Below is an article by Walter Brueggemann entitled “Enough is Enough”. Brueggemann is a world-renowned Old Testament scholar, prolific author and a prophetic voice in a world dying for lack of imagination. I don’t normally post exterior articles, but this is more than worth the exception.
Source: The Other Side, November-December 2001, Vol. 37, No. 5.
“In feeding the hungry crowd, Jesus reminds us that the wounds of scarcity can be healed only by faith in God’s promise of abundance. “
by Walter Brueggemann
We live in a world where the gap between scarcity and abundance grows wider every day. Whether at the level of nations or neighborhoods, this widening gap is polarizing people, making each camp more and more suspicious and antagonistic toward the other.
But the peculiar thing, at least from a biblical perspective, is that the rich – the ones with the abundance – rely on an ideology of scarcity, while the poor – the ones suffering from scarcity – rely on an ideology of abundance. How can that be? The issue involves whether there is enough to go around – enough food, water, shelter, space. An ideology of scarcity says no, there’s not enough, so hold onto what you have. In fact, don’t just hold onto it, hoard it. Put aside more than you need, so that if you do need it, it will be there, even if others must do without. Read the rest of this entry
Below is a story from a friend named Caley. Caley is 17 and just finished school. She also just went on a trip to Western Kenya as part of one of TEAR Australia’s Development Educations Experience Programs (DEEPs). Caley writes:
We went to learn about what effective development looks like, and to meet people whose lives have been changed by the programs that TEAR supports. One of the things many Kenyans said to me while I was there, was to tell Australians about their story when I returned. I want to do that now!
Below she recounts a story that relates to climate change and its effects on the poor in Kenya. I hope you find this story as moving and challenging as I did. (Note: this story is unedited.)
Sitting under a tree, on the dusty earth, were four Kenyan men. On a small solar powered radio they were listening to a sermon. We were on a tour of the village and we stopped to talk to them. It was the words of one of these men that changed my perceptions about climate change, and deeply convicted me about the action I need to take against it.
I did not catch the name of the eldest man under the tree. I remember his words though: “The sun is squashing us” he said. “We pray for rain and it feels like the devil replies”. Read the rest of this entry
Recently I was asked if I truly believed that global poverty could ever be “fixed”. The question was accompanied by a reference to Mark 14:7—“For you always have the poor with you…”
Have you ever wondered what Jesus might have meant in Mark 14:7? Was he saying that we should not bother helping the poor, since the problem of poverty will never end? Perhaps he was saying personal acts of devotion were superior to helping the poor?
Check out my latest article from TEAR’s Target Magazine, entitled “For you will always have the poor with you…“, for my perspective on this often misunderstood passage of Scripture.
It can be used, from one point of view or another, to describe almost any conclusion regarding moral rightness. How the scales of justice are balanced often depends on the weights placed upon them, and this is in most ways a subjective affair. These weights may come in the form of such concepts as fairness, retribution, restoration and redistribution, or more cynically in realities such as greed and self-interest.
I cannot hope to outline a comprehensive or even convincing treatise of justice in this post, though sharing a few thoughts may be in order.
From a Christian perspective justice finds its definitive bearing in God. How to understand God is, however, not an easy task given both his transcendence and our interpretative horizons and limits.
Which commands of God are just? All of them? If so is a directive to genocide, such as those in the Old Testament, to be considered just? Does our ability as humans to obey such commands affect what is commanded of us by God? Read the rest of this entry
A reader of life.remixed writes:
Nice post on creationism [referring to this - MCA]. I have a challenge for a future post. So much of the material I read (mags, news, online etc) cries out for us to change what we’re doing to save the planet. The problem is, even if I wanted to I couldn’t make all the changes they describe.
I would love to see a 5/10/whatever point plan outlining the most significant changes someone can make (eg is eating vegetarian or not having a car best for reducing carbon emissions. Or it might be turning your appliances off at the wall saves more carbon than not driving. Make sense?).
Anyways, just a thought!
Such a good question, and one that I have received many times over in different ways; essentially, what can I/we do to help the planet? Read the rest of this entry
National Sorry Day was first observed in 1998, one year after a report was tabled concerning the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report, entitled as Bringing Them Home, acknowledged that these children were forcibly removed from their families and communities beginning in the early days of British occupation of the land, and that the government and missionaries were most directly responsible.
Reconciliation Week begins on May 27 with the anniversary of a Referendum in 1967 which removed clauses from the Australian Constitution that were discriminatory to Aboriginal Australians.
The week ends on June 3, the anniversary of the infamous Mabo case of 1992 in which the High Court of Australia recognised Native Title rights and overturned ‘terra nullius’ (the myth that prior to European settlement the land was empty of people and was unowned.)
Clearly this is a significant time for the Aboriginal people and for all Australians. Read the rest of this entry
Every quarter TEAR Australia puts out a magazine called Target which focuses on news and issues in aid and development. I was privileged to be able to write a short Bible study for the latest edition.
This quarter’s theme is (dis)Ability, and as you might guess it addresses disability and the creation of an inclusive world.
My study is called ‘The Tyranny of Normality‘. Feel free to give it a read, along with the rest of the latest Target.
Indeed, the Industrial Revolution was built on the philosophy that the world works like a machine, and that it can be controlled by those who effectively see themselves as somehow separate to or greater than the great earth engine.
Such a mechanical view of the planet can be traced back to (among others) Isaac Newton and his mechanical laws of physics. Such laws reduced the world down to predictable rules.
But the world of science has changed, blown apart by Einsteinian relativity. The world and beyond is not the machine humans thought it was, and indeed it cannot be mastered the way humans thought could be done (though some will continue to say “Yes, we can!”).
The truth is that the earth is a living thing! It forms a bio-web of life which embraces millions of creatures.
I’ve gone and set up a shop over at Usefulgifts.org. You can visit it here.
Every Useful Gift in TEAR’s Gift Catalogue is part of a long-term program designed to give communities the resources they need to address their problems in appropriate, sustainable ways.
As Christmas approaches the temptation is for us to be sucked in by the consumerism of it all. But Christmas celebrates Jesus coming into the world to bring salvation…
… so why not bring salvation in the life of a poor community this year?
$5 is not even enough to buy a Big Mac meal, but it could pay for training in fish farming for a community, or buy school supplies for a student
$20 is not even enough to buy a new DVD, but it could buy safe water for a household
$45 is not even enough pay most people’s monthly phone bill, but it could pay one child’s primary school fees
$70 is not even enough to buy a toilet seat , but it can buy a whole toilet for a community
$100 can’t pay for your work laptop, but it’s enough to act as loan to help a poor family start a business which will lift them out of poverty
The bonus of your generosity through TEAR is that you know the money is going to the people who need it because TEAR gives all money donated through the Useful Gifts program straight to their partner projects who work on the ground.
So please be generous this Christmas, and give to people who won’t refund your gifts or throw them out. It would be great to raise $5000 by Christmas time, so please consider a gift to an unmet neighbour.