Category Archives: campaigns

Its not about the money

“It’s not about the money, money, money
We don’t need your money, money, money
We just wanna make the world dance,
Forget about the price tag”

And so the lyrics of Jessis J’s hit song Price Tag have been running through my mind of late as I try to match the lyric to the billion dollar industry where it’s all about the money, where extravagance is where it’s at, where the cult of celebrity strives to accumulate more and more stuff to gain popularity, success and ultimately happiness.

But does money = happiness, is that ultimately what it’s all about? As MTV seeks not just to influence but “own” this generation are the values it sells us true, or are we being sold a lie?

Are we just PEOPLE, or are we JUST people?

We’ve spent the last 6 weeks at YF looking through the Tearfund resource Just People, looking at what scripture has to say on the matters of justice / poverty and our response as followers of Christ.  And I admit it’s greatly challenged me afresh as I’ve reflected on how it’s right throughout the storyline of scripture from Genesis to Revelation, was a focal point of Jesus ministry here on earth, is to be an expression of our worship of God and indeed right at the heart of the gospel message.

These words from Micah 6:8 have been ringing in my ear as i’ve thought through these issues and explored it further

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Justice is more than an optional add-on to our faith, something good that we do. It’s at the heart of the gospel, an expression of our worship and evidences the reality of the life changing grace we have received in Christ.  And it’s not an issue on which I can quietly sit on the fence and remain indifferent.  As Desmond Tutu puts it “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

When Christians stay silent it sends out a wrong – yet very clear – message about Jesus: we’re telling people that he doesn’t care. Has this been the message that’s been ringing out in my daily lifestyle choices as I traverse the paths of this global;y connected village where my neighbour is not just across the street, but is equally on the other side of the world?

The diseases of consumerism and materialism that plague western society are crippling the poor and disadvantaged of society, that’s the stark reality that I can easily numb down in my mind because it makes me feel uncomfortable. As Coldplay put it in their hit track Clocks :  “Am I part of the cure, or am I part of the disease”.

So am I meant to feel guilty, wrestle with this in my head and bemoan the fact that it’s something that’s just too big for me to do anything about?  Or am I going to do something about it? Again the words of Micah 6:8 ring in my ears “and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?“.

I’ve found the following video produced by Tearfund useful in giving me practical ways I can seek to develop a rhythm of justice in my daily choices that can make a difference not just for me, but for others in this global village that i’m connected into.

And so I begin the journey of trying to flesh this out in my daily life, making this a reality in my living and not just something I read about, talk about, am impacted by but ultimately do nothing about. Here goes, care to join me…………..

Days ahead

Its been a while

Well over a month has passed since I last blogged and recorded my thoughts on here. Seems strange coming back to it now after a lengthy break, but I just scanning through past entries I can see it’s use as I see what God’s been putting on my heart in recent months. Things recently have been pretty hectic, this past month more so than normal it seems, and a number of times my quiet times have suffered and I find that other commitments and pressures have squeezed God out to the periphery. But I’m off for a few days now, time to recharge the batteries, and more importantly spend quality time chilling out with God, re-connecting to the one whose will I have surrendered my life to.
Have been looking through the Make Poverty History material recently, looking through some of the issues with our youth groups. It’s opened my eyes afresh to God’s heart for social justice and equality for all, and how far mankind has fallen from this as the rich nations get richer and often attribute to rather than alleviate from the injustices and in-equalities that exist in the world today. Its amazing as you read back through Old Testament times, that no matter how far we have progressed technologically, the issues that separated man from God were the same then as they are today. And God still demands the same of his people today as he did in the days of the prophet Zechariah:

Zechariah 7 vs. 9-10
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widower or the fatherless, the alien or the poor. In your hearts do not think evil of each other’

I’ve also been involved in planning for the summer, holding an event for young people in the area. Its something I’ve had a desire to do for a while now, and it was awesome to find out that it’s something God has been placing on the hearts of a number of others. After much prayer, and a couple of meetings later we now have an idea of where we feel God is directing us with it. Reach Out is gonna be a week-long mission/gathering of teenagers from our community and the surrounding area. The idea is to provide an environment where young people are presented with a faith that’s real, that reaches beyond the 4 walls of a church, and that is expressed in service and showing Christ’s love in practical ways. They will be involved in servant-hearted, community based projects, breaking down generational and social barriers as they show Christ’s love to the community in practical ways. This will be supplemented with fun activities, outings and sessions that deal with the Big Questions of Life in a culturally relevant format.

Makes you think

Some stats worth thinking about :

  • The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people combined.
  • 20% of the population in the developed nations, consume 86% of the worlds goods.

Just a couple of stats that struck home with me, for more check out this link.

How do we as Christians react to these injustices in the world, what is our response : do we even care as we sit in the luxuries of western civilisation?

Makes you think

A few things that have been catching my eye lately while surfing around the web :

The Make Poverty History campaign http://www.makepovertyhistory.org/home.html is a great opportunity to highlight poverty and trade justice issues on a global level, seeking to influence governments to act now on world poverty. As christians we should be concerned deeply about the world we live in, and the many injustices that exist in it, why? Because God cares, so we should also. We are to be his voice, his hands, his feet into all the world, so let’s start being that!!

A number of sites have further info on all this stuff including :

http://www.guardian.co.uk/hearafrica05/

http://www.oxfam.org.uk/

http://www.tearfund.org/Campaigning/

http://www.christian-aid.org.uk/campaign/mph/index.htm

Tonight i’m heading to the following event: http://www.creonline.co.uk/frameset.asp?show=northernireland, i’m sure i’ll write about it after