Welfare and poverty: why are church leaders out of step with their flocks?

leadership.jpgIn recent weeks Church leaders of many different denominations have raised their voices about the rise of food banks and the poverty and destitution inflicted on the most vulnerable through the government’s welfare reform as reported by Church Action on Poverty's Niall Cooper and in the Church Times. 

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21st Century Matthew 25:31-46

Then, the King said “I was hungry and you told me that it was my own fault for being lazy and believing that I was entitled to help from hard working families and that I’d probably spent all of my money on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs anyway.

I was thirsty and you assumed that I was desperate for gin or vodka, rather than water.

Matthew_25_40.pngI was naked and you said that I would have more chance of a job if I took more care of my personal appearance, even though I wore all I could afford.

I was poor and you told me I was a scrounger who just wanted to sponge off the state and put stories about me on the tv and newspapers, despite knowing nothing about my circumstances.

I was sick and you denied me any help, told me to go back to work and assumed I was faking illness in order to scrounge.

I was in prison and you demanded that the key was thrown away and that I was kept away from all respectable, law-abiding members of society because I was a bad person who could never change.

I was a stranger and you ran, scared of me, told me to go home, that your country was full and that I was only there to steal your money, possessions and jobs.

For I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it to me."

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The Ultimate Act Of Solidarity

eappi1.jpgSolidarity. It’s not a fashionable word these days, but in the Labour movement, it’s one of our most cherished values. However much the big corporations want us to believe otherwise and however much they spend on elaborate advertising campaigns at Christmas, there are unbreakable ties that bind us together. We’re not individual units of consumption, in splendid isolation. We’re interdependent, and nowhere is this more evident than in the church, at its best.

 

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Benefit sanctions - ineffective and immoral

jobcentreplusFood banks and job clubs, run by churches and community organisations around the country are reporting increased numbers of destitute people asking for emergency help, who come to them with the story “I’ve been sanctioned”. Greg Smith, a member of Christians on the Left, explores just what that means in a blog that first appeared on church action on poverty's website. 

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History of our movement

logoblend.pngAt the start of a new chapter, we thought it fitting to publish the history of our movement. We're proud of our past and proud of the future we're creating.

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Making banks work for Britain

Britain’s banks are not pulling their weight. Trapped in the shadow of the financial crisis, the rest of the country is sucked dry by government cuts and a sluggish economy while banks and financial organisations continue on as normal. Barely touched by the bank levy, bonuses are still paid and tax payers still wait to have their bailouts returned to the public purse. The financial industry (the most profitable industry in the world) rests under-taxed and seemingly ignores the responsibility it has for this crisis in the first place.

Ed Miliband’s commitment to responsible capitalism is the firm foundation that a fair banking sector needs. But this pledge needs real implication in policy. 
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Walter Brueggemann writes

bruegg.jpgThe brilliant Walter Brueggemann writes here on the theology of the economic crisis of the last few years.

If you're not familiar with the work of Brueggemann, then this is a great place to start!

Read the article here

 

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God in Government

Zaki Cooper, a trustee of the council of Christians and Jews, wrote this article which was originally published by Demos at god-and-government.pngwww.demos.co.uk. Zaki gave us permission to republish it here. It's a fascinating study into the impact of faith on British politics and prime ministers in recent years.

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Holistic transformation

With the explosion of Christian-based social action projects like foodbanks and debt counselling, Andy Flannagan wonders whether we need to Andy-Flan-.jpgmind our language.....

 

You can read his thinkpiece here.

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