Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Numbers.

My friend Derwyn recently wrote a blog about social justice; at some point everyone does this. It reminds me of how every girl with a cheap camera has dreamed about and experimented with being a professional photographer……but I digress.

Derwyn starts us off with a short story and then follows it up with a whole pile of questions which, if you were to answer them, are seemingly contradictory. At risk of sounding snarky and verging on liable, I think one of the most irrelevant questions that he asked was “What would Jesus do?” More on this soon. However, there are piles of very significant questions asked that, to the honest pursuer, should easily keep you up at night (i.e. note the time of this post).

Try and track with me for the following moments while I try to answer one of his questions: Would Jesus have given him just the $1 coin or would he have given $2?

There are roughly 195,000 homeless people in Canada.

Our last Canada Census puts the Canadian population at 30,007,094 in 2001; however, given one birth every one minute and 33 seconds, one death every two minutes and 14 seconds, and a net migration gain of one person every 2 minutes and 41 seconds, the Canadian population now weighs in at ‘lots of land for everyone still.’ Roughly 32,554,754 people.

Now, according to IPSOS-REID, 84% of these people believe in a Christian/Jewish God while only 20% of these, roughly one in five, regularly attend a church or synagogue. That is 6,510,950 people that go to church every Sunday. And, you might ask, where do they go to church? They go to small churches; Barna Research Group has found that the average attendance of churches in America (which I am going to assume to be similar here in not-America) is smaller then 90. Do you know approximately how many churches there are in Canada then? About 72,343.

195,000 homeless people in Canada, a third of whom are 16-24 years old; huge problem right? Wrong. Small problem if the church in Canada would only respond. Divide the number of homeless people by the number of churches in Canada and you have a relatively small problem; 2.6 people per church. Not so bad is it? Could a group of 90 people adopt and support 3 people? I think so.

Here are the numbers.
- Let’s budget a $1000/month to cover rent, food, and miscellaneous x 3 people: $3000.
- Each group of 90 people would need to give $36,000/year which only equals $33/month/person. $33 a month?!
- Did I mention that this would be an annual budget of $214,861,350?

The big problem isn’t the massive homeless population in Canada; the big problem is the massive apathetic church population in Canada. So Derwyn, to answer your question shortly, I don't think it is what Jesus would do; I think it is what we could do. A dollar a day....

****edit****
Derwyn has writen a follow up story about his experiences panhandling downtown Vancouver. You can check it out here.
****end edit****

50 comments:

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

So let's all find a group in our community that is doing good work serving the poor, support them financially and then everything will be alright. NO!! We need to get into people's lives. If we (the church) were in our community sharing the hope we have (that we have a hope is an important assumption), the homeless rate would drop right away. I like your thoughts Jer, but it's got to be both the $$ and the people. I think the church's problem in this issue is the Good Samaritan issue; we want to cross the street and walk on the other side.

Boomer said...

So when are we going to start the ministry that references these people in each city and connects churches to them (note who's going to who). If the statistics prove right, it's not that difficult a task. I'm in for $33 a month to wipe out homelessness in Canada. So lets get on it...or is it not that simple. Seems that it might be and might not. Don't tempt me...lol.

Jeremy Postal said...

Yes.
Overly idealistic in the numbers aproach, however, the point remains the same: the big problem is a fat and apathetic church in Canada.

Steve said...

The way I understand our culture to be is this- if it doesn't affect the non-homeless population, they might talk about some valliant effort, and they may do something like give out bagged lunches for a week, but they will not do anything about it in the long run. Sad? Yes. Unreasonable to believe? No. There are many churches which are investing time and money, but at the same time, do the homeless people really want to do what we're proposing. I have a few friends who, on their way to work, would actually offer some homeless people a job for the day, and if the day went well, then hire them on as staff. However, the homeless people that he talks to, won't work for anything less than a price range of 16-30 bucks an hour, which is either 5 bucks more than I'm making or 3 times more than I'm making, and it's just unreasonable. So, offering money won't do the trick. Statistically, and monetarily this is a great scheme. However, socially, morally, whatever you want to call it, it may work for some, but I don't think that it is the solution to the homeless problem in Canada. They need to have a hope and desire to actually want to do something about thier situation... and not all of them actually want to.

We need the church to feel the problem if we want to see something done. Letting them know some numbers I don't think will help much, because we feed them stats all the time...
That's just my understandings/thoughts.

Jesse said...

I like the idea of supporting those who are already working with the homeless. Rather then trying to duplicate what's being done, why not join forces? Here in Vernon the Salvation Army is doing a fantastic job of serving the poor! They even have a non-profit coffee shop in which all profits go to serving people in Vernon, and around the world. So at the very least, I can buy coffee and support their work in Vernon ;)

Check them out at: www.talkindonkey.ca

phatrick said...

hey man! i liked your idea on this issue...but i think we need to also remember the government has programs set up for the homeless and the churches i have been part of are happy to help the helpless...and your idea would work, if the homeless wanted to work! alot (not all and i know that) are stuck in a rut...stuck in a life of addiction and habit! so i dont think it could all be placed on the churches head...i think the church should accept and be ready for homless to step up and accept help but there is no way in my mind that the church can cure the homless problem in canada because it doesnt seem many of them want the help...i think the church is almost better off cureing the homlessness in africa and india where the money and help wopuld be accepted with arms wide open and a clear gift from God in there eyes and hearts...im not saying the church CANT do it cause we can do all things through christ, but a change has to start in the hearts and minds of the ones we want to help! but yeah thats just my view on it!

John Engels said...

Your blog reminded me of an experience I had lately. Our family drove out of a Wal-Mart a few days ago. There at the stopsign was a Dad, Mom, and 2 young daughters with a cardboard sign asking for gas money. I didn't think twice about how to respond. My wife rolled down her window and gave the family some cash on hand. The Dad responded saying "thank you, God bless you." I wondered aloud about the encounter with our family after driving away. I was ashamed that our meager amount given could hardly could get them 30 miles down the road (with the high price of gas). Throwing money out the window was easier then taking the time to talk and care. But then, we are usually in a big hurry with our 4 kids. Yet, I am hopeful because there are many people like Paul and Wanda in the church and our movement that are getting it. Giving of ourselves and our resources can make a difference in people's lives. Matt 7:22

Anonymous said...

the last while I have been going out with our street ministry team every Weds nite. We take the yellow submarine (our church bus) to two different locations in Abbotsford and feed the homeless, share with them, and try to connect with them on some level. We have seen various degrees of success, from helping a couple move into an apartment, to sharing the gospel, seeing one or two come to Christ. i wonder what we could effectivly do if we had the budget, the volunteers......ahhh the stumbling block. I hear it day after day, "I am too busy to go with you, its not my ministry, i would if i could but I can't" week after week we have the same people show up. it is easy to come up with a dollar a day scheme that will get the homeless homes and fed and on and on- it is easy when we sit in offices and type it out, yet as I sit and watch these faithful few, the same ones that have been going out every Weds nite for 3 years, i wonder how we take a brilliant scheme and make it a reality!

Anonymous said...

I work with the homeless. Love, laugh and cry with them.

Yeah, through numbers we could achieve a plan. But this could only happen through people who would cross the street and help the homeless. Then we would as a church in Canada be granted success in people's lives.

Wake up!

Jeremy Postal said...

I must say....whoever is only seeing the numbers here is severely and horribly missing the point!!

May I echo the statement, "Wake up!"

Junah said...

I had a funny incident at the Granville Skytrain Station in Vancouver. A man (I assumed was homeless) looked at me, and seeing he seemed upset about everyone ignoring him as they walked past, I said, "hi," in my friendly way.

Then he got really friendly. He followed me onto the train, and asked to sit beside me. I said, "sure." I tried to enter into some small talk, but he wanted none of that; so he kind of cuddles up to me and says, "So... do you got it?"

I didn't know what to say, so I says, "Sorry, no I don't." They he got very mad, saying things like, "You are WASTING MY TIME! I could me out there making a deal, and you said hi to me. That tells me you have it, Don't EVER do that again." Then he gets off at the next stop.

I guess I am still getting used to the big city life. Ah well, at least I got a good laugh the rest of the ride home.

Yes I agree with ANANYMOUS above. We have been sucked into the Modernist way of thinking (myself more than most probably).

It is all about pleasing ourselves. I am so busy reading blogs on the internet that I "don't have time" to help. We want the government to do everything for us so we can fulfill our lusts to the fullest.

Anonymous said...

i got to ask how they are missing the point? they look at it differently is all, same as each of us can read an article and book and get ten different views and opinions.
we (the church) sit on our very cushioned (ahem) pews and think we are doing something by giving in the plate and attending a small group and sunday service.
or maybe we have fulfilled the great commission by doing love abbotsford/chilliwack
money is a small part of the problem, as is workers. it is the heart of teh church, the health of the body, and the constant ring of cell phones black berries and the such.........we look after us and forget the rest

Steve said...

It comes back to the complacent, apathetic attitude that the church develops.
Why should we care, we got it 'goin' on'.
It's rather disapointing, but hey, what can we do about it? Pray? I am kind of getting sick of people saying, "Let's pray about it. Let's pray we get the resources etc. etc." You know what, screw praying. (Not literally). I don't mean to say, let's not pray. But, screw sitting on our butts and doing nothing.
People are lazy. What will motivate them?

Jeremy Postal said...

Anonymous - just to remind you; anonymous posting is a faux pas.

True - people will read articles and get different opinions and views from them; however, does that strip me of my authority as interpreter of my article? It doesn't. Unless of course you subscribe to the postmodern virtue that says you can.....which would then really put into question the authority of the Bible.

Now, how are people missing the point? To use an example from my friend Mark - there is more to a hamburger then just the tomato; the numbers are just part of the large picture.

Maybe some of the backlash to people wanting to spend money on justice issues is because, in fact, THEY themselves are far too selfish. Yes, we need people who will get their hands dirty working in justice. Yes, we need little old grandma's who will pray and bake cookies. Yes, we need a church heart that loves people. Yes, we need to expand our definition of who the orphan, widow, and poor are. Yes, we need to partner with government organizations. Yes, we need a lot of other things. Yes, we need money. Money is the tomato.

Other then that; you said, "we look after us and forget the rest"
Please don't include me in your 'we'. Thank you for this consideration.

Mark said...

I like the dialogue here and I think its good. Some very valuable points being brought out. I woudl ike to suggest again the numbers mean very little simply because numbers do not paint the full picture. Many homeless people suffer from personality disorders and/or drug abuse as a way to cope with traumatic events in their lives. MAny times our socail justice is not really social justice it only feeds the failed system and does not really deal with the systemic issues. THe interesting thing I discovered is much of the 'social' effort is a mean to appease peoples sense of guilt. 'Petting the poor' but really not helping people at all. Honestly there are moments when we need to stand face to face with our 'poor' friends and tell them 'I will not give you a thing. IF you really wanted help there are some more important things I can give you than a few dollars.' There is a sense of tough love as well. Some of our panhandling friends with their daily collection and their welfare checks make just as much money as some of the youth pastors in our churches. I am not saying bad them... that they don't need help... but our little 'noble' but naive efforts are not going to change what needs to change. What I think is brilliant about what JP is suggesting is the element of community ownership. If churches took it upon themselves to 'own' and not just 'pet' the poor in their communities thats what will bring healing. True community is what heals, restores, corrects and grows people. THAT will help these people find themselves. I think the other question we must ask though is do our churches provide this? Are they a true reflection of community that can embrace all people at all points in their journey?

ric said...

This is intriguing. I support both of the writers regarding this particular argument. Jeremy many of us can read a passage of scripture, or an article, and from that same passage or article get a different meaning from the writing depending on where we are in our life, our walk, our situation. The writer's intent does not make it a blanket truth or statement for all of us.
This is just my opinion- and it is open for interpretation.
Money is the tomatoes? For me money is the bun that holds everything else in place, yet again, my opinion.
Lastly the "we" as I read it is an overall blanket statement not pointing at any one person in particular yet society as a whole! Again, my opinion.
Can the church eliminate "homelessness"? I do not think we can, do I think we can make huge inroads into this problem, yes I do. Would Christ give a loonie or a toonie, hehe, I need to think that Christ would be directing the church to give, the body to supply, and in turn yes He does give the funds, but through his direction.
Wouldn't it be amazing if we as a group would work together forget denominational differences, buildings, debt, color, race and creed and join together to impact a town or community? We the body, we the church, we the believers in Christ need to put aside all that blocks us from being a true and complete body, then as a body reach out beyond the safety of our gatherings and walls.
Churches, not any one in particular, but in general seem to be the root cause of what is happening to our "servants" heart. We pamper our congregations, supply the milk they need, and do not push them or challenge them enough to serve, not always be served. Not saying or pointing at any one church, just a general blanketed statement.

Steve said...

So then, where does the rubber hit the road? And by that, where do we start? I know we can tell people and ask people to volunteer things, but really, is that any different than what's already been happening? How can we change peoples hearts and minds to actually feel the need to adress the situation?

Mark said...

Do we think that God himself is not aware of this and is already at work in peoples lives to accomplish this. If we were to listen to the stirrings in the hearts of people I think its already happening.

I mentioned this to some folk already ... do we find it interesting that Brad Pitt and A Jolie just gave 4,000,000 to helping the needs of the poor? There is a ground swell of people moving to make a difference.

Could it be...that maybe God is already at work before we clue in that WE [in our self-righteous- we are the only ones who have the in with God] should do something about it? I think its already happening but God has chosen to use 'others' who are willing to say yes as well as those xians who are ready to jump in with two feet.

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

When it comes to issues like the Brangelina donation, is giving to the poor in fashion or is God already at work? Are they searching for exposure or purpose? Not making any judgements just throwing it out there.

Funny that this whole thread started (somewhat) in response to a post on Derwyn's website and he hasn't chimed in at all.

Mark said...

Good point Paul on the Brangelina Issue... I think however there is a significant move with some to do it because its fashionable, however I would challenge that that is their {BP/AJ] motive. I would also like to point this out... trends are often a manifestation of an existing need unlocked and serviced in a new way. So who started this 'TREND?' do they get classed into the same category as Brangelina?
Brad and Angelina are very clear and a person [with some decent research] can quickly discover this couple is missional and they are clearly stirred to do something about it. There are many others like this and I will choose not to mention those who I think are doing it for the exposure.

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

And don't forget they're soooooooo pretty.

Andy said...

some good points boys...
but putting this into action is another topic...
I think that reaching the homeless from a numbers context is great, but two things really come up:
1) Jesus always looked at the person rather than the numbers and this flows that,
2) most homeless people are comfortable where they are!
How do I know that...
Well, when you get into their worlds, the numbers game changes by building relationships one person at a time.
I do agree we need to invest in the homeless with our wallets, but more important, and being Jesus, investing our time...
Wouldn't Jesus do that?
Just a thought!

Jeremy Postal said...

Hey Ric
The money is the tomato, the bun, or whatever. I'm saying that it is simply part of it.

Glad we're clear.

**********
new thought
**********

Hey Andy, I like your website! Here is a thought not related to your website; I'm not sure that Jesus actually did spend much time with the homeless. It is true that there are plenty of stories of miracles and healings etc., But how many people did he simply walk past? Many. More then we might like to imagine...

Esther said...

Reading everyone's comments I've heard a lot about getting people to help out and getting people to serve but I think to really change lives people need to change their priorities, not just attend events to fill their daily/weekly/monthly quota. When people change their priorities helping those in need will follow.
I also don't think it's fair to assume people aren't doing their share if they don't come out to specific ministries. I have a problem with taking on too much and getting busy and if I said yes to every ministry I was asked to be a part of I'd probably be dead by now.
I like what's being said about the numbers. I don't think numbers should be the whole picture. If I only focused on the numbers I would probably feel less motivated to help because I would feel like I couldn't really make a difference. A million minus one is pretty much a million to me but when you add a heart and a personality to that one it makes all the difference.

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

Andy,
I've never met a hungry person who didn't want a sandwich.

I've never met a lonely person who didn't want my time.

I've never met a panhandler who didn't want a quarter.

I've never met a poet who didn't want to rhyme. (OK sorry about the last line. I was in the zone and couldn't get out.)

I think a better way to state it is that most homeless people don't have resources to get out of where they are.

That's my take anyways.

Derwyn said...

Since Paul & Wanda noted my silence, I'll add a few comments:

As an assignment for some graduate studies I was doing some years ago, I had to dress down, hang out in downtown Vancouver, and panhandle 10 bucks. The point was to experience what the panhandlers go through and to develop a sense of empathy for those who are truly down and out.

After about 3 hours or so of "experience" (details will have to be in another post), I bailed without having earned a cent.

What I did learn was the shame of having to panhandle. Seeing people consciously not look at me was weird. Just having to ask was a drag. I talked to a couple of real panhandlers. One of them gave me the garlic pizza someone else had given him (talk about guilt...I gave it away to the next real needy guy I found.) One crippled and blind panhandler said that the service provided by the city were all in East Van where he'd be an easy target to get rolled...

By the end of my charade, I would have been grateful just to be given something.

So, would Jesus have given me $1 or $2 or taken me to lunch or sent one of you to help me?

More importantly, would I have helped me?

Andy said...

Something to chew on!!!

Since last year, we do a service project and bring food and clothing to the homeless in hastings once a month (some months work better than others).

We bring tables, food, clothes, a bunch of teens, and set up camp for roughly an hour on hastings and main.

We have had come crazy encounters, some God encounters... and then I got a challenge...

Is it possible that us (as a group of teens who really do want to make a difference) is getting impacted more than those on the street?

And another thing, are we trying to "be Jesus" to these people by providing ways for them to be "reinstated" into society?

Is my perception of street people "being changed by God" based on being off of the street and in society?

Or.. is it possible to learn something from the homeless?

To clarify, I think that most homeless people need relationships more than resources... I think resources and food and money builds a bridge to the homeless.

I think the church is more scared to let these "type" of people in our pretty buildings rather than spending resources, food or money because building and cultivating relationships takes time and hard work.

And to be honest, I think most of the homeless in hastings are not dying because of hunger or thirst but the consenquences of addiction; burying themselves from their painful past.

Just some thoughts...

___________

And you are right Jer, Jesus did walk past some... but is that because He did whatever the Father told him?

I believe in this concept if we all got involved... In fact, didnt Jesus say that we would do "greater things" (John 14:12) ... if we worked together?

Enough of my gab... I need to get a blog!

PS -- Let me know how our website could be better...

M. A. Hawkins said...

Interesting thought about how many people Jesus walked by. I know I've walked by more. I was just in East Van this week and everyone, including myself seems to turn a blind eye to it. It comes becomes so out there, until you hear stories from people who have been there or affected by it. It becomes more real. Personally I think the number issue is really small. If we presented the numbers to churches across Canada, most of them could get excited about it and just chuck money at it, but that won't fix anything. Engaging and participatiing will bring change. Incredible stuff Jer thanks for bringing it up. I think we've all been interested in this topic, as your comment number seems to increase every hour. Thanks man.

Vancouver Condo Church said...

So Guys,

I want to give out an invite to you all.

Want to volunteer and donate to Union Gospel Mission, and specifically the Youth Centre.

It is about the numbers and the people.

And Jesus.

Come and work with the homeless.

And if it indeed fashionable to give. Well, what are we waiting for.

Candice Harper
Youth Outreach Worker

Paul & Wanda Moores said...

Nice plug Candice.

See you at church on Sunday Night (you're bringing dessert again).

Vancouver Condo Church said...

THanks Paul.

Strawberry cheesecake coming up.

Blessings,

Candice

Mark said...

Here is a thought...

Our presence by monetary or physical aid does not really help a lot but it opens our eyes and allows us to see the possibilities of how our connection in community with people can bring change. We are all connected and the more human we get the more we find healing. Thoughts? Are The numbers are merely metrics that allow us to begin to connect with other humans in community.

Steve said...

money can allow for certain people to connect, because it's what they need in order to connect. by that, I would mean transportation, food, etc. They need those things in order to help, which normally they would not have.
So I don't think money in itself really helps anything if it always goes directly to the homeless, but can help if we're creating resources for them- which the resources would come in more of a community aid. This could just be one small piece of the cake.. but yeah.

Boomer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Boomer said...

Derwyn, I think you're experience must have been eye opening and life changing. I'll be looking for that future post you promised about your time spent panhandling.

Allow me now to change the topic. I would like to talk about the best way to give birth. They say birth is painful, I don't think its as painful at all. Some husbands stay in the delivery room, some in the hall. I think birth will hurt my hand. However let me tell all the woman out there how to cope. Just distract yourself...trust me it will fix everything.

I don't know jack all about the homeless. I walk by them sometimes, often give whatevers in my pocket (often nothing because I survive on plastic). I could tell everyone living on the street what they need, but that doesn't mean I have a clue. Jer I see the informative nature of this post, but I'm working through something simpler. If we don't act or aren't really involved, in any situation, do we have the right to have an 'intelligent discussion' about it? Seems to me that's about as important as turning a fan on outside, in a huricane. Then again how are creative ideas formed? Any thoughts?

Jeremy Postal said...

Hey Candice
Great to hear from you and stoked that you have been reading the blog. It is good to see some people thinking and responding to the issues. More importantly; there is the feeling that everyone who is responding in some way is already apart of living justice lifestyles....

My hope was exactly that; to shake some peoples thoughts and inspire them to action. I'm not sure how we can call ourselves Christian, see injustice, ignore it, and still call ourselves followers of Jesus?? It makes no sense to me.

Anyhow, keep up the great work downtown and we shall do the same here.
Keep reading, tell a friend.
Grace and Peace,
-Jer

*******
thought change
*******

Mike, I know a little bit about being dad, not because I am a dad, but because I have a dad. I think that many of us here can consider intelligent discussion because we have experienced, touched, and shared in justice issues...

When we connect at a deeply human level with anyone, whether they are poor, rich, homeless, or developers, we reach into each others life and pull significance out of each other. How many people are just simply looking for a approval? I think alot.

100% of my wifes case load comes from single parent families; why does she spend every day in crack shacks, on the street, working with child prostitues, kids on probation, and mothers who are too cracked out to know they have kids? Becuase they are people who have been abandoned. The numbers don't tell the whole story and neither do the case files; each pair of eyes tell a story.

Steve said...

1 John 3:16-19

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we out to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condmen us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

We are talking about loving these people... but how many of us are really actually doing anything. I see that we've experienced it, and I know that some or directly involved, but the rest of us? I know for me, this is a rather convicting verse. I'm sitting on here talking about how do we motivate, but how actively am I involved?

Should we be directly involved? SOme of us do have other things we attend to, like those single mother families who need just as much help as the homeless. But, is giving the support, whether financially, or making resources available enough?

Boomer said...

True enough Jer. I agree everyone is seeking approval, thats the root incentive for almost all action. The thought about common humanity is important as well. While our circumstances are very different, beyond our own bias of rich and poor, we are all the same. So perhaps circumstance is less important than embracing the whole of mankind. Maybe this is the beginning of the solution.

CPostal said...

What do you think about adoption...as stated in the post...adoption (take responsibility for) one life at a time. You see the homeless problem isnt so overwhelming to me...it is that each life on the street is not adopted into another family....to me adoption means completely taking care of the life I adopt (spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially and so on)...you see i love agencies that help the homeless....with food and clothes...but would we need them if each life was adopted? I do understand that we need them to help with therapy and rehab and to support the families that really do try to help their kid, yet he or she is still on the street. You see I must say I am not so much into programs to feed and cloth as I am into adoption. But until adoption happens we need those agencies

Mark said...

Well put cpostal... I do not think I have seen you post here before... Who are you??? ;)
When we 'own' the poor instead of pet the poor we really begin to understand we can make a difference. It feels good to feed and cloth because its simple and easy [not to say we do not do that] but taking care of their well being is a bigger task... But must be done by a community and not just a few eager well meaning folk.

e.d. said...

Mark - a community can do it as well as a few eager wel meaning folks. IMHO.

Mark said...

A community can provide sustainability wheras a few eager folk cannot.

Anonymous said...

A dollar a day is nothing, if the people of God are not getting out of their compfy pews getting their feet wet and their hands dirty.

The homeless population would not be homeless if the "church" (you and me) would get off our asses and help meet peoples needs. Money will not solve the homeless population. Education and relationship and direction will is how things will change.

It is much easier to send money and let someone else deal with the problem, but maybe, just maybe the problem lies with the apethetic and pathetic attidue of the church to getting dirty and meeting needs.

Jesus never said to send money he said "if you have to shirts give one." And we all have more than one shirt.

That being said, Let me throw this out. How much do your pastors make? How much is that new sound system going to be that you want to buy? Does your church staff really need new laptops? Does the church need all the newest and latest media equiment? Hell NO! It needs people like Jesus who get out and hang with people that no one else would and because of this people wanted to change their lives.

People only change through relationship, Jesus let people know that they matter, when was the last time you told a homeless person, or a single mother, that he/she mattered.

Steve said...

It seems to me that this 'dialogue' is becoming reduntant to some degree.

So. We know we need to act. We know different ways in which too act. Now, the question is, WHEN, as a whole or individually, will we act? And no one can really answer that until they actually do something (which some are).

Anonymous said...

So now we have talked about it and we know what we should do.

SOME IS SIMPLY NOT GOOD ENOUGH. If you are not acting, may I go as far as meaybe you need to look at your relationship with God ("be my witnesses... to then ends of the world." God said "GO" so "Go."

Don't wait for the rest to get in on it, lead the way, be proactive DO SOMETHING TODAY AND STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

Mark said...

IT seems that anonymous seems to need to see the bigger picture here. Ther are some pretty STRONG statements being made by yourself [such as pastors salary and sound systems etc]. LEts just say this... there is enough to pay pastors what they are worth [of which a rare few are beyond the poverty level] and have the new sound system as well as work through the poverty issues in our nation... Self righteous and inflammatory statements don't really solve much... People acting/or not acting has many reasons tied to it like rash reactionary but good intentioned people not thinking things through and not having all their facts straight. WE can all get self righteous and slam the church/gov't or whoever we feel like we want to 'hate' today... but in reality we need to keep having these convo's and keep having the bigger things put in front of us... Jeremy has really put it well here ... see it all with all the possibilities... WE can pull out all out special little pat answers like 'get off your but and get out there'...sometimes that still won't help... misinformed people + helpless people = messed up lives. Bottom line ...and maybe I shoudl restate this question... Do you think maybe God already knows about this situation and has it under control? Isn't there a strong movement of humanity reaching out to humanity already that continues to grow [make pverty history, the ONE movement etc etc etc] Its happening folks so why are we thinking its not happening?

Anonymous said...

Mark,
I see the big picture, I am working to see a change, but that fact of the matter is that the majority of people in the church are not part of the solution. I am not saying not to pay the pastor. I am asking a question does a pastor really need to make upwards of $70,000 (some are making substantially more). Do we think that the sound system, or our powerpoint will bring people into relationship with God, The answer is no. Again every Christian, not a select few need to be involved in their community.

Let me ask you what are you doing to help people in the community?

My point is it is not up to make pverty history, the ONE movement, and others it is up to all of use.

Mark said...

Anonymous
Some of these are things to dialogue on for sure... however I think the 'metrics' you are using are irrelevant and reflect a poor theological foundation.

First of all asking about sound systems, powerpoint and such and suggesting that they don't bring people into relationship with God seems to be applying the wrong value system. These things have very little to do with relationship with God and ...who says that every decision the church makes has to revolve around whether or not it brings people into relationship to God. Whether you eat eggs for breakfast or fruit loops has nothing to do with bringing someone to Christ. Driving a red car or green car has nothing to do with bringing someone to Christ.
Secondly it is a poor theology to say that the 'church' is to be the thing that brings people into relationship with Christ. The church should be the agent that empowers and inspires individuals to win others. There is no Scriptural basis that suggests that the 'Church' should win people. the 'Church' however can assist people to engage their community.

Thirdly, to say we should not have sound systems etc. Is simply obsurd... Think it through.. these things are necessary tools to be effective in communicating a message that deserves the most excellent mediums. We not only need what you suggest we do without but more than that ... and less than that.

Fourthly, one of the weakest elements of your theological paradigm is your theology of economics. Why is it that you suggest that we should not pay pastors 70,000+ a year or have these expensive tools so that without these we could free up funds to take care of the poor. Statemnts like you have said would suggest that there is not enough to go around for all to be taken care of. In order for one to succeed another must lose out???
What did Jesus say about the lilies of the field???
*** Keep in mind here I am talking about a theology of ecominics here***

Is there a Scriptural basis to say that we must 'steal from Paul in order to Pay Peter' because there isn't enough to go around? Could not there be space for both? Could I not drive my H3 and take care of the poor as well? Is there somehitng that tells us that in order to take care of the poor we must be poor ourselves? This is not what the Scriptures seem to teach?
This is prolly an entirely different post but we must really evaluate our theology of economics. There more than enough money in the world... more than we can fathom... so why not think about ways we can access this money?
Lastly, I find it somewhat odd that you would ask me to anti-up on my community involvement [which I refuce to do] and you will not even put a name behind your statements. Places like this blog are places to learn and grow... to expand thinking... to be challenged and to hear the journeys and POV's of others ... not to call into question other peoples journey. NEVER EVER EVER EVER should we suggest that we stop talking and learning in a community like this and 'carte blanche' get off our 'arses' and get out there. I am not suggesting that we do nothing but we must continue to learn and dialogue.

Steve said...

My whole new question that has been raised is this: Can pastors actually get paid that much? I know if you're in a smaller church, which Jer's entry suggests is the case of most, the pastor won't be paid that much at all. 70,000 or less is a lot of church's budget! And it's through dilligent planning and saving that these church's can even afford to buy a new mic, never mind speakers... frig. I know the church I'm working for wishes they could pay a pastor that much. So, Mr./Ms./Mrs. Anonymous, I think you should learn a little more about hte average pastors saleries. Or atleast, this is basing off of what I"ve seen and know.

Derwyn said...

Boomer said he'd like to hear the rest of my panhandling story...

You can find it here:
http://derwyncostinak.blogspot.com

Derwyn