Category: Morality

Charity Starts at Home?

Charity Starts at Home?


The amount of times I have had people say this to me, and on social media, and in other forums it’s getting tiresome.   It’s used when I talk about helping refugees and asylum seekers, sadly Christian use it like scripture to me.  It not!  Scripture that is!
Can I ask what do we mean by this, where is home, your little house, your 2.5 children, your street, your country?  What are you talking about?
I supposed I can almost forgive those using the phrase who would not claim to be Christians, or Followers of Jesus, but for those who make both those claims I do have a problem.
Jesus tells us what is commonly called the story of the Good Samaritan. Of course at the time when Christ was walking around in Israel, now self respecting Jew would ever go to Samaria, as the woman at the well said to Jesus, when he asked for a drink of water, “you’re a Jew and you ask me for a drink of water don’t you know that Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans”.   Of course she did not know that Jesus had previously said to his disciples, “I must go through Samaria”; an amazing statement in of itself.
So let me counter that awful get out ‘charity start at home’ by reminding ourselves that Jesus said we are to love our neighbours, and then follows that statement by asking us to decided who are our neighbours, and the answer is not well pleasing to the people who never went to Samaria, as the neighbour turns out to be one of them.
In Africa I was speaking to a group and telling the story of the good Samaritan, I changed the story knowing that I was speaking to people of one particular tribe, and I knew that they hated another tribe so I made in my story the tribal member that helped a member of the hated tribe.  People came up to after the meeting and said, you should not have done that, people hear hate the people of that tribe, don’t you know, err der! Maybe someone should have told Jesus that too.
Recently I had the privilege of going to a regular happening at a local Synagogue, where well over a hundred refugees where being fed, clothed, and financed by the local congregation, every nationality and religion turning up for help.  I asked who is financing this and was told we are, at the moment its costing us about £30,000 a year.
The other very important point that I should make, especially to those who say they are Christians, follower of Jesus, is that Jesus commanded us to ‘love our enemies’.
So next time I say we need to be helping, caring for those pushed out by war be it from Syria, Eritrea or wherever,  I know that I have responsibility for my family, but maybe that other statement of Jesus is apposite ‘that you should do but this you should do also’ please don’t tell me Charity starts at home it’s just plain the wrong response.
Adrian Hawkes
adrianhawkes.blogspot.com
W. 529

Edited Gena Areola

Help me, why is it so?

Help me why is it so?


Talking to my friends in the USA who know these things, and also to people in the UK parliament they tell me that the rudest letters, the most vitriolic complaints almost always come from those who say they are Christians.  Why is that so?


Talking with a Christian Journalist friend, he tells me that the worst letters of complaint the most condemning and nastiest come to him from Christian readers, why is that so?


I know that when people find their way to Jesus, they are often not nice people, usually they know that and that is why they come to Christ for help, for change, for a new right life.  I have often had people say to me you need to love me as I am God does,  my often thought with such people is, that’s very hard because you are horrible, you are just not nice.

I do know that God loves us as we are, there would be no hope, or grace if He did not as a Muslim friend once said to me, if God does not show us Grace there is no hope for any of us.  However it is very clear that the plan for those who follow Jesus is that we should not remain as we are Horrible if you will, but the plan is to change us, make us more and more like Jesus.  So his values become our values.


I constantly find that people who call themselves Christians do not seem to haves the values of Jesus and although they claim to be following him their actions really give me a problem.  Yet I find some who make no claim to be a follower of Jesus, having values, actions, grace and concern for others in a Christ like way.  They may even call themselves atheists or people without faith.


 Even Paul had those who were Asiarchs in Ephesus who did not share the ‘Jesus-bit’ but were ardent defenders of him even when their own future status and comforts were greatly under threat. 


A friend of mine said The tension comes when we view evangelicals as ‘brothers and sisters’. I don’t think my discernment is simply cultural – I think I discern it in the Spirit. But working together with a number of them is all-but impossible, or, there is a small uncomfortable area where we can work together.  Then, with those who are not believers, I do not discern that bond, but find where they share the values of Jesus we can go a long way forward.


Let me tell you a personal story, I was part of a church group, working with them I bought a house they provided the deposit however from then on I paid all cost mortgage, repairs everything.  Then they fell out with me; silly me had put the whole property in the name of the group, it seemed spiritual at the time!

It did not seem so good when they issued an order ejecting me from the property, a life on the streets with wife and three young children did not seem a good idea. Fortunately God was there and I was able to buy back the property I had paid for, at a very inflated cost, my brothers and sisters in Christ making a goodly profit out of my distress.

So reason for this story, well at the same time as all this happened I had entered into a seven year contract to rent a shop, we were about three years in.  I read the contract carefully, should have done that when I signed it. I realised that I had signed away a lot and given the landlord great power over me.  What to do,

I went to see them, one Muslim one Hindu owing the shop.  I showed them my contract saying I realise you have lots of power to take me for everything.  They both read it carefully, yes they said we have defiantly got you, however we are also in business, so we think we should be kind to you, you are released, and they ripped up the contract.  I was happy but disappointed too; I was puzzle as to who was Christ like, who really were my brothers and sisters, who had the Jesus value.


So now can you help me understand?  Maybe C.S. Lewis had it right in his last battle.

Emeth, one of Rishda’s men and a devout follower of Tash, insists on seeing his god. Rishda tries to dissuade him, but Emeth enters the stable, and the dead body of another soldier, who was stationed in the stable to murder the rebellious Narnians, is thrown out instead.  Aslan invites him into His world, Emeth says he cannot come as he has never severed Aslan, always Tash, Aslan say all you did was for me even though you thought you were serving Tash.



Adrian Hawkes

adrianhawkes.blogspot.com

W. 834


POWER

Power

  
It’s an old adage, and probably correct that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely!

Thinking about the subject, I am somewhat puzzled by:

a.) The unwillingness and fight against federalism in the UK.

            ‘We don’t want it at any price’ seems to be the politicians’ mantra; what is the difference between that and localising government, or giving more power to local areas, be it Manchester, Scotland, London, or Wales.

b.) Isn’t the localising government some form of Federalism?

 

Upstream Issues

Upstream Issues

I heard someone telling a story recently about how they were working in fish conservation and checking on clean water in rivers and streams in the UK.  Apparently they found an area of a stream where the fish were struggling for oxygen and dying. Workers then take out any dead fish and then it’s apparently possible to push oxygen into the water, often the water agencies do this by, as the Environment Agency says, pouring Hydrogen Peroxide into the water upstream. This releases extra Oxygen into the water. Such action appears to somewhat reduced the potential fish kill.

Metanarratives

Metanarratives

Many who read this probably do not know what a metanarrative is, that does not matter you will have one.  The word really means ‘the big picture’ but we often use it in terms of a ‘world view’.  “What’s that?” you might ask, well even though we don’t think about it often we all have one. And the thing about ‘world views’ because it’s the way we think, ultimately it will affect the way we live, our actions and all that we seek to do or not as the case might be.


There are lots of world views out there Christianity has its world view, its big picture if you will the start and the end, Communism has a world view, Atheism has a world view, Hinduism has a world view as does Buddhism.


Very often we do not think about our ‘world view’ but we are nevertheless living by them and when a lot of people adopt a particular world view it has an effect on our country, our culture, our laws in fact everything.

Metanarratives

Metanarratives

Metanarratives

Many who read this probably do not know what a metanarrative is, that does not matter you will have one.  The word really means ‘the big picture’ but we often use it in terms of a ‘world view’.  “What’s that?” you might ask, well even though we don’t think about it often we all have one. And the thing about ‘world views’ because it’s the way we think, ultimately it will affect the way we live, our actions and all that we seek to do or not as the case might be.


There are lots of world views out there Christianity has its world view, its big picture if you will the start and the end, Communism has a world view, Atheism has a world view, Hinduism has a world view as does Buddhism.


Very often we do not think about our ‘world view’ but we are nevertheless living by them and when a lot of people adopt a particular world view it has an effect on our country, our culture, our laws in fact everything.


There is a great move in the UK and in fact many western countries to push us into a materialistic world view, that world view will ultimately change lots of things if more of us accept that, even subconsciously accept it, even though we may never have sat down and analysed ‘our world view’ even though we have maybe never thought about ‘world views’ until you read what I am saying now.

I had a small discussion on TV with Richard Dawkins he got somewhat upset with me when I said that he was a good evangelist for his religion, i.e. Atheism, he of course does not see it as a religion. I do, and certainly that religious view will, in its tail give us a world view, that if we accept will lead us in certain directions.


Another funny thing happened while we were making the particularly slot in the TV programme, I am not sure why that particular part of that discussion arose but Richard said to me “I am more Moral than you are” I of course asked “and how is that so” to which Richard responded “well I don’t pillage or rape and I don’t need a god to stop me doing so, you on the other hand would argue that its God that gives you a moral base and so stops you from doing those things.”

I responded by saying “bully for you, maybe you should watch the news more” my implication being that there is an awful lot of pillage and raping and other nasty things that people do to each other with their own justification. Maybe I should have asked, what is your morality and how does it work.  However just recently I have been able to see some of the argument more clearly from Richard’s perspective.


I don’t know if you ever saw the TV series of Faulty Towers, where Basil’s car breaks down, first Basil shouts at the car and then beats it with a stick because it won’t start Richard Dawkins uses this skit to explain his ‘moral’ position, and show us how we should act if we hold his world view / metanarrative.  Here is what he says:


Let’s all stop beating Basil’s car

Retribution as a moral principle is incompatible with a scientific view of human behaviour. As scientists, we believe that human brains, though they may not work in the same way as man-made computers, are as surely governed by the laws of physics. When a computer malfunctions, we do not punish it. We track down the problem and fix it, usually by replacing a damaged component, either in hardware or software. 

Basil Fawlty, British television’s hotelier from hell created by the immortal John Cleese, was at the end of his tether when his car broke down and wouldn’t start. He gave it fair warning, counted to three, gave it one more chance, and then acted. “Right! I warned you. You’ve had this coming to you!” He got out of the car, seized a tree branch and set about thrashing the car within an inch of its life. Of course we laugh at his irrationality. Instead of beating the car, we would investigate the problem. Is the carburettor flooded? Are the sparking plugs or distributor points damp? Has it simply run out of gas?


Why do we not react in the same way to a defective man: a murderer, say, or a rapist? Why don’t we laugh at a judge who punishes a criminal, just as heartily as we laugh at Basil Fawlty? Or at King Xerxes who, in 480 BC, sentenced the rough sea to 300 lashes for wrecking his bridge of ships? Isn’t the murderer or the rapist just a machine with a defective component? Or a defective upbringing? Defective education? Defective genes? 

Concepts like blame and responsibility are bandied about freely where human wrongdoers are concerned. When a child robs an old lady, should we blame the child himself or his parents? Or his school? Negligent social workers? In a court of law, feeble-mindedness is an accepted defence, as is insanity. Diminished responsibility is argued by the defence lawyer, who may also try to absolve his client of blame by pointing to his unhappy childhood, abuse by his father, or even unpropitious genes (not, so far as I am aware, unpropitious planetary conjunctions, though it wouldn’t surprise me). 

But doesn’t a truly scientific, mechanistic view of the nervous system make nonsense of the very idea of responsibility, whether diminished or not? Any crime, however heinous, is in principle to be blamed on antecedent conditions acting through the accused’s physiology, heredity and environment. Don’t judicial hearings to decide questions of blame or diminished responsibility make as little sense for a faulty man as for a Fawlty car? 

Why is it that we humans find it almost impossible to accept such conclusions? Why do we vent such visceral hatred on child murderers, or on thuggish vandals, when we should simply regard them as faulty units that need fixing or replacing?


Presumably because mental constructs like blame and responsibility, indeed evil and good, are built into our brains by millennia of Darwinian evolution. Assigning blame and responsibility is an aspect of the useful fiction of intentional agents that we construct in our brains as a means of short-cutting a truer analysis of what is going on in the world in which we have to live.

My dangerous idea is that we shall eventually grow out of all this and even learn to laugh at it, just as we laugh at Basil Fawlty when he beats his car. But I fear it is unlikely that I shall ever reach that level of enlightenment.’


So now I see the moral perspective that the atheist would have us come from, that is the world view. No responsibility, no blame, a mechanistic world view no less.

Let’s just fix them or replace them (does that mean we just kill them?)  I do think that ‘following Jesus’ gives us a much more enlightened metanarrative world view.  What do you think?



Adrian Hawkes

Blogspot.com

W.1203

Edited Gena Areola

Rochdale

Rochdale


Listening to the news coming out of Rochdale I know, as everyone is saying, that this is not the end of the story. For my readers who follow what is happening in the  British news, or those that don’t watch the news, there has come to light the fact that some 1,000 plus young people have been abused, prostituted and beaten, giving them lifelong problems.  Yet they were under the care of the authorities and had allocated social workers.  Police were also aware, but no one did anything in case political correctness was interrupted or their carers where put in jeopardy.


When I look at the regulations governing social work, fostering and the care of young people in the UK so much of it is good.  Good regulations, good intentions with an emphasis on good practice.  However it’s not so much the regulations that are at fault, rather the culture.  A culture that from many social workers is a culture of, I must protect my back at all costs.  I must make sure if something goes wrong then I don’t get the blame, and if it does go wrong how I can make sure I do not take any responsibility.  I must protect my career and my income my salary my job!

Culture – Challenge – Change – Conform

Culture – challenge – change – conform
One of the things that I ask audiences who say that they are Christians is, if you are one have you changed and what methodology do you think, you or God uses to change you.
I get lots of answers usually things like:
  • ·         The Bible
  • ·         Prayer
  • ·         The Holy Spirit
  • ·         Meeting with other Christians
  • ·         Love
  • ·         And others sometime a bit more obscure