Tag Archive: rich


This will be the last share of the chapter from Ron Sider’s super-challenging book, ‘Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger’ [do yourselves a favour and get hold of a copy and let it ruin you in the best of ways!]

We ended the last post with:

The threat of a curse always accompanied the promise of blessing Continue reading

sam

A wise teacher once told the story of a man who was on a journey, who was mugged and beaten up, robbed of all his possessions and left on the side of the street to die. Continue reading

Mumford and Fish

Mumford and Fish

These are three of my best friends: Dunc, Majay and Rob. And missing from that pic is Reegs who is also one of my longest life buddies. And of course my wife, the beautiful Val [aka tbV, which so many of you keep thinking stands for The Lovely Val because of, um, the B, obviously] who made this photo [taken at my 40th after these clowns performed a satirical rendition of one of my favourite Mumford songs complete with homemade pizza box guitar and changed up lyrics] possible, plus of course let’s not forget the boob cake. Continue reading

continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

for me it was verse 4 which immediately jumped out at me: ‘The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.’

i remember reading an article in reader’s digest by kirk douglas of all people titled ‘You know how to make God laugh?’ and the answer was ‘Tell Him your plans!’

and it’s true. and reminds me as well of the story Jesus tells in Luke 12 of the rich fool who gets a good crop and responds by saying, ‘”What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘

But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.’ [Luke 12.16]

Another passage that comes to mind in terms of trusting own plans vs God’s is Proverbs 3.5-6 which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ Which is good to view alongside the whole second half of Matthew 6, but specifically verse 33 which goes, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.’

We are invited to live life in relationship with God and hold our plans loosely before Him. This psalm gives a glimpse of those who try otherwise…

And then the second verse that stood out to me was verse 8 which says, “Ask of Me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

Which speaks to me of a God crying out for us to use our imagination and consider for a moment the resources available to us. Ephesians 3.20 reminds us that the God we serve is able to do “immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine” – Am i hoping and imagining big enough? God’s hoping and imagining for my life extends to nations and the ends of the earth. He is calling us to greater things [as defined by His kingdom, which is key]

so much more oozing out of such a short psalm, but those are two things i take from it today… what did you get?

[To continue on to Psalm 3, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

two nights ago val got a call from a guy from a local church who told her that some homeless people [who had been evicted along with the ‘Occupy Philly’ people this week] had moved under a nearby bridge and would we the Simple Way be wanting to do anything about it – i chatted to him and got the details and told him i would try go that evening…

something more prioritised came up that evening and i wasn’t able to go, but first thing the next morning Val and i drove to go and find them and i went in to go and assess the situation and see what was happening…

and i met Paul.

Paul chatted to me for maybe half an hour to an hour [while my beautiful wife Val waited patiently in the car, not wanting to interrupt the man moment – she was originally going to go shop while i chatted but decided to wait which was cool] and it was just the raddest time. starting off by saying they didn’t really need anything [a mind blow for me with homeless people with my general experience back home] but that they had most of their needs met [there were about twenty tents under the bridge and they had access to running water in a nearby laundromat that didn’t lock up and people keep on coming by and supplying food and more] but at the end i was able to offer some bedrolls and jackets which the Simple Way has had donated and i took them through last nite.

Paul handed me this letter which he had written and was hoping to have posted in a local newspaper [i found it online fortunately so didn’t have to write it again so it definitely got posted somewhere] and gave me permission to share it with you and i think it is just excellent and felt so privileged to have spent time with him and Joe who i met last nite and Val and i are hopefully going back tomorrow to join them for a Quaker type service:

“We are not here protesting or to make a statement, We’re homeless. We are sick of being forced to exist alone, sick of being told that shelters, which are not tolerable living facilities for sober people, are an adequate alternative to being “allowed”, by the government, to work, live and share together to create for ourselves, with much less help and expense than the government can do anything, opportunities to provide for ourselves that which our troubled economy cannot.

Philadelphia has about 4,000 homeless people and 40,000 empty dwelling units, but, apparently, unless the wealthy can profit by our occupying these dwellings, they would rather see us alone, with our possessions if not stolen by regular criminals, ‘confiscated’ by police, since we have no place to store anything we can’t carry and are not allowed to congregate to watch one another’s belongings.

To have poverty forced upon us in the land of plenty, is no longer a viable solution, if in fact, it ever was.

I know how to grow food, build structures, build communities from the fragmented elements that current policy, make craftwork to supply cash for what it’s needed for, etc. My friends know how to do the things I don’t. Those who ‘have’ seem satisfied to make sure I don’t ‘have’ opportunity to gather to have a safe place to sleep, let alone organize to provide for our basic needs.

We need the use of at least one abandoned structure, if the law requires it to have water and electricity, the Obama administration provided $21 million dollars to help the homeless, this is a drop in the bucket.

We need an outdoor long term camping area, close enough to mass transit for us to meet medical, legal, pension and benefits and other needs, and large and separated enough to not disturb our neighbors and start to grow our own food and do art and craftwork, feed one another and see to one another’s daily needs.

In this sort of camp, people who get along can meet one another and we can help one another and be helped by those in the community who believe in, rather than merely preach, compassion, to get long term housing, use our varied skills to rehabilitate abandoned structures as we rehabilitate ourselves and work toward the caring, loving society that many believe we will make happen.

There are many caring people in Philadelphia, whose deeds as well as their words, demonstrate the belief that the present “crisis” is in fact and opportunity to create a land of “Liberty and Justice for All” rather than a land of “Just Us”.”

and we’re still alive, and muchly so…

i was in charge of supper duty and overestimated the amount of noodles we needed so we have a bunch of it left for tomorrow – green beans and a couple of carrots and two chopped up prok sausages [have 8 of those for the week visiting 4 different meals as our week’s meat, flip] and half an onion and half a packet of macaroni – and with only butter [well margarine, well actually something spread lite or something] as an additive it was difficult to give it taste but i did manage and it actually came out pretty good, my seconds [which was for some reason hotter than my firsts] tasted better cos it was hotter and val seemed to really enjoy it.

lunch was a sweet potato cut in half [one of the big mother ones] and microwave’d to the baked position and then butter [see above] and an avocado [the mielies we were going to have for lunch today were manky in the shops so val went for two avos instead – good call!] sliced and put inside it which was also very nice [given some spices and mayo i could really have turned that into a classic dish so may try that again sometime]

and then heading back to breakfast we had scrambled eggs on toast – three eggs, two toasts…

so substantial in terms of amount [especially with noodles left over and half of yesterdays ‘soup’stew as well and so the real question is did we learn anything today.

well i’m still battling a bit with my cough and throat so a pack of Halls or Strepsils would have been a nice additive – i know for val it’s coffee and so we’re already doing research on coffee places that will be open at 00:05 Friday night/Saturday morning ha ha – and yeah the drinks thing is a big one cos there is cold water and boiled water [which as i think i mentioned i used to drink a lot so i’m fine with that] and not much else – so all the extras really – chocolates [altho we don’t do a lot of that surprisingly enough], sweets [val loves sour sweets] popcorn [val LOVES popcorn] and so on… to go with the spices and cooking extras [mayo, chutney, tomato sauce etc etc]

so ja, kinda looked at that yesterday already so no huge revelation except the drinks and i guess the one thing that stands out in terms of the menu is the choosing – knowing what i know now i think i would have made some different decisions in terms of choice of food. val did a really amazing job figuring it all out but now that we’ve trodden that path i think we’d both ‘sacrifice’ lentils for something else [salt or sugar or a sachet of coffee maybe] and so the big realisation today is that when you don’t have much money, you don’t have much choice – we choose between the brands of coffee and cereal we want whereas a bunch of people have to choose not to have coffee or cereal or to find a staple cereal which will last the week or month [unsweetened etc etc]

so ja, it’s not fun, but it’s good, and it’s totally okay, it’s like we’re dying or suffering hugely or anything – have to remember that we chose to do this this week whereas many don’t get to make that choice

so today was a breakfast of 50g Jungle Oats each [slept over at my folks house and they had 50g sachets so less than the 150g between us we were meant to, but was enough] for breakfast [little bit of butter, no sugar, sigh]

then for lunch we feasted on a “soup” the beautiful val made altho it was more a stew than a soup with lentils, potato and butternut in and we had that with rice – could see if lentils was all i had to feast on every day then i might get tired fairly quickly altho they did kinda dominate the meal – but we were quite hungry by lunchtime and the meal we had was really amazing. and more than enough.

supper is happening in the backgound now and consists of a pork sausage each and a bean and carrot mix and some rice and should be equally yummy.

i ended last nite quite sick [have had throat for a while and some flu’ness threatening] and i guess today’s understanding of the poor is in line with that – i had friends on facebook suggesting all sorts of remedies and felt like it was kind of a cheat to go for them, but i did compromise and have a med lemon [just to try and combat the throat because we have a bunch of unpaid – but that’s another blog – work to do this week and i don’t want to get completely sick] but the realisation is that good health is another pretty much large choice/privilege/score of the rich.

if i have R12 per day and i have to choose between food and medication i would imagine food would win every day, also because i think medication of any type starts at a base level of around R12 and then jumps to R85 pretty quickly… you’re rich and you get the smallest hint of a sickness, you go to the doctor and pay a crapload for an antibiotic, or you duck into the chemist and grab a bottle of pills or into pick n pay like we normally would and overdose on orange juice to kill it before its set… a bottle of OJ going for R16 or R19 or above…

also if you are poor it is probably a lot easier to get sick [cos of living, eating and other conditions] and a lot harder to get better [lack of money for doctor visit, medication, vitamins etc]

and again the realisation that we are doing food and drink whereas if we were living on an average of R12 a day that that money would have had to have somehow covered rent and electricity and appliances, clothes, transportation, petrol, cellphones, calls, internet etc etc in terms of how we spent our day.

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