September 29, 2008
Well they are right that the US has made only a moderate (to be generous) effort toward the MDGs. But the US as a whole doesn't really approve of the goals (or in the case of some of the goals like the amount the US spends on international development, thinks the US is already way above the goals.)
I think associating economics with the gospel is a big step on the road to the uniquely American heresy that is Prosperity Gospel. As Christians, yes, we ought to be concerned not just for our brothers and sisters in the global South, but for all people. However, it is not our goal to proclaim the escape from poverty, but escape from sin.<br><br>Lending at interest is what pushes the economy in all directions. A cash economy by nature begets the poor and the rich. Should the gap be so large? Perhaps not, but to think that the amount of money poured into sub-Saharan Africa for medical care, AIDS prevention, economic development, et cetera is without merit is a joke. As much as these nations are in debt, they are also getting absolutely free economic aide.<br><br>I find it funny that as the country is clamoring against the government buying out 700 billion dollars worth of a faltering economy, we develop a sense of "debt forgiveness" for the third world. We would never say "forgive debt" at home; we say the government should stay out of business. And yet globally we want a nation already 10 trillion dollars in debt to forget about any capital stream it may have from countries that owe us.<br><br>I would not, as a citizen, raise my voice to the government about economic inequality. People tried that once, it was called socialism and led to such things as NAZI fascism and Soviet Stalinism and Maoist Communism. Let NGO's and individual address the issue. I am not here preaching against the social justice commitment of the Gospel--but it is the concern of the church, of individuals, to be a ministry. The government is concerned with justice, which is not the same as grace.<br><br>A Salvation Army CO signed this, as well as the director for the Center for the Development of Holistic Ministry. They should look to themselves, to their own organizations, including globally, to minister holistically. American Christians, go forth into the world, even if it is only as far as your backyard, and donate to the cause. Be a missionary, donate. Do not solicit the government to do what is not its duty and then pat yourself on the back for doing the right thing. That is passing the buck.
My question to these signatores would be: are you making these same statements to your own governments? Are you changing your own nations in such a way that they can get off the US gov't dole and take care of their own citizens? <br><br>Money always comes with strings attached, even from the "wonderful" US. Strings usually bind things. Are you willing to be bound with the strings of debt to the US? Will you pay it back? And when?<br><br>Getting rid of global poverty cannot be done solely with money. It will also take people who will work within their own countries to make things right for the citizens of those countries. Oftentimes, that is lacking. You like the money capitalism provides, yet many times, those same people despise capitalism. You can't have it both ways.
Excuses and defensiveness? This is our answer? <br><br> Is our Government Christian? Are our Political and Economic Leaders Christian? Nominally, perhaps, but not, for the most part in actuality. And the governments of these countries steeped in poverty? Are they Christian? Are they responsible for upholding Christian morals? Most certainly not. <br><br> The fallacy of all these excuses is that we are asking those who DO NOT KNOW JESUS to fulfill his Commission. A Commission to BELIEVERS, NOT NON-believers-- and NOT Governments.<br><br> It is on US (not The U.S.) to do the right thing: Seek Truth; care for orphans and widows; aid the poor; visit the prisoners; heal the sick; and clothe the naked. WE are to do this in CONJUNCTION with feeding and saving souls, not instead of, or to the neglect of. Be that as it may, our Government is failing because CHRISTIANS do not see themselves as political beings. We think that our faith is separate from how we vote (usually by our pocketbooks). We vote Democratic because we value a free ride over lost sleep, sacrifice, and elbow grease. We vote Republican because we want to keep our "hard-earned" cash in our own pocket and we worship the Capitalist Economy. We protest the war in Iraq, NOT because Saddam Hussein wasn't a murderous dictator, or because we never found WMDs, but because we really don't give a rat's a$$ about people and children on the other side of the planet whose families have been murdered; who are daily being indoctrinated into the slavery of a Religious State run by hypocrites of the worst kind; and who will never know a day of true freedom in their entire lives. We eat our double cheeseburgers, drink our wine, sit on our fat a$$es and blame the Government for all our problems (regardless of what Party is in power).<br><br> What percentage of us vote? What percentage of those of us who vote, vote WISELY and in accordance with God's priorities rather than our own? (And across Party lines when necessary!)<br><br> How many of us are living in nice big houses, sleep in nice soft comfortable beds, eat 3 squares a day, and may have to give up a night or two on the town and a couple rounds of golf in order to send our kids to college? How many of us will/would take out a second mortgage to give our children the wedding of their dreams? How many of us have to rearrange the clothes in our walk-in closets or pile up our extra pairs of shoes whenever we go shopping?<br><br> Compared to what the people in the countries represented by this letter endure, I know I am RICH. Disgustingly so. How about you? I read this letter and I am charged and convicted. I am disgusted with myself because I don't have the courage and fortitude to do more. I don't blame my government. And while I might blame theirs, I don't blame the lost souls for whom bringing about the change needed to raise them up means imprisonment and death. <br><br>The Millennium Development Goals may not be a true representation of what Christ's goals would be, but I'll bet most are on the right track. If you don't like them, do something BETTER. <br>
Every year, we (the people and nations in the 1st world) are getting better at directing aid where it will best serve people, directly. We're not perfect, we weren't perfect, and we won't be perfect, but we are getting better. Like it's said in the Bible, strive for what is ahead because perfection hasn't been reached yet. Don't call it the Millenium Development Goals if you have an issue with that; but no matter what you call it, it's still very much in line with what Christ calls us to do with our lives, so "get off your donkey" and do something about it. <br><br>[See this link for more info (even if it doesn't say he literally got off his donkey in Luke 10, as he might have been giving the donkey a rest, but you get the jist):<br><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/studiomuntz/2879268586/in/pool-cfcc" rel="nofollow">http://www.flickr.com/photos/s...</a> ]<br><br>kjml - THANK YOU for standing up to the naysayers and outlining in such an articulate manner how we can still be called to act even if we don't agree 100% with everything that's happening within this concerted effort. Your personal witness here has served to encourage me greatly because I have grown weary in wondering if I'm all alone in my desire to serve both here and abroad as Christ has blessed me to do, because he has blessed me with much and expects much from me. Our culture does little to encourage it, even within our churches, and I want to do what I can to "wake up" my church to action around these very goals. <br><br>Does anyone have recommendations for on-line communities (perhaps that have physical presence as well) that I could hook-up with to be encouraged? In any case, this letter will continually serve as a wake-up call from our placated, very rich lives.
skywaykate: Strange as it may seem, Facebook has a Group for Christian Bloggers that may be just what you need. From what I've seen, a number of the members are active in the third world. Hang in there! (And God Bless You.)
Okay so I read this and will agree that the initial response is not good, nor does it tell what is happening in each of the countries listed. War, greed, governments for whom ever is in charge and not for the people. What have we done to help our brothers and sisters in those countries, I personally don't know what the various organizations from the United States have done. I know about "nets" and about the various mission trips to Africa to dig wells and provide medicine to some villages. I know that people here are reminded frequently to provide what they can to help, even if only a prayer. Yes we need to do more and that should start with prayer to God who will open those doors when the time comes for us to deliver what is needed. But, as humans we are not always patient and I know that like so many others want our prayer answered first. At last we will receive what is needed in God's time, which we all know is the perfect time. In God's Grace John
Add your comment to join the discussion!