself protect you from the possibility of behaving like this. There is actually and potential sin in each one of us - perhaps it takes the commandment "Thou shalt not covet" to make it clear. And as James wrote in 2;10 whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it .
However, if James and Amos and Jesus were divinely inspired to cry out against the rich who oppressed "the least of these" then it seems obvious that we too have a right, and probably a duty, to denounce and warn the perpetrators when we see injustice and oppression in the church and the world around us. We may be less than perfect and less than pure ourselves, and as long as we are humble enough to admit that and rely on God's grace and forgiveness we are still called to cry loudly for justice anf freedom from oppression.
That of course may lead to denial, opposition and even martyrdom, but we are called to speak truth to power, and to pray that oppressors might repent and change their evil ways.
Friday, 6 November 2015
Saturday, 17 October 2015
I endorsed the view of
National Commission for Independent Action (NCIA) (that) , voluntary services face a bleak future as 'servants of the Government'. The NCIA challenges voluntary groups to take urgent action to fight for the rights of the people they serve, protect their independence and resist the privatisation of public services.
that mainstream think tanks and 'sector leaders' are slowly 'waking from their dogmatic slumbers' about the fundamental shift that appears to have overtaken the voluntary sector in the welfare field
Faith, Citizenship, and the Politics of a Common Life
Wednesday, 2 September 2015
Thursday, 18 June 2015
Wednesday, 3 June 2015
Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Friday, 8 May 2015
Reactions to today's shock election results among the Christians I know personally, or through social media are mainly screams of disbelief and dismay. The future for people living or serving in less affluent appears exceedingly grim as the interests of the super-rich have won the day. Our food banks, money advice centres, job clubs and homeless drop ins are likely to be busier than ever.
There is a plethora of Christian comment in the blogosphere today asking what next? Most of it seems to be gentle and conciliatory, as if the default position is to be like Mr Cameron a one nation Tory. Some contains good sense grounded in a Biblically shaped world view such as Antony Billington's piece
not just the world of politics, but of education, business, economics, media, arts, law, health, family spheres which can be influenced by the presence of Christians within them, more than we might imagine, as we build relationships, seek justice, make a gracious stand for the truth, be a messenger of the gospel.
Let's inform MPs of matters that concern us not simply the narrow range of topics where people expect us to speak out, but on other things too austerity, education, health, unemployment, environment, immigration. Let's get involved where we're able to do so.
There are pieces that encourage us to look at politics with a long view in the light of God's eternal plan such as Steve Latham's blog
To follow the Anabaptist understanding, we must build the church as an alternative community of God's kingdom, his future breaking into the present.
A piece from the Evangelical Alliance follows a traditionally conservative reading of Romans 13 and rightly stresses
that relationship be at the heart of our political engagement. .... so get to know your MP and local councillors.
It advocates, following the ideas promoted in the Show Up Campaign that Christians should be engaging in the world of politics though it then seems to make this rather instrumental, suggesting
our engagement with politics should first and foremost be about sharing the gospel so that others can be in relationship with God. This is after all the Great Commission.
It's rare however to read much about the practicalities of community politics by which other people in our churches and communities can become more fully engaged with the democratic process and become more politically literate. This sort of local involvement seems to have paid off well for some of the leading politicians in the Christians on the Left group, such as Stephen Timms, Gavin Shuker and newly elected Cat Smith. The Citizens UK General Election Assembly was another good example of this practical engagement build on the foundations of two decades of community organizing in
Nor is there sufficient serious Christian engagement with the hard intellectual work of political theory, and translating it for ordinary believers so they can unmask the powers and principalities behind the ideologies of neo-liberalism that drive contemporary global capitalism and the dark path of fundamentalist secularism. The rediscovery of the theology and politics of the common good are perhaps the best attempt on offer. However, in the end this tends to boil down to a middle way of consensus loving social democracy, with lots of motherhood and apple pie values that rarely lead to radical social transformation.
For me what is missing above all is the crucial dimension of prophetic rage. The rage that I and many others feel that
· five years of austerity politics and welfare reform that have made thousands destitute and sent over a million to food bank queues, issues which were largely ignored in the campaigns
· that once again it's clear that our democracy is overlaid on a general acceptance of inequality based on money and power.
· a dishonest media campaign where perfect fear drove out love including the demonization of the Scottish National Party, and the scapegoating of migrant communitiesby almost all parties
· incompetent or misleading polls, mainly paid for by the Tory press where the supposed poll equality suited the "Terror: Labour and SNP Coalition" narrative
· the political illiteracy and mean spirit of so many voters in England shown by so many people punishing the junior partner of the coalition government by transferring votes to the dominant party
· the electoral system which delivered an overall majority to a party with only 37% of the votes, one with 5% getting 56 seats and one with 13% gaining only one.
· Katie Hopkins will be staying in the
As Christians our integrity demands that we name and own that rage. We need to recognize the feebleness of a Christian response that denies the anger and ignores the injustice and the pain and our fears for the future. It will not do simply to honour, befriend and pray for our elected authorities. We cannot say "Shalom, Shalom" where there is no shalom, or just whitewash over the cracks in the system.
for when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked: Where is the coat of whitewash that you put on it? (Ezekiel 13.12)
So where there is evil, confrontation will need to continue.
But then comes the more difficult task of dealing with these emotions and seeking to engage effectively, and as far as possible constructively, and graciously and in the Spirit of Jesus.
a depressing day after the election night before draws to a close ... But politics doesn't just happen once every five years, it happens every day: in creative action, in voices speaking out about what they believe, in changing hearts and minds.
How long O lord, how long?
speechless.... knowing that the work we do among the poor and the vulnerable is just going to grow! This is not a good thing.
Gutted Katie Hopkins is staying in the
'The British election is still more proof that the problem with government of the people, by the people, and for the people, is the people'. (Tweet of God)
how on earth do we respond to what has happened in this country...
The Lib Dems have got exactly what they deserved. Now we can look forward to another 5 years of food-banks and austerity.
I despair of our so called democracy...maybe local organising of communities, local economies and welfare support is the best way forward..."politics" seems to have failed those on the margins... there are lessons from Scotland and it's new style of politics
Struggling to find an explanation as to why those who voted Lib Dem last time would now vote for the Conservatives in huge numbers - they have nothing in common!
I suspect the young people who we work with who may now be made homeless if changes to housing benefit for young people go through, may need a bit of hope just to survive. The future for them looks very bleak ...
So, those of us who can need to dig a little deeper in order feed, house, clothe those who the government have overlooked and will continue to overlook
The news this morning is even worse than it was looking when I went to bed at 2.00. Labour wiped out in
The election result demonstrates for me that the
Farage fails to win his seat. I know it's a low bar, but I can safely say that it's the best news I've had all day.
The NHS, Education, Working Benefits, A Safety Net. Yesterday 58% of the
Tough night for Labour but glad to have increased our voter numbers in
Maybe now the church will rise up, speak up & be the radical, subversive, dissenting, advocating voice for the poor & excluded. Please?
Today should be a day of much rejoicing. And we will celebrate ******'s birthday and thank God for him. But in the midst of it all, we will also pause to reflect on the growing realisation that our country is becoming ever more divided and torn apart by social inequality and an access to opportunity only afforded to people by consequence of their social class and status. Watch the exponential growth of food banks, waiting lists for hospital treatment and the numbers of those in extreme poverty in our land, over the next five years. May God have mercy on us - heaven knows we'll need it......
"So a depressing election night draws to a close ... But politics doesn't just happen once every five years, it happens every day: in creative action, in voices speaking out about what they believe, in changing hearts and minds. So I will not cry into my morning cup of tea, I will aspire to go out and continue with the real politics I and others can believe in. Because boy will there be work to be done!"
There are things to celebrate election wise, great news in
God help us all now! Foodbanks, poverty, inequality, demonising diversity, detaining asylum seekers > Where now for progressive politics?
Oh dear I can't believe it
Not Ed Balls
Reasons to be depressed this morning: Tory majority, Murdoch victory, likelihood of Scottish independence, boundary changes & further shifting of BBC towards right-wing agenda making it even more difficult for other voices to be heard or prevail. Oh, and 5 years more of nasty, divisive scapegoating, marginalising the most vulnerable and cuts like we haven't seen.
Reasons to be hopeful: passion, compassion, solidarity and real politics start local, between neighbours; truth and justice, mercy and love *will* have the last word.
Now, as friends of mine have already said this morning, time to roll up sleeves and get stuck in. The politicians won't do it. We need to.
Can any of my friends tell me where one fills out emigration forms.....?
If you're moving to
more years of government murders then?
My picture is one of mourning for our country and the impact this result will have on the most vulnerable. For the fact the Tory party have gained support despite what they have done for the last five years. For the disappointment of people voting to benefit the individual rather than the community. Devastating.
Whatever political landscape we find ourselves in, we all have the capacity to inspire and work out a soulful politics from below. Shalom.
A more hopeful message, "Politics is about far, far more than parties, elections and polling days. We need to resist the plans for a massive extra £12bn in welfare cuts, the privatisation of the National Health Service, the ongoing attacks on education and the welfare state, the fuelling of climate change, the sale of arms to tyrants and the plans to throw £100 bn into a new generation of weapons of mass destruction... We can resist such policies in Parliament, through fresh ideas, in the media, on the streets, in our workplaces, in our communities and faith groups and places of education, through strikes, through protests, through nonviolent direct action and in our daily lives."
Retweeted Polly Toynbee (@pollytoynbee): So much to fear - for the NHS, for the BBC, for the low paid and the sick
Labour seat in Lancaster & Fleetwood just announced!! a small piece of good news.. Congratulations Cat Smith.
I'm conflicted by the fact that despite getting 12.4% of the vote, UKIP has one seat. Glad we were protected, devastated that it can happen in a 'democracy'
Its a long way up this bloody hill !
I am tired of politics... I wish I was stood here again watching the sun go down over Derwentwater & Keswick. In fact - If I get my way, I might just do that tonight!
Pray, pray pray for our best beloved community- it's gonna get a lot worse
getting the Blues; feeling so sad; wish i were asleep...
Moment of silence please, for all those trying to make it in the arts industry for the next 5 years under a Tory-led
What a disaster
Perfect fear casts out love. I cannot believe the political illiteracy and mean spirit of so many voters in
Shame on you who voted Tory !
PR is a fairer system
Something has gone horribly wrong when the best bit of news all night is that George Galloway and Tim Aker have failed to win.
I can't bear the thought of another Tory government. They will destroy everything. I cannot believe so many people have opted for such an uncaring, selfish, arrogant, bunch of blockheads.
I am without hope !
Woke to find I live in a country where the desire and greed of the well off and rich few is put before the needs of the many
Shocking number of people in #England who lied to the pollsters about their voting intentions..
I dread to think what will happen to the poorest areas now. It will signal the death knell of Local Government as central government funding is decimated.
I'm going to be having to work even harder for disabled people
Cameron's victory speech. Horrible, cruel drama tonight. Some bewildering losses. Expectation raised by polls & lost. So sorry. Knackered...
Looks like Conservatives will govern the
Reading Facebook posts, I don't seem to know any Tories . Do they just keep their heads down more than gobby lefties?
One consolation is that the lib dems are being destroyed (given how much they sold their supporters short of their 2010 manifesto, they deserve it!)
My former home,
Wow, scary looks as if the tories may have a majority, umm ukips getting some votes
Sorry to see Douglas Alexander go. One of the good guys, with a world-wide perspective on the common good.
Get Boris off the air!!!
Retweeted Milton Jones (@themiltonjones): Think tonight all returning officers should start with 'it's great to be back
Hey ho. The great British public have bottled it and voted in favour of another 5 years of Katie Hopkins. Self-interest once again looks like trumping the common good, but that's democracy for you (or at least what passes for democracy in a first-past-the-post system).
It just hit me and I sobbed my heart out. I am genuinely frightened for the sick, young, poor, disabled, all of us.
I think that I'll be re-discovering my Scottish Roots. I think that the Australian ones are less attractive at the moment ...
cannot tell you how sick the election results are making me feel
Friday, 24 April 2015
I think I've become addicted to the Facebook Group of the I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue Appreciation Society https://www.facebook.com/groups/ISIHAC/
Here are my contributions to the late arrivals at the Londoners' Ball
North London.. she's a real bruiser Tough Nell Park
- Bowling along there the Irish cricketer Ken Ington O'val
- And the noble batsman Lord Stjohn Wood
- Mr Neymarshes and his journalist son known as Hack
- The rodent operative from old
Chinatown.. Chou En Limehouse
- Mr n Mrs N Treeheath n their daughter Becca
- From docklands please welcome Mr & Mrs Ertown and their daughter Silv with her imaginary friend the Wool Witch Fairy
- With their medical bags in hand Victoria, Albert and Sir Rey.. they must be some of the Royal docs
- I don't know who those three are ..Ah yes one's Ted Park
- And the other two must be his conjoined twin brothers Wes-Tam
my contributions to the beauty queens at various carnivals
- the embezzlers' carnival had Miss Appropriate
- the French translators/ carnival had Miss De Meaner
- the pessimists carnival queen was always Miss E Rable
- At the Coroners' Carnival
- spectators suffered death by Miss Adventure. This the police found a complete Miss Teree
- the catholic priests carnival had Miss Al (though the
covered it up for years) Vatican
- and the ornithologists (or Itchy Twitchers) had Miss Le Thrush
TRANSPOSED BOOK TITLES
Aches and Kale
Brie Then in a Moat.
Our van in Oman Ah!
Rigid Bones Dairy
The Mystery Han
The Tray of the Dyffydds
Chic Blouse by D'arles Chickens
A sad mummers dream night
News headlines from 1536
Tenpin News -- Last strike spells end of the Boleyn Annie
Blackpool Gazzette ... Bloody end to Hen Party
Dangerous sports with insects
- Pond skaters
- Golf caddies flies lava
- Jolly hockey stick insects
- Gymnas ticks
- Whore Netball
Late arrivals at the medical ball
Mr and Mrs Beticcoma and their Welsh son Dai
Followed by his Chinese friend In Su Lin
From the judge's bench M'lud Transfusion. He'll send you to the red cells
Ms N marrow - transplant and her latest Beau
And her cousins Kia and Mo Therapy
Seven members of the Boat race crew with their Cox Yx who has suffered a stroke
Master Ramedic and his aged Pa
Mr Urgency and his ward Emma
Ms. NColagist and her favourite Guy
Ms Greenstick-Fracture and her ex Ray
The ostomy bag regiment and their senior officer Col. etc..
Mr & Mrs Neystone and their little kid
Late arrivals at the
- It may be hot in
but gal keep that vest on for decency's sake Texas
- From north of 49th parallel.. Mr Pegg and his poohy wife Winnie
- Chief Native American B... in an earlier state known as Indian A
- and now the Pitts (elder and younger) both munching burgers
- Here come the Getty's .and the Burgers.. but they are late because we gave the wrong address
Thursday, 16 April 2015
Monday, 13 April 2015
Friday, 10 April 2015
- it is individualistic based on psychology and ignores the social and political
- it may not work in practice as a ladder or pyramid up which people progress
- it seems rather "new agey" and about personal fulfilment rather than rooted in a Christian or Biblical theology of the human condition
- it focuses on need and has little recognition of assets which every human being brings into the world