reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Make Poverty History...

posted by Little Mo | Permalink |
well - if only. But this a big campaign to get governments of rich countries to end the issues of poverty facing poorer countries by - fair trade, cancelling debt, and giving better and more aid. Fair play. We think that is a good thing.

Lots of Christians are involved in the project, including evangelical relief agency Tear Fund (with whom I am...ahem...somewhat familiar) I went to a church service on Sunday, the aim of which was to raise awareness amongst Christians of the whole thing. I came away, however, feeling a bit uneasy. This was for a number of reasons, including -

1) we can make people's lives better all we want, but unless they turn to Christ they still face God's judgement. I can over rule this one in my mind though by pointing out (to myself - yes I do have an issue with this - "the voices, where are they coming from") that God seems quite concerned about issues of poverty and the church in question does a lot of evangelism as well, and it's very easy to say that when I am part of the top richest 1% in the world or something
but also:
2) there are a lot of people involved in make poverty history with whom I have quite serious disagreements. This includes groups of other religions, gay rights organisations, but most concerning for me, other "Christian" groups who hold heterodox or heretical views, and many of whom think that by ending poverty we are achieving the kingdom of God on earth. Which we are not, by the way.

To deal with this, I think if evangelicals are going to get involved in MPH, which I think they should, they need to make their distinctive addition to the debate MUCH clearer. This was not, I have to say, done well at the church service I attended. Basically, the message was that Jesus was kind to people, especially the poor, and we should be too. No Gospel. (It also rested on a pretty faulty exegesis of Luke 4, in my humble opinion but that's a whole separate issue.) Our distinctive addition to the discussion is surely grace. That people should be treated BETTER than what they deserve, because we as Christians have been treated that way by God. After all God's concern for the poor is nearly always linked to his character in the Bible AND nearly always linked to his concern for the "poor in spirit" which I don't think is a material reference.
If we are going to campaign about poverty we need to make it clear that it is part of a bigger issue for us - the love of God for his creation most centrally revealed in Christ. This is not to say that campaigning about poverty is just a platform for altar calls about Jesus - but it is to say, I think, that we are selling God short by geting involved in a campaign like this and not explaining why. Of course, if we do people are less likely to want us in their campaign. Perhaps that's the issue.


Anonymous un strano italiano said...

questo e un blog molto interessante. fa me pensare del cose importante del mondo....grazie moo, grazie mille

5:24 AM  
Anonymous One Simple-Minded American said...

mo--upon perusing your blog, i can't help but feel like mine is insufficient in a number of ways. mainly, that it's completely lacking in intellect. your blogging has challenged me and has maybe even put my abilities to shame. i do, however, appreciate the recognition in your links and humbly ask for your wise guidance in blogmanship so that i may spur my readers on.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:19 PM  
Blogger Nghia James Brown Room said...

hey maurice thank u so much for ur insite to this topic, one of which i am still none the closer to understand fuller. i love ur honesty and have always loved ur comments. i have felt the same alot about the social action side of things as many of my friends are very much (as u say) into it!!! lol and i find myself still abit confuse on what i think or understand about the whole thing. maybe when im back we can talk about it more.cos i think i have always wanted to talk to u more about things anyways.

thanks for all ur help mr maurice. see u at church.

4:42 PM  

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