Category: Money

Giza Pyramids

Lazy Slaves?

Giza Pyramids

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I couldn’t help but see some present day parallels with the Old Testament text in my daily lectionary reading for today:

10The slave bosses and the men in charge of the slaves went out and told them, “The king says he will not give you any more straw.11Go and find your own straw wherever you can, but you must still make as many bricks as before.”

12The slaves went all over Egypt, looking for straw.13But the slave bosses were hard on them and kept saying, “Each day you have to make as many bricks as you did when you were given straw.”14The bosses beat the men in charge of the slaves and said, “Why didn’t you force the slaves to make as many bricks yesterday and today as they did before?”

15Finally, the men in charge of the slaves went to the king and said, “Why are you treating us like this?16No one brings us any straw, but we are still ordered to make the same number of bricks. We are beaten with whips, and your own people are to blame.”

17The king replied, “You are lazy—nothing but lazy!

Canadian Flag

Jobs My Faith Wouldn’t Allow Me

Canadian Flag

I love Canada, but my loyalty is to Jesus.

There is lots of good commentary out there about why the whole Kim Davis story is ridiculous. She was elected to a government office that she wanted to fill, choosing to act as a representative of the government. She took an oath saying she would fulfill her duties without partiality, among other things. Now she has decided she doesn’t want to do her job. She doesn’t just resign, though. Instead, she insists that she gets to do her job her way instead of the way of her employer. The employer in this case is also the government, so by “their way” we really just mean “the law.” She thinks she is still entitled to the job that she refuses to do. Some Christians paint her as a martyr standing up for her religious freedom.

Let’s be clear here: there are no religious rights being violated. She hasn’t been told she can’t practice her religion. She hasn’t been told she can’t teach her religion to others. What she’s been told is that if she wants to keep her job, she has to keep actually doing her job. You know, like the conditions present for almost everybody else who has a job.

Canadian Money

Small Steps to a Community of Goods

Canadian MoneyI’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of the community of goods lately. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, this means a voluntary community where everything is held in common, as demonstrated for us in the book of Acts. It’s not political communism, which forces redistribution on everybody.

I applaud those who go all-in on the community of goods concept, such as fellow MennoNerd Micael. I stop a bit short of saying that every Christian should jump in to this practice right away. It’s a great ideal to move toward, definitely, but we live in a fallen world and I’m not sure going from 0 to 100 in a day is often the healthiest approach. For many of us – especially if you factor in families you are responsible for – that’s a risky proposition as you put all of your trust in a few other people.

So, with that in mind, I’ve been thinking about some smaller steps that we could initiate within a community to help establish trust in that community and free up some money for those who really need it.

Coldest Night of the Year

Emily, Ryan, Mike, Laura

Emily and I with our friends Mike and Laura before the Toronto 2013 walk.

Canadian readers may have heard of the Coldest Night of the Year initiative. In cities all over the country, people walk on a cold night as a way to raise money for and empathize with those who do not have a choice about being outside on cold nights. This year features walks in 80 different cities and a total goal of $3 million.

I walked two years ago in Toronto where the money went to a great and well-known organization in Yonge Street Mission. They do a lot of amazing things in Toronto, particularly closer to downtown. To what degree we empathized is debatable since “the coldest night of the year” was actually a pretty comfortable walk, close to the 0*C freezing mark. But we still raised a pile of money to help those who are out there on much colder nights.

AIDS Care

I’ve been thinking lately I want to make a bit more room on the blog for stories of how the Church (not just TMH, all of the Church) is living out the Kingdom and making the world better in practical ways. I also want to provide some specific ways that you can be a part of that. Consider this the first post in that goal. I don’t want to be a guy who sits around writing about Jesus without acting like him. I hope you’d also like to act like him instead of just reading about him, whether through the things I profile here and/or other ways.
AIDS Care logoEvery year The Meeting House partners with Mennonite Central Committee, supporting their work in Southern Africa with those living with HIV/AIDS. The work spans 14 projects in 6 countries. As a church, we’ve done it 5 years so far with this being the sixth. In that time, we’ve totaled over 5,700 AIDS CARE Kits (packages of essential supplies along with $100 to buy medicine) and 5,300 AIDS CARE Cards ($100). They’re pretty staggering numbers and something I’ve been proud to be a part of the past couple of years and again this year. I remember being told a couple of years ago why the Card system was implemented: we had sent too many Kits for MCC’s staff to be able to distribute so the Cards provided another way to help.

Technology - Bible and Headphones

The Moral Imperative of Public Transit

One of our new light rail transit cars in Kitchener

Public transit has been a hot-button issue in many areas of Ontario in recent years. When we lived in Toronto, it was an issue there, and still is going into their current election campaign. When we lived in Hamilton, there was discussion of a light-rail line running east to west, but it was vetoed and they settled for bus lanes in the busiest stretch of downtown. We now live in Kitchener, part of the Waterloo Region, which has earned itself a bit of a reputation for being ahead of the curve on public transit development. They have spent years debating a light-rail line and recently broke ground on it. Nonetheless, some want to rip it up, even though it would cost a lot more to do that than to finish at this point, seemingly out of spite more than anything else.

Here’s five reasons why I think there is a moral social imperative to develop public transit systems as best as possible.

Fighting Mindless Accumulation

In some research for the Canadian Bible Society’s upcoming social justice initiative (which I’ve written lots for on this site), I came across an interesting article in the New York Times about mindless accumulation.

The Research and Conclusions

Participants were split into brackets of high-earners and low-earners. They had to sit and listen to white noise for a set amount of time to earn chocolate, but only had 5 minutes to eat however much chocolate they had earned. Before beginning, people were asked how much they thought they could eat in 5 minutes and then they were left to earn as much or as little as they wanted.

The Year of Jubilee

8 Count off seven weeks of years—that is, seven times seven—so that the seven weeks of years totals forty-nine years. 9 Then have the trumpet blown on the tenth day of the seventh month. Have the trumpet blown throughout your land on the Day of Reconciliation. 10 You will make the fiftieth year holy, proclaiming freedom throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It will be a Jubilee year for you: each of you must return to your family property and to your extended family. 11 The fiftieth year will be a Jubilee year for you. Do not plant, do not harvest the secondary growth, and do not gather from the freely growing vines 12 because it is a Jubilee: it will be holy to you. You can eat only the produce directly out of the field. 13 Each of you must return to your family property in this year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-13 CEB)

The practice of the Sabbath Year and the Jubilee Year are far from the only laws designed around equal economics. There are laws against charging interest on loans (Lev 25:36). There are laws against taking collateral on loans (Exod 22:25-27). There are laws against moving boundary markers between your property and your neighbour’s to expand your property (Deut 19:14; 27:17).

Culture War Casualties: 10,000 Abandoned Children

Please support World Vision or similar organisations. Millions need your help.

World Vision has released an update on the damage done by the culture wars last week: 10,000 abandoned children. That’s just in the United States branch of World Vision.

Here’s how @TheAmericnJesus put it: that’s twice as many we stopped feeding in the name of theological purity as Jesus fed with absolutely no questions asked.