Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Global Poverty and Being a Blessing

I've been speaking out of Acts this week at this conference, and have been reminded of that our pirmary calling as believers is to BE a blessing to those around us, irregardless of whether they ever believe. Bless, simply because we've been blessed, and we as image bearers of our Father, delight to give and serve!

How do we apply this? There are many ways, but one of the important ways is by wrestling with and responding to the causes of global poverty. Did you know that the developing world now spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants? This, and other fun facts are yours to digest, if you'll take the time to do so. Why take the time? Because in Luke 14, and 16, and 18, and 19 Jesus tells us to make caring for poor a priority. And Paul says that caring for the poor is the one thing that we simply must do.

The point? Pray for the G8 conference and for the leaders of the free world, who hold in their hands the fate of billions. And in keeping with the intention to bless, stand with those who are calling for debt relief, as this will be one critical factor in addressing the scourge of poverty. The Live 8 concerts will be unfolding for this very purpose in the coming days. Far from the indulgences of Woodstock, these concerts (at least the Hyde Park one in London, I'm not sure about the rest) will be alcohol free events, intent on articulating the desperate nature of the global poverty situation, as the lives of increasing millions of children are at stake.

Poverty is a kingdom of God issue. Surely, if Pat Robertson and Tom Hanks can agree on this, our community can join together as well, praying for the world to send a powerful message, through concerts, conversations, legislation, and peaceful protests, to its leaders: Make global poverty a priority!!

Of course we can do more than pray. But that's a subject for another time, or your feedback.


At 1/7/05 11:03, Anonymous Tiffany said...

Richard: Thank you for addressing, in my opinion, the most important political topic of my lifetime. Besides the moral obligation we have towards the poor, poverty effects us in so many ways – economically, politically, etc. I have sent many letters and e-mails to our political leaders encouraging them to make this a priority, but beyond that, what can I do? I believe that “To whom much is given, much is required” but I’m not sure how that translates to me personally. I really had a desire to go to Edinburgh to lend my voice to the call for our leaders to take on this “war on poverty” but I’m never quite sure how to balance my family obligations with my political passions. I will continue to pray for our leaders, the G8 discussions, and my own desires “to BE a blessing to those around us” for God’s glory.

At 10/7/05 14:40, Anonymous Jenny Sorensen said...

Amen! Thanks for speaking up on this topic. The american media often misses the boat until the protest turns sour and there is something "interesting" to report. I have to say that it was an amazing experience to stand together with 200,000 people in Edinburgh--all wearing white and wanting to let the G8 leaders and the world know that we believe it's time to Make Poverty History. But that was the easy bit for us--we live in Edinburgh--the march started meters from our doorstep. Now the difficult bit starts--loving the poor who live here, around the corner, next door. Please pray that we would have the courage to do what we can to usher in the Kingdom of God and bless the poor here in Edinburgh.

At 11/7/05 06:12, Blogger Jeremy said...

Whew! I couldn't agree more... and I am so glad that you folks on the West coast are aware and advocating for this amazing project! One think that I've found is that we as Christians need to be vigilant in explaining the how as much as the why of global debt relief and development assistance. Often it is not a hard case to make that we should be providing assistance given our great material abundance. Beyond that though, many are fearful of the process itself. I commend a couple resources to you for clearing the air about the viability of the prophetic efforts of the UN Millenium Project and the One campaign:

*From the Millenium Project FAQ, on whether aid dollars will be wasted

*From World Vision's One Village project, reporting on the incredible success with one example of debt relief in Tanzania

At 14/7/05 23:07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"irregardless" is not a real word. The word is simply "regardless."

At 27/7/05 13:32, Anonymous Penny said...

Like Jenny, I was able to be in Edinburgh for the Long Walk to Justice (with a delegation of ONE campaign supporters). Here is excerpts from an email that I sent to them while there. Maybe some of you will find it interesting.

Check out or for more info

The ONE campaign put together a delegation of committed volunteers from around
the US (there's about a hundred of us) to come to Edinburgh to
participate in the Long Walk to Justice, which is the convergence of supporters for the Make Poverty History (UK's ONE campaign).

It's been a time of reflection, strategizing, and sharing amongst the delegates on what WE are doing to make poverty history. But it's also been full of celebrities and media broohaha. Again, a bit odd.
Sadly, that's what it takes to get the American media and many
American people involved or interested in such a campaign. But in truth, it's just really amazing to see what people in the rest of the world are doing with this call to end poverty as we know it, as I've met people from all over the world who are so strong and so committed
to this call for justice.

I am again daunted by the statistics that 30,000 children die each day from preventable illnesses - illnesses we have the ability to STOP and have stopped on this side of the world - and I have been reminded again that many of those 30,000 children are orphaned by the 20,000
adults that die every day from extreme poverty. It's staggering.

We've been talking in our group about mobilizing people and I've been so humbled and amazed by the work that people are doing to educate their communities about the staggering statistics that come from Africa and the developing world. And many people have never even been
there!! I wasn't half as passionate as they are until I went to Calcutta. And so many people from the community of faith. It gives
me hope. Now my prayer is that God would change my pride and my lack of faith. It's so easy to condemn and so hard to sacrifice. I pray that this is a pivotal time in this long journey to do something rather than just talk about it - and to give my life so completely to
Jesus and to his call that I consider it pure joy when he asks me to do things in His name that are not as glamorous or 'fun' as this. I pray that for all of us...

Well, it's easy to be open and real when you are engaged in such
fight as this - the fight for faith rather than apathy, and the fight for justice rather than profit. There was a woman from the African Council of Churches who spoke to us in Heathrow who was so eloquent and passionate and STRONG. And she said something I will never forget


So powerful, so captivating, and with God's grace and our cooperation, SO REAL.


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