Christianity

adventures

My Live Below the Line Challenge: what & why


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So I’m doing the Live Below the Line Challenge but I’m going to try spice it up a bit (more to come).

The challenge is to feed yourself on $2.25 (aprx $1.80 US, $1.35 EUR) a day for 5 days, in an effort to raise money, awareness & to give me a little insight into the lives of the Billion-plus people who live below the extreme poverty line ($2.25) every day… and that $2.25, it covers everything for them, not just food.

Now I’ve had a half hearted attempt at this before (which prompted this reflection) & in a moment of weakness brought a bottle of Powerade for a game of basketball and blew out my budget.

So this time I know I’ll need a plan, I’ll need to scout out the supermarket, I’ll need some rules & some people to keep me accountable.

You can sponsor me here if you feel inclined, otherwise I encourage you to join in yourself or feel free to hang around as I blog this brief journey.

Why am I doing this?

Partly to get a little more insight into the lives of others, partly to gain a greater appreciation for what I have. But mostly because I believe that with all the wealth, technology & resources we have available world, that it’s criminal that people die because of poverty.

I often wonder – when looking back at our history – how Christians (others as well) stood so idly by during the civil rights movement & apartheid era, and advocated for, or remained silent against a clearly oppressive & inhumane way of treating people.

I often find myself thinking, “how can you even call yourself a follower of Jesus?”

Harsh, I know.

That’s the beauty of hindsight.

We can see something so clearly looking back, that we can’t when we are immersed in it or it is the acceptable norm. Which makes me wonder what they’ll say about us in the future…

Poverty – an accepted norm.

In 50 years time will the Christians of the future look back and question us? Will they say, “I can’t believe you had so much & did so little…”

This is why I’m doing the challenge, if nothing else it may change my heart & attitude a little. Hopefully it makes a small difference in some one else’s life.

With all the wealth, technology & resources we have available in the world it’s criminal that people die of poverty… one of the consequences of extreme poverty is Human Trafficking, the average victim is a 12yr old girl, that’s seriously messed up. So please please please donate as i go without coffee, chocolate, junk food & all things nice in an attempt to make a small difference in someone else’s life. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/nzkiwi41#sthash.ghvwL7sT.dpuf
With all the wealth, technology & resources we have available in the world it’s criminal that people die of poverty… one of the consequences of extreme poverty is Human Trafficking, the average victim is a 12yr old girl, that’s seriously messed up. So please please please donate as i go without coffee, chocolate, junk food & all things nice in an attempt to make a small difference in someone else’s life. – See more at: https://www.livebelowtheline.com/me/nzkiwi41#sthash.ghvwL7sT.dpuf
adventures

Uganda: roll highlights


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For the next week I’m going to be blogging about the Live Below the Line Challenge, after that I’ll fill you in on some stories, thoughts & reflections from my trip to Uganda.

Until then here is a tiny-tiny glimpse of what we got up to, enjoy.

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fallout


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bandicam-2012-05-11-12-18-27-288

Fallout. Some intended, some not. Some you see coming, some you don’t. Some you think you’re ready for… only to discover you’re not as invincible or as invisible as you think.

I haven’t published anything of substance since March 22nds opening the Gay Marriage Can of Worms.

*sigh…*

 

That’s 6 months ago!

 

This is my 4th 5th – I’ve lost count – attempt to write a follow-up post.

I scrapped the “thesis” post, the “argue-louder-I’m-angry-you-called-me-those-names” post, and the “mailbag” post…

So I guess that leaves you with the “fallout” post.

 

What’s happened since then

Lots of people read it, it ended up in places I could never have imagined. I shut comments down, I received more emails in a couple of days than the blogs entire lifetime – some nice, many not. I had coffees & catch-ups. Gay marriage was made legal… my Facebook news feed read

Congratulations mps on passing your new bill now you have legalised gay marriage and prostitution what next pedofilla and rape?

and the world didn’t end.

I ambitiously set about responding to all those emails, had some great discussions before crawling into a hole & escaping to blog elsewhere for a bit. I went to Uganda.

Which brings me to the most surprising thing that happened.

I did a City-to-Surf run to raise funds for a mission trip to Uganda… someone asked for their money back.

Yep, that actually happened (& wasn’t the only weird bit of overreaction).

 

If these were the views I was espousing they didn’t feel morally they could support my trip. Never mind that homosexuality is illegal in Uganda… what’s interesting is I saw more guys holding hands (and held hands with several men) in Uganda than you’d see in NZ… you see it’s not a gay thing its a cultural thing.

Which leads to the conclusions we jump to, two guys holding hands in Uganda are friends, two guys holding hands in a western country are gay. Conclusions we jump to.

Several emails I received were about how provocative this pic at the end of the post was.

holding-hands

Two guys holding hands.

Except it isn’t.

I just googled “holding hands”.

It’s interesting what we see when we’re a little riled up. I got a little riled up, it’s why I initially delayed a response. It’s interesting the space we go to when we feel under siege, part of me wanted to hit back, part of me wanted to do the “mailbag” post & answer every question…

Instead I’ll leave you with a few ‘fallout’ observations & then the reason why I wont answer all those questions, comments, accusations…

The original post was just some thoughts on recurring discussions I was hearing. A lot was cut out, I could have written a book, but even I don’t read long posts. It was to provoke some thought, to (I hope) be permission giving for some, to even begin a discussion or heaven forbid… have thoughts.

 

 

The Bible – this could be another book 🙂

why the lack? There are many books dealing with biblical interpretation, bible times culture & homosexuality. Some arguments are stronger than others.

Ultimately we pick what we want.

Then justify our method.

If I’d included some text that’s all I would have been doing, and that’s the reason why I said, the “surrounding issues are close to many peoples hearts”, the surrounding issue being the Bible & how we read it, that’s what it really comes down to, that is the core issue. Not just in the gay debate, but everything… women leadership, abortion, evolution. Different crisis, same issue.

You’re asking me to read my Bible differently than my tradition has prescribed, and so I can’t go there. If I do, my faith is kicked out the door

– Tim Keller

Whatever side of the argument we’re on we make the bible jump through hoops and conform to the views we hold. Ultimately we make the Bible bow to words like “authority”, “inerrancy”, “narrative” & “myth”.

 

 

A human face

I finally put my name & photo on the author page. We interact with things differently when there is a face attached to it. It’s the same with the ‘gay’ issue’.

When we lack a ‘face’ we lack compassion, we say “love the sinner, not the sin”, and while we can love liars (after all, we’ve all lied), thieves (I’m guilty), druggies (we’re suckers for a good “Saul/Paul” story), pastors who’ve had affairs (so much temptation out there), our love for homosexuals extends as far as wanting nothing to do with you.

For many of us there is no real face to it, we can’t identify with the struggle, it’s media stereotypes and fear of that which is “other” to us.

If I preach love & can visit murderers in prison but can’t give a gay guy a hug, then my love rings hollow.

The face for me is, my gay neighbours & their adorable wee boy. The gay family I stayed with overseas. Friends I’ve studied with in High School & Bible College. Those I’ve cried alongside with in the church, because wrestling with your sexuality & faith in a place that is hostile is just brutal. I can see why many choose to quit on church, I get why most choose to remain silent, I consider it a privilege to have journeyed a little with those who didn’t.

 

 

Love & God on opposite sides?

This comment drew a lot of attention.

If when it’s all said & done,  and I stand before God & I’ve gotten this wrong, I know I will have erred on the side of Love, and that is something I can live with

I guess what I’m saying is that, in this moment I’ve made what I feel to be the right decision for me & my faith journey. But I recognise that 12 yrs ago I thought the world had to have been created in 7 days & it was dangerous to think otherwise, so things change. Ultimately I recognise my own shortcomings, I’m not perfect, and I’m not God.

 

 

why no ‘mailbag’ post

I don’t have all the answers, I’m still trying to figure stuff out.

I don’t think the topic of “how we interact with those who we see as other to us” is a question that should be answered, a box to be ticked, a solution filed away…

rather it is something we should always wrestle with, so I’ll leave it open…

wrestle, read, have conversations, think, pray…

because there will always be minorities.

 

quotes

the Jesus app


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We have to tell our young people clearly that Jesus is not an app that we load onto our smartphones. He is the core operating system. If he is the core operating system, that influences everything in our lives

– Justin Duckworth

blogosphere

living wage


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Bishop

 

The following is part of an article in The New Zealand Herald.

 

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of visiting the very inspiring Justin & his beautiful Ngatiawa community. It was a significant moment for me.

Bishop challenges high-income earners

Wellington’s Anglican bishop says he may cut his own salary to help fund a “living wage” for cleaners, caregivers and other low-paid workers in Anglican churches and social agencies.

Bishop Justin Duckworth, a dreadlocked, Jandal-wearing priest who was an upset choice as bishop last year, is also challenging other high-income earners to take less to fund higher wages for the 39 per cent of Kiwi workers who now earn less than the living wage, defined by union and church groups as $18.40 an hour.

His current salary is about $63,000, or $30 an hour, plus a house.

My personal response is in the future I have to look at what I am earning and say, what is appropriate for me to earn given that many people in our society don’t even have enough to participate meaningfully in our society

 

“I would ask that everyone else should be engaged in the moral conversation of when is too much too much.”

The bishop, who has lived his entire married life sharing his family home with people in need such as lost teenagers and ex-prisoners, said he and his wife, Jenny, were also considering how to make best use of the bishop’s official home across the road from Parliament when they move there later this year from the community for recovering addicts and others where they have lived for the past 10 years.

“We have always lived with people. We will do that again,” he said.

One of the things we don’t tell the next generation is that you can’t have it all. You have to choose which story you are going to fit

 

“If you want to choose the story of upward mobility, 2.3 kids, a white picket fence, a mortgage, a university education, a good career and superannuation, you can’t have that and come to this conference and expect to work for justice. You can’t do everything.

We have to tell our young people clearly that Jesus is not an app that we load onto our smartphones. He is the core operating system. If he is the core operating system, that influences everything in our lives

 

“We have to tell them how to live simply and to be happy with what you’ve got, realising that everyone else in society is screaming, ‘Have more, have more, have more!”‘

His comments came as an Auckland Council committee decided yesterday to keep investigating ways to pay the living wage to the 1623 council staff who now earn below $18.40 an hour. Officials said this would cost $3.75 million a year.

They also backed an amendment by councillor Cameron Brewer to find the cost within the existing $693 million wage bill, which includes 1500 people earning over $100,000 a year.

 

the full article from Simon Collins can be found here  

You can read more about Justin here