People give to people

Flour distribution in KenyaYears ago, soon after the formation of Kingscare (now known as Karuna Action), I attended a seminar which brought people together who represented Christian organisations working overseas. I can only remember one particular statement. It has stayed with me since.

“People give to people”.

  • People don’t give to my organisation.
  • People don’t voluntarily give to governments.
  • People don’t give to causes unless they benefit real people.
  • People don’t give to charities as such, they only do so if others will benefit.
  • People give to people.

Continue reading “People give to people”

Immigrants or Settlers

Peoples of Britain circa 600
Peoples of Britain circa 600 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Immigration is a hot issue in the United Kingdom right now. Some time ago I picked up a copy of the Daily ? (a paper that I don’t normally read) and the story on the front page was going on about immigrants and basically implying that we should pull up the drawbridge and prevent any further immigration into our already “overcrowded Island”.

Turning to page 20 (or thereabouts) was an article about how the world economic crisis had affected Dubai and how “poor” British “settlers” were suffering from the economic fallout.

Probably the two journalists did not meet to discuss how they should handle the situation. But why are migrants to the United Kingdom demonised and called immigrants (a word with all sort of connotations) whilst British migrants to other countries were treated sympathetically as settlers? Continue reading “Immigrants or Settlers”

Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness

man-in-desert
Desperate thirst

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
(Matthew 5:6 NIV)

I have never known true physical hunger, but I am well aware that millions of children go to bed every night desperately hungry. My life has never been threatened by thirst, but I can well imagine that thirst becomes the overriding priority of a man crossing a desert.

Why we should increase the minimum wage (UK)

The Minimum Wage is not a Living Wage
The Minimum Wage is not a Living Wage

The government of the United Kingdom says that is trying to encourage people back to work and reduce dependence upon state benefits. To do this, most of the emphasis has been on reducing benefits. I believe that rather than the stick of reducing benefits, more could be achieved by the carrot of increasing the minimum wage. In turn this would reduce our benefits bill and increase our national income through Income Tax, National Insurance, Value Added Tax etc.

There are about 1,350,000 people in Britain who only receive the minimum wage with a further 4 million earning less than a “living wage” (see below). Because it is impossible to support a family on this level, a great number of these will also be receiving state benefits. It is wrong that we, as taxpayers, should be subsidising companies who fail to pay a living wage to their workers. Continue reading “Why we should increase the minimum wage (UK)”

National Debt and why we must all pull together

debt bomb
UK National Debt, excluding bank bailouts, based on official data

During the second world war we all had to suffer deprivations so that we could maintain our freedom as a country. Basically we all pulled together. Bombs were no respecter of persons. We had the political will and leadership needed so that every one had to bear the burden and pay the price for our freedom.

Now we face an economic situation which potentially could be even more serious. But where is the political will to unite the country?

We have blamed the benefit “scroungers”, the immigrants, the bankers, the Conservatives, the Lib-Dems, the Labour party: everyone but ourselves. This is a call for unity. To stop being divisive and for everyone, rich, poor or somewhere in the middle, to accept their share of responsibility, and for us ALL to work together to get us out of the mess we are in. Continue reading “National Debt and why we must all pull together”

The joy of giving

Mother Theresa
Mother Theresa found joy by giving her life

It is good to give. It marks us out as different from the animals. We are made in the image of God, and He is a God who loves to give. We have a deep-rooted desire to give. That desire can be drowned by the cares of life and it is so easy to forget the joy of giving and harden our hearts to those in need through indifference and self-interest.

If we come across a fellow human-being in great need, there are a number of responses we make.

Giving in the Bible

Sowing seed in India
A farmer giving seed to the soil. What a temptation to eat his seed! But by sacrificially sowing, he will reap with joy.

Giving is a way of life, not just an optional extra to make us feel better. These verses from the Bible show that giving enriches our lives as well as enriching the lives of those we give to. It is a win-win situation. I am not promising you cars and yachts  but I am saying that having a generous heart will make you a better and happier (or in biblical language, blessed) person.

Giving, is the way of love, compassion and justice and can set us apart from a world system so often based on self-interest and greed. Because we are made in the image of God, all human beings have, deep down, a desire to give and to love. Let us rediscover the joy of giving, and together change this sad old world of ours!

Quotations from Old Testament

Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. Deuteronomy 15:10 Continue reading “Giving in the Bible”

Social Justice (Worldwide)

Above the Old Bailey courts in London. A sword in one hand to execute justice and scales in the other to ensure fairness.
Above the Old Bailey courts in London. A sword in one hand to execute justice and scales in the other to ensure fairness.

When it comes to human relationships, love, compassion and justice must go hand in hand. In talking about social justice I am not talking about justice as retribution or punishment but as justice in the way we treat our fellow-man. When people are wronged, they may cry out for justice to be done, and often won’t be satisfied unless the wrongdoer is punished for their crimes against them. Social Justice demands that we correct the unfairness of society but does not demand retribution or punishment.

  • 20,000 innocent children who die every day of preventable diseases cry out for justice.
  • 1 billion people living in extreme poverty cry out for a fairer world system.
  • Poor workers who satisfy western demand for things like coffee, chocolate, vegetables etc. cry out for a reasonable percentage of the final price.
  • Millions, working as virtual slaves in industry cry out for freedom from exploitation.
  • A million plus woman trapped in the sex industry cry out for respect and liberty.
  • An estimated 127 million children working in conditions which are harmful to their health and welfare cry out for a decent start in life.
  • Over 100 million children between 5 and 11, who receive no education at al,l cry out for at least a primary education so that they are not condemned to produce another desperately poor generation.
  • 400 million children between 12 and 17 who do not attend secondary school cry out for the opportunities that education would bring.

    Continue reading “Social Justice (Worldwide)”

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