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Old 02-05-2006, 11:01 PM   #91
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
You took the words right out of my mouth lol.

But you were right, nb, it would be better not to frame the issue around what is wrong (sin) but rather what is right (how to please God).

Jesus never speaks of homosexuality but goes on and on and on about how serving Him is about doing right by the poor. So why is it that the most vocal, organized and political religious conservatives focus their political might and influence (in part through letter campaigns...) on oppression of perceived sexual impropriety and not on the poor (at home as well as abroad)?

How is that serving and pleasing God?
I’m not sure why this issue turns into a conservative/liberal battle, especially when it is shown that both sides use Scripture to serve political ends. And, I think we live with a false dichotomy that conservatives focus on gay marriage to the exclusion of helping the poor (I am speaking of the work of individuals and churches, not political parties). As hiphop correctly notes, the political battles haven’t (and likely will not) solved the core problem addressed by this thread.

Again, I would challenge all readers to take Bono’s words personally. If you agree that 1% of gross income should go to the poor – donate to the most effective entity you know or take matters into your own hand. When a man came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do?” Jesus replied “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Not write a letter to Caesar and ask that the Romans change their policies.

I would bet that people are more likely to respond in kind (donate their own $$) to the direct action of individuals than political campaigning.
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:00 AM   #92
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
When a man came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do?” Jesus replied “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Not write a letter to Caesar and ask that the Romans change their policies.
Right (he would´ve written it to Tiberius, but nevermind). And what Jesus meant was "sell all your posessions" - not 1% of them.

That said, it is better to give away what you can - be it 1%, 5% or 10% of your income - then to do nothing. It would be hard for us to follow Christ´s example, I know. We´re too effete to do that.

Jesus and his disciples were able to create their own, new movement. Jesus and his disciples were revolutionaries. Their agenda was directly opposed to the power agenda of the Romans, opposed to the rich and the powerful.

We are living in a society that wastes food, energy, water and other natural resources. To maximise your profit stands above everything else. We love to consume luxury goods. We educate our children in the ways of prestige, pride and vanity. We admonish them never to do anything that might endanger the prestige of the house, of the family, of the name or of the country. How pleased you are when your son comes first in his class! You teach him not to love, not to forgive, not to share, but when he comes first at school you receive him with kindness. Do you know what we are doing? We tell our children to try always to be first, to compete, to fight, to be ambitious, always to be the first no matter what the cost. We are teaching our kids politics, not what Jesus said.

We need to change our standards, I think.

That does not mean that political campaigning is useless. I´m all for it, go ahead! I´m skeptical that politicians will listen to the cries of the poor, because they never did. They don´t care if half a million of people is out on the streets protesting for a day. It is not dangerous enough to scare them.

And while we write letters, another 6500 people die per day.

That´s why society has to change as a whole. 1% of the American budget does not reduce poverty if the terms of trade aren´t revised, if multinationals are allowed to make people work like slaves in free trade zones all over the world, and the list goes on and on.

Political pressure can only be effective if it makes the politicians feel uneasy. Ask yourself what makes them feel uneasy. 500 letters? Probably not. 500.000 people on the street for a day? Not really. Violent force? Sure, but we don´t want to resort to violence.

Then what about one, two, three millions of poor people in Washnigton? Poor people that just stay on Pennsylvania Av. and block it forever until the meager 1% are guaranteed and poor Americans get healthcare and education for free. The police will remove them, arrest them, but they can return - we got so many poor people we never run out of them!

See, I want you to organise something effective. Like SD stated, (also) legislative advocacy is personal action. It is important and I´m all for it. But if you hope to reduce poverty alone by writing letters or schmoozing around with politicians, you´ll not succeed.

You need to do all three things: 1. write letters etc. 2. donate 1% of your income and/or save for a travel to a third world country (where your kids can see the real world with their own eyes) and 3. do your part to change society from waste and possession to frugality and sharing.
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:19 AM   #93
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Old 02-06-2006, 12:01 PM   #94
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
I’m not sure why this issue turns into a conservative/liberal battle
Because social issues take shape in our government system infrastructure and legal framework which is controlled politically...no matter how you draw the lines.

Foundations for cultural change are always built into the system at the legislative level....which is a result of political battles...for better or worse.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader I think we live with a false dichotomy that conservatives focus on gay marriage to the exclusion of helping the poor (I am speaking of the work of individuals and churches, not political parties).
I've been speaking of the religious special interest groups that DO exert significant (and sucessful) political pressure on the issue of gay marriage to the virtual exclusion of applying the same level of vigor and political pressure to the systemic causes of poverty.

I think everyone can agree that there are countless individuals, organizations and church groups that do wonderful work tirelessly locally and globally.

The poverty problem is continually and dramatically worse though and not for lack of people who care, who give and who are hands-on.

It is for lack of political pressure to make systemtic changes.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader When a man came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do?” Jesus replied “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Not write a letter to Caesar and ask that the Romans change their policies.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised to see you say that, but somehow I am.

Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader I would bet that people are more likely to respond in kind (donate their own $$) to the direct action of individuals than political campaigning.
They are, and that's why the problem persists.

Cultural movement is political, there's no way around that.
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Old 02-06-2006, 01:34 PM   #95
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader

Again, I would challenge all readers to take Bono’s words personally. If you agree that 1% of gross income should go to the poor – donate to the most effective entity you know or take matters into your own hand. When a man came to Jesus and asked “what shall I do?” Jesus replied “sell your possessions and give to the poor.” Not write a letter to Caesar and ask that the Romans change their policies.


Just to add to this -- the proper context for that story is that a rich man came to Jesus, and Jesus said sell all your possessions. To take this concept of personal responsibility one step further, the whole point of Jesus' teachings -- right down to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength" -- is, do what doesn't come easy. Do the right thing, not the easy thing. For a rich man, it's sell possessions -- it might be something completely different for someone else. Taking personal responsibility is never easy.

This summer my church is organizing a trip to South Africa. We're going to build an orphanage and dig wells. It's going to cost roughly $2500/person to go. I have no idea how I'm going to afford it, but I've already committed to going. If more of us did the same, perhaps the government would step in line with what its people are doing.
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Old 02-06-2006, 02:58 PM   #96
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Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
Political pressure can only be effective if it makes the politicians feel uneasy. Ask yourself what makes them feel uneasy. 500 letters? Probably not. 500.000 people on the street for a day?
Losing votes because their policies are out of step with popular opinion in their constituencies is what makes politicians uneasy.

So sure, 500 letters and/or and 500,000 people on the street is not representative of popular opinion.

The collective roar has to be much louder and more powerful than that.

The G8 leaders didn't forgive 35 billion in debt of the poorest countries out of the goodness of their hearts or to simply do the right thing. They did it because the people they represent were watching Live8 and told them to do it.

Quote:
Originally posted by whenhiphopdrovethebigcars
You need to do all three things: 1. write letters etc. 2. donate 1% of your income and/or save for a travel to a third world country (where your kids can see the real world with their own eyes) and 3. do your part to change society from waste and possession to frugality and sharing.
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Old 02-06-2006, 03:16 PM   #97
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy
Cultural movement is political, there's no way around that.
Now we´re getting somewhere. Good angle..
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Old 02-06-2006, 04:40 PM   #98
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Observant Jews still consider ourselves bound by the commandment of tzedekah (Deut 26:12), which mandates that a household must give 10% of its earnings every third year to the poor, and an additional annual percentage beyond that. (In the Talmud, 10% was actually made an annual obligation, so this is the guideline we follow today, with reductions at rabbinic discretion permitted for the financially strained). I take it, then, that no Christian denominations see this precedent as binding or relevant?

Incidentally, the root tzedek means "justice" or "righteousness"--so not engaging in such giving is literally considered unjust, rather than simply a failure to be "charitable." It is the same virtue to which we are called by Deut 16:20 ("Tzedek, tzedek shalt thou pursue") and it is the same virtue which Abraham reproves God for not showing in Gen 18:25 ("Shall the Judge of all the earth not act with tzedek?"). It is a much broader concept than "from the heart" giving (Latin caritas), and definitely extends to entail an obligation to what we call "socioeconomic justice" as well.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:03 PM   #99
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I think that concept still does apply in many Christian denominations since, as Bono mentioned, many churchgoes "tithe" up to 10% of the family income to their churches and other charities.

That's what makes it easy for many people to say "sorry Africa, I gave at the church"...or office, or Katrina fund-raising event or wherever so hands-off the US budget.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:04 PM   #100
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Originally posted by AliEnvy

That's what makes it easy for many people to say "sorry Africa, I gave at the church"...or office, or Katrina fund-raising event or wherever so hands-off the US budget.
When the governement is possibly going to take more of my tax money, yes, I do have the right to question it.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:07 PM   #101
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Originally posted by Dreadsox When the governement is possibly going to take more of my tax money, yes, I do have the right to question it.
Absolutely. And we should expect them to spend our money wisely and in the interest of the common good. They don't necessarily have to take more money to do that.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:13 PM   #102
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Absolutely. And we should expect them to spend our money wisely and in the interest of the common good. They don't necessarily have to take more money to do that.
Which is why I love McCain....champion of cutting PORK.
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:26 PM   #103
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we could also think about removing Bush's tax cuts.

and my favorite subject -- gas tax!!!
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:27 PM   #104
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
PORK
Ah yes, another no-no .
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Old 02-06-2006, 05:42 PM   #105
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I do not believe in raising anyones taxes until we get a handle on the unecessary spending.
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