Foodbank Church
Mission

Christianity is the key to foodbank success – it must not be suppressed

 

It’s been interesting reading through many of the media articles following the parliamentary launch of Feeding Britain. There have been plenty of them, that’s for sure; the Church of England’s media digest pages probably haven’t been so full since the Same-Sex Marriage Bill went through Parliament.

Much of it has come down to the role of the state and what Iain Duncan Smith’s Department for Work and Pensions should be doing about it all. Getting payments to more people on time is the most obvious place to start. It would save a couple of hundred thousand visits to foodbanks over the next year. Having them take over the running of foodbanks would certainly not be a good move. There are a few writers who have got it into their heads that Feeding Britain has called for the state to intervene in this way, but nothing of the sort has been said. Such were the rumours based on leaks that, by the time Justin Welby stood up to make his speech at the launch, he had to refute such claims: “You might think from some of yesterday’s coverage, and today’s, that the report is asking the Government to move into the foodbank sector. It’s not. It is far more interesting and creative than that.”

Obviously some journalists weren’t paying attention because the co-chair of the report, Frank Field, had to do almost exactly the same thing a few days later. Writing to the Times, he didn’t mince his words: “The last thing we want is for the deadening hand of government to fall upon food banks.”

He’s absolutely right, too. One of the main reasons why foodbanks have been so successful is that they’ve stayed away from government interference. The other is that they’ve been run by Christians.

Not so long ago Christians were often perceived by many, particularly in local government, as a bunch of amateur do-gooders. Some still think that is the case, but the truth is that you can’t deal with pushing on for a million foodbank visitors needing help unless you’re thoroughly organised with plenty of structural frameworks in place. There’s no way on recent performance that the state could run a system like this in such an efficient and effective way. Churches are perfectly placed to do this sort of thing – they have the manpower and local knowledge and relationships, but most of all they have something the state can never harness: they have God at the heart of it.

This is something that secularists repeatedly struggle to get their heads round. So do plenty of politicians, but not all. Stephen Timms has been banging the drum for the churches for quite some time now. Being a Christian, he gets it. This is what he said in a speech in September:

If you look around the country today there is a very important new social movement which is blossoming – but I don’t think its significance has properly yet been understood. It’s steadily building, it’s making an impact and it’s a movement of activism whose starting point is faith in Jesus and hope in his resurrection. We’re talking about a grassroots movement. There isn’t a headquarters somewhere or some famous celebrity who’s directing it all: this is a locally based, locally focused movement. It’s rooted in committed communities, in churches, which are socially and culturally mixed groups in a way that’s actually quite unusual in our society today. And this movement is rooted in worship – we’re not talking about something that consists of activists who happen to have got a bit of background in Christianity – instead this has right at its centre the person of Jesus Christ and the activity of worship and that’s what gives it vitality and energy and commitment. And it’s a movement that’s interested in changing individuals. It plugs away. It doesn’t abandon failures even if sometimes it looks a bit foolish. It works in faith that human history is in God’s hands and that one day what is clearly wrong and unfair today is going to be put right and I think this is one is the most hopeful developments around.

This is the big difference. When the state is in charge it becomes a job to do, but when churches are doing the work on the ground it is an act of worship. It has a spiritual dimension that fuels compassion and the desire to serve, and to serve well. The authors of The Myth of the Undeserving Poor, which was reviewed here last week, explains this very clearly:

(Christians) have something to offer that others do not. We are not relying on our human effort to transform people’s lives, but on a God who is intimately acquainted with the needs of the poor and offers hope as well as practical help. Jesus’ response to human need combined passion, prayer, commitment, faith, available human resources – and the expectation of change. Christians have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, and we should fully expect that power to be at work in us as we minister to the most vulnerable in society.

We have the privilege of praying for the people we are seeking to help. Faith and miracles must play a part in our care for the poor and needy. The Church’s work cannot be reduced to a social services model. God’s Spirit is available to us to bring a miraculous breakthrough that goes beyond any practical help we can give. Not only does God call us to demonstrate his mercy to the poor, but we also get the honour of explaining the extraordinary good news of Jesus Christ that can be embraced equally by rich and poor alike, and which has immediate impact on our lives, however desperate they may be.

No one else approaches social action in this way, not even organisations linked to other religions. This might seem nonsense or even offensive to those on the outside, but Christian projects up and down the country can testify to this power that comes through faith in Jesus. And what’s more, it works. Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is another success story. It provides free debt help, counselling and job clubs through churches for 38,000 people a year and just keeps winning industry awards. Volunteers are encouraged to wear their faith on their sleeve and will offer prayer for each person they work with. Every time a client becomes a Christian a bell is sounded at CAP HQ and everyone gathers to pray and give thanks to God.

This is what social action through our churches should look like. These projects and  organisations do not exclude anyone because of race, beliefs, sexuality or anything else, nor do they create any pressure to convert, but they also know that the best they have to offer to those they work with is more than just meeting physical needs. If a Christian is asked what motivates them, they should have every reason to give a full and honest answer without fear of criticism. CAP, like many other Christian organisations, receives no funding from the state and they see this as liberating. It avoids interference from those making demands on how grants should be spent. Other Christian organisations have gone after public funding in order to grow or survive and due to constraints placed upon them or concerns that the faith aspect should be toned down as a result they have lost their way, losing sight of the faith that fired them into existence and becoming less successful in the process.

The Feeding Britain authors and Justin Welby acknowledge that more can be done if State and Church work together in partnership using limited amounts of public money to build foundations. But they also know that they would need to be equal partners. The Church is not the little man to be bossed around here. It is delivering what the state is unable to do and shouldn’t be ashamed of its motivations. Whatever funding providers do to force Christian organisations to be less Christian is backward, insulting and counter-productive. This is a moment for government to throw its support behind Christian organisations which have proved themselves and blessed this nation. And that includes acknowledging and encouraging the faith of the thousands of volunteers and leaders who are providing routine acts of compassion that would otherwise be in very short supply.

  • len

    IF the church and State could work together it would be mutually beneficial.
    The Church has the buildings and the people which would be an ideal vehicle
    to funnel aid to those in need with the help of funds from the State.Of course this will take some organisational skills but nothing is impossible where there is the will to make this work.

    • dannybhoy

      The State should concentrate on strengthening our economy. enabling businesses to perform by cutting red tape etc. The big problem is that governments now seem to act as though the country exists for their benefit, to tinker with and experiment on as they will. I seriously believe that politicians are increasingly a part of the problem. For the Church to work more closely with the State will benefit the State more than the Church.

      • Watchman

        Well said, Danny. The state has a way of abusing everything it touches and wants to be master of all. The Church is answerable only to God (or should be). The church should be taking the state to task on why it has allowed the spiritual principle of sowing and reaping to die. The states supply of benefits to the indolent and irresponsible has cost them their freedom, their self respect and their happiness and has doubtless contributed largely to their indolence and irresponsibility.

        • CliveM

          Yep let them starve and they will be dancing in the streets with joy.

          Let’s label everyone of them as feckless and indolent. That way we can ignore them, sweep the problem under the carpet and attempt to convince ourselves it for their own good.

          • Watchman

            Apart from mockery, Clive, have you any other contribution to make? We have a problem: state intervention in people’s lives has had and continues to have a destructive effect. Do you compound the problem by treating them with the same medicine that has caused their distress, or try to challenge the philosophy that has caused it and try, with them, a different approach that could release them from their captivity?

          • CliveM

            When an argument is based on a distorted view of the truth and a massive piece of generalisation it’s hard to take seriously. It is equally hard to engage in a debate. However the majority of people who accept state benefits do so for a limited period, typically until they are able to find new work.

            But even those who do indeed abuse the system (about 5% of claimants) often have children. Do you let them starve?

          • Watchman

            What is a distorted view of the truth? What is a massive generalisation?

          • CliveM

            Well pretty much all you said. However a specific example:

            “Food banks are the worst way to treat the hungry who have misused their resources”

            You’ve made no effort to differentiate between those who through no fault of their own find themselves without work or undergoing particular mental or other problems in their life and the small number who abuse it.

          • Phil R

            “What is a distorted view of the truth? What is a massive generalisation?”

            Your implied assumption that all the poor are feckless.

          • Watchman

            You drew that implication and I cannot take responsibility for your thought processes. However, food banks perpetuate the myth that state benefits are not sufficient to sustain life, for they should do no more than that. It is time that we got back to Seebohm Rowntrees study of poverty of the early 1900’s which defined poverty in absolute terms rather than in comparative terms as it is at the moment. Rowntree’s approach is far more scientific and would show that current benefit levels are far in excess of need. It would also put beyond doubt any arguement that food banks are unnecessary.

          • Phil R

            Lets move forward here.

            You said

            “The states supply of benefits to the indolent and irresponsible has cost them their freedom, their self respect and their happiness and has doubtless contributed largely to their indolence and irresponsibility”

            I think everyone broadly agrees that the current benefit system in some cases does not encourage work. However, to imply (make no mistake you do this) that all the poor are feckless is in my opinion both morally wrong, a terrible Christian witness and flies in the face of what Churches have been associated with from the very beginning.

            Now if you are saying that the current benefit system needs to be reformed so that the vast sums of money that are currently spent on benefits is spent creating jobs instead then I am with you.

            However, there are many injustices and one easier to correct is the £9000pa penalty that poorer families who are in work suffer, simply because they are married. Also the huge sums of money spent putting the children of the poor in state day orphanages, just so that the mother (usually) can then take a “job” that would not actually pay her child care.

          • Watchman

            Phil, I think we are tinkering round the edges here; this is a much broader subject than we are both addressing and the conflict seems to arise because I am starting at one end and you at the other. I believe that God’s Word contains all the requirements for mankind to live a happy and fulfilled life. Man has fallen but He has provided redemption. On top of that both old and new testements provide answers as to how we should conduct ourselves financially, but those answers, by today’s standards appear pretty harsh to a generation that has grown up on the state becoming a provider. The problem we have is that in becoming a provider the state has also taken over ownership and controls large parts of our lives. The price we have to pay for the system we have is our freedom.

            In the OT there was a requirement for them to look after widows, orphans and foreigners; both widows and orphans because they had no family support and foreigners because often non-Israelites would become attached to a family and live with them; he or she then became that family’s responsibility. In the NT Paul exhorts churches to care for widows and orphans. The biblical standard is one in which the family is the main economic unit, providing for itself. There are many other requirements for family support too complex to go into here.

            Our current economic family support system has evolved through a series of bits of legislation beginning with the 1601 Poor Law Act and progressed via an avowed intention to destroy the nation from within by destroying the family. If this sounds too “conspiracy theory” like for you try googling something like “Franfurt School Theory” and examine the results. Our current benefits system is one facet in the attempt to destroy family life and the legacy that the biblical standard has given us. I write with all this in mind, I would like us to reverse this erosion of liberty and move us back to a place which God ordained for our success and happiness. I’ll stop here, but there is much more to say

          • dannybhoy

            Watchman,
            I think we are all basically saying the same thing here, but as you say, coming from different angles.
            During my two year stint of unemployment, because of a work injury I qualified for a state funded six month training programme. I took City & Guilds plumbing and greatly enjoyed learning new skills.
            However we still had to leave one county for another where we both found employment, starting off in rented accommodation then moving onwards and upwards. I was 50 years old when I made that move.
            The world does not owe us a living and there certainly are people who fall into unemployment and are glad of tax funded state benefits. But I also met people for whom unemployment was a way of life, and were not ashamed of it..
            As Phil says there needs to be a complete overhaul of the system which puts the emphasis back onto a speedy return to work and dignity.

          • Watchman

            Thanks for the biographical detail, Danny; our opinions on things are often informed by our experiences, not least about how God has graciously dealt with us in times when we have sought His Will. Without being too mawkish or wanting to take advantage of telling a sob story, I was brought up in conditions of the most dire poverty by loving parents who I will always honour as the best that parents could ever be. I knew nothing but happiness as they tried always to determine how to honour God and spread the Gospel in everything they did. (Actually, we were quite posh: we had our own loo in the yard whilst many had to share between neighbours!)

            After a considerable time as a mental health social worker in an inner city andother social work related jobs I realised that social work was becoming heavily politicised: the clients were becoming less important but making political capital out of their dilemmas became the order of the day; the left had taken over. I got out, and by God’s good grace finished my working life managing IT systems.

            There are two strands of thought to relate: one in theogical and the other could be said to be both theological and political, although mainly political. I believe that Yeshua was, and still is, concerned by the plight of the poor, both material and spiritual. It seems to me that the poverty in the UK today is mainly spiritual whilst we are simply addressing the material, or at least that is how the media are presenting it. Spiritual poverty occurs when people identify their happiness and fulfilment as contained within the material and not the nature and quality of their relationships. From whence comes their security and sense of identity? The second, and most controversial strand is that I believe that the poor themselves and the Christians who are involved in the relief of that poverty are being manipulated for political gain by the political liberal/ left to make political points about benefit levels. This was so when I was practicing social work and still is today. My evidence is contained in half a lifetime of experience of trying to get people to love themselves and their neighbours a little more.

            Bless you Danny

            James 5:14,15 works, I can attest to it.

          • dannybhoy

            That you cannot reconcile a belief that people must be free to do what they want to do in order to be fulfilled, with a happy and healthy society wherein adults love and respect each other and work together for the good of children. That in essence what you are saying is that the need to “find myself” is more significant than the trail of broken relationships and emotional debris that result from that quest..

          • Watchman

            I’m sorry that you lost most of your post; if you find it please post it. It’s difficult to comment on the fragment as I’m not sure of its context. Bless you, Danny.

          • dannybhoy

            Watchman, all being well I shall repost tomorrow. I have yet to discover how to find text you accidentally delete, and even how I managed to do it!
            Very annoying.

          • dannybhoy

            Watchman,
            Re your post.
            Perhaps similar backgrounds except us kids saw lots of emotional and physical violence between our parenst.
            I also was going to go into social work but changed my mind in the early stages when I realised that the underlying philosophy and principles were at odds to mine.
            Ditto probation work (It’s not their fault, it’s society’s fault!)
            My last piece was referring to a conversation with a close family member who at that time championed all underdogs except those with a strong moral code!

            Their attitude was that we should ” legislate, legislate, legislate!!” so that all might be free to be themselves, outlaw discrimination and prejudice of any kind, and allow people to carry out their “own journey of self discovery and fulfilment…”
            My point was that people can only really be changed from within and that the more laws we pass, the less free we become.

          • CliveM

            He implications is drawn from what you said. Perhaps you need to be clearer.

          • Just think, Clive. Many of those holding such cold attitudes are prisoners too. Remember the misery that was behind Scrooge’s heartlessness.

          • CliveM

            Indeed wise words.

        • MrsBurgin

          My husband has been scheduled to work 8 hours this week: a 2 hours shift and a 6 hours shift. He has been working fulltime on a short hours contract for months but they have taken on new staff so they can reduce everyone’s hours (yes, yes I know that sounds weird but it saves them Employers NI if they do it that way!). The 2 hour shift is particularly galling because he will have to spend 75%+ of his daily wage on commuting costs. He is fortunate in that he is married to me and I earn a decent wage but there are literally 1,000s who are not so fortunate who have had to resort to foodbanks and loan sharks.

          Moreover, we have a Conservative-led Government who has continued to dismantle employment rights and demonize trade unions. So, my husband has nowhere to turn and no rights to enforce. If he only gets 8 hours work, he only gets 8 hours pay – regardless of his outgoings. WE have to pay the price of the so-called “flexible labour market” not the employer. And he cannot get a 2nd job because of the terms in his contract.

          I am deeply aware that too many middle class churches neither understand nor care about people like my husband. Consequently they do not have the theological framework to cope with the reality of his working life. He is made invisible because he undermines their cookie cutter view of the world. Were it not for the maturity of our faith, this could deeply affect our ability to worship and/or receive pastoral care.

          • Phil R

            Agreed

            The unions used to be filled with Christians. Now they are not.

            The Conservative party used to have a majority Christian view

            Now it does not.

            Zero hours contracts are immoral and it is time all Christians said so

          • Watchman

            Phil, from your posts I do suspect you are a socialist or, at least, have left wing leanings. May I suggest that you familiarise yourself with your bible and give your moral compass a chance of correcting itself.

          • Phil R

            It is the first time for many years that anyone has told me I was a socialist. Never before on this blog!

            I have been both an employee and currently I am an employer. I understand the attraction of employing someone in a contract so that you have exclusive access to their labour but do not specify the number of hours/salary that you will pay them.

            It is the fact that these contracts specify that the employee cannot work for another employer and must be available for work whenever the employer says so, is in my view immoral.

            Moral Compass? That is for God to judge. But before we look at specks we look at logs in our own eyes I think.

          • Watchman

            Anyone with any good to say about trade unions has to be a bit of a leftie. A contract of employment is between two parties and freely entered into by both. Where is the immorality in that? Trade unions interfere with the relationship entered into through that contract by threatening to harm a party to that contract. Where is the morality in that?

          • sarky

            Read the original post again!! The employer changed terms (hours), how can anyone survive on only a days work and not be free to look for another job. Not fair.
            As for unions, they are there to protect, not harm, essential these days. (And no, I am not a leftie)

          • Phil R

            “Trade unions interfere with the relationship entered into through that
            contract by threatening to harm a party to that contract. Where is the
            morality in that?”

            I think you need to read a bit more about what the Trade Unions do for their members in this country. There are all types of Trade unions some have no strike clauses, many are involved in representing individual members in the professions. If you are a doctor or teacher say, who has been accused of making a mistake, you need representation fast and the TU is the first point of call.

            I’m a “bit of a leftie” then. First time for everything I suppose.

          • dannybhoy

            Watchman.
            If you look back at the great reforms in our country, many (not all) were led by evangelical Christians. The Unions, social reforms, the employment of children, street children, etc. etc.
            The two things go together, as long as the Gospel is central.
            I am not a Christian socialist btw, politically I am Conservatively inclined, but I agree with what Phil said.

          • Watchman

            You have a good point, Danny. However they were always overtly Christian with no restrictions being placed on the expression of the origin of their hope. I disagree about trade unions: they really are quite evil – look at their principles and modus operandi. They make people dissatisfied with their lot and teach covetousness and greed. Now Christians are expected to do the good works but keep silent about their faith; and they are complying. Could you see the early church, or even the Victorians complying with such an outrageous request.

          • dannybhoy

            Again we agree in principle, but unions weren’t bad to begin with, and in fact in Germany unions continue to work amicably with management.
            We should agree that men design build structures (organisations) to meet a genuine need, but what often happens is that once the structure has achieved its purpose it doesn’t dissolve, because people are employed by it; so they just change the role of the structure in order to keep people in employment..

          • dannybhoy

            Well said Mrs Burgin, and you illustrate exactly why the State will be happy to use compassionate Christians, as long as they remember their place and don’t interfere in politics..
            I do hope that things will improve for you. In fact you and yours are the Christian brothers and sisters we Christians should be wanting to help.
            May I suggest that anyone who wants to, gets in touch with “da management” to make anonymous donations to the Burgin household? I know Mrs Burgin you are not asking, I am suggesting, and I know it won’t solve anything long term, but…

          • MrsBurgin

            Danny

            That really is very kind, but totally unnecessary. As I said, my husband is fortunate that he is married to me :-P. No, seriously, I’m in a steady job so his cut in hours won’t leave us completely destitute (though it is a real pain).

            My concern is for the rest of the retail workforce who aren’t married to people in steady jobs. There are 1,000s of people in exactly the same situation at work as my husband.

            Perhaps I could suggest people start giving cash tips to the sales assistants when they’re out Christmas shopping?

            I have often wondered what I would say if I ever met the “powers that be” in my husband’s company. “I hope you’re making decent donations to your local foodbank”. Or something equally cutting. But I’d probably bottle it.

            But then I think: what if companies were required to publish the percentage of their workforce using foodbanks?

          • dannybhoy

            Mrs Burgin..
            Galatians 6:9>.

            “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

            Your post was so full of commonsense as opposed to some of the mawkishness (as the Inspector might say) on display here.
            There simply isn’t enough doing good to the household of faith or of washing one another’s feet. Both literally and figuratively.

            Let’s be filled with the Holy Spirit and anointed to every good work of love..

      • len

        I was thinking more of getting food to those who are in need rather than the politics of it all.

        • dannybhoy

          No one wants people and children to go hungry Len, you’re right. But the Churches have been doing fine without the State. There are the big supermarkets and food chains who can provide the food which churches can distribute.
          The State should stay out of it.
          I told people that my wife is a CofE school governor . Ofsted wants her to attend endless meetings file reports and courses, all as an unpaid volunteer. My wife is a pensioner and we get by on the State pension. This is government thinking at its best. Interfere, distort, mess up.
          In the meantime whilst ordinarystressed out Brits head for the foodbanks,,,

          “MPs’ pay will rise by 10 per cent next year, taking their salaries to £74,000,
          the new head of Parliament’s expenses watchdog has said, despite warnings
          from David Cameron that such an increase would be “simply unacceptable”.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/11079707/MPs-will-get-10-per-cent-pay-rise-expenses-watchdog-says.html

          Churches should work with such as these?

          • len

            IF the Churches were ‘doing fine’ there would be no one going hungry.

            This is obviously not the fact.

            I suggest that if you were one of the parents hoping their children left some food on their plate so you could eat then you would not be quite so particular who provided your next meal?.

          • dannybhoy

            I’ve already SAID no one should go hungry! Our family went hungry in the ’50s. Bread and jam, bread and dripping, even dog biscuits on occasion. Or scrumped fruit or even potatoes.
            I am looking at WHY it is happening in the sixth richest country in the world, where politicians can’t build an economy, but can give themselves a 10% pay rise.

            Look, the reason we can give to different charities is because we always make sure we can meet our obligations and bills,
            We do this by doing without holidays, rarely eating out or going to pictures or shows. We shop at Lidls and Asda. I have one suit which I’ve had since 1997 and I shall probably be buried in it.
            Now I/we could abandon our life of frugality and become another stat, but we don’t want to.
            The big problem is that it is governments who have presided over an ever burgeoning welfare state and a shrinking productive economy, and it is governments that have irresponsibly allowed uncontrolled immigration and the reduction of British workers jobs and earnings by allowing cheap foreign labour in to undercut them.
            These are real facts, and they need to be addressed and resolved as much as childrens’ tummies need filling.

    • Watchman

      Len, please check your theology. God does not have partners: when He acts He does so in a sovereign manner. He may use others to fulfill His Purpose but He does not have partnerships. Read what happened to Jehoshaphat when he entered a partnership with a pagan king.

      • Best set up Christian communes then and monasteries. God requires us o be His co-workers in whatever we can. Of course the Church and state should work together and respecting the limits of each others responsibility and purpose.

      • len

        God chose to work through people, so does the accuser…

        • Watchman

          But this is very different from seeking out partners in the world in order to carry out God’s business.

  • grandpa1940

    The true problem is not with the allegedly hungry people ‘forced’ to visit food banks to prevent imminent starvation, it is, instead, the truth that most people who run short of money do so because they spend the cash on things lke booze, lottery, Sky tv sports payments, and other ‘necessities’ of modern life.

    I brush past the ‘food bank’ collectors because I have very little sympathy for those who will not help or look after themselves.

    • A Person

      very sad … just like so many brushed past the man on the road to Damascus. In the end it took a good Samaritan to notice the need. Have you spent time with those who are referred to foodbanks? Do you all about their crisis? Do you know their motives or their heart? How can you judge them? Jesus said, when you do it to the least, you do it to Him. One day He will ask us all – when I was hungry did you feed me, when I was thirsty did you give me something to drink, when I was homeless did you invite me in – what is your answer going to be?

      • grandpa1940

        Sorry ‘Person’, but if you wish to set me straight on one side, you should really check where your quotations come from.

        For example, the Samaritan rescued some bloke travelling from Jerusalem to Jericho; not Damascus, where Paul was headed when he got the Word, as it were.

        As for the alleged ‘unfortunates’, it is my firm belief that we are all in control of our own destinies, and if they cannot get by on what is given by the State, then that is down to them.

        • CliveM

          And here we have it, an updated Christmas Carol, fit for the 21st Century. The state pays, I pay my taxes, I therefore take no responsibility for those who struggle. Must be their fault. If they can’t manage, let them die and decrease the surplus population.

      • Watchman

        This sounds a bit like emotional blackmail and you are approaching the situation in a naive and simplistic manner, and one possibly likely to do more harm than good. We are dealing with people who have been abused by a succession of politicians into believing that their happiness is dependant on the supply of largesse from various sources and that material goods and pre-prepared junk food are the root of all human aspiration. The proponents of the theories of the Franfurt School must be delighted! Compassion does not lie in your confirming the message through which they have experienced abuse but by allowing them to reap what they have sown in order for them to try a pattern of behaviour which will reap a more satisfactory outcome. Food banks are the worst way to treat the hungry who have misused their resources; you are not allowing them to experience any growth.

        • Phil R

          ” Food banks are the worst way to treat the hungry”

          There we go lets turn the 2000 years of Christian tradition of helping the poor on it head

          What other tradition/teaching would you like to change?

          usury? SSM? sorry we have those already.

          I have your new slogan ready…

          So let the poor help the poor

          Like it?

          It sums you up though. Your “Christianity” is a disgrace

          • Martin

            Phil

            So what do you make of 2 Thessalonians 3:10?

          • Phil R

            So they all will not work?

            All of them?

          • Martin

            Phil

            I’m asking the question, Would you say that those who have children in order to be provided for by the state should be required to work for their support?

          • Phil R

            Why those that have children especially?

            To answer your question

            Depends on age of children i would say

          • Martin

            Phil

            You’re less likely to get support without children. Plenty of people have ended up on the street with no aid whatsoever, and food banks don’t help them.

          • Watchman

            I care not one jot for Christian tradition but I do care that the message of salvation is delivered through the power of the Holy Spirit, whether that be through healings, miracles or the delivery of the word in power. You forget that 11 of the 12 disciples died violent deaths because they refused to keep quiet about God’s way of salvation. The same persecution is happening today, and guess what, th church is growing rapidly in all these place where the gospel is being proclaimed. In this country Christianity is withering because Christians think that good deeds are a substitute for the message of salvation.

          • Phil R

            The same persecution is happening today, and guess what, th church is growing rapidly in all these place where the gospel is being proclaimed

            No it is growing fastest amongst the poor like it always has

            “Christians think that good deeds are a substitute for the message of salvation.”

            Nobody here has said that.

            BTW. You are it seems to me as guilty as the most liberal Christian in making God agree with your moral stances.

            You are not preaching the Gospel Watchman. You are preaching that God agrees with your (sick) worldview.

          • Watchman

            Wow, you’re angry (and irrational) Phil, please calm down it’s not good for you. I’ve no intention of letting you add further misinterpretation to what I’ve said except to say that the social gospel is no gospel at all.

          • Phil R

            Angry yes..

            We are perfectly acceptable to God today. It has nothing to do with whether we are rich, poor or wherever we are on the moral spectrum.

            Or indeed if you are a bone headed self righteous bastard.

            You need to read your Bible again. If I get to heaven first

            I’ll kick out back out myself!

          • Watchman

            Phil,
            I would like to respond to you appropriately but cannot while you resort to insulting me without giving any specific reasons for those insults. Please be specific about why you are so upset and I will do my best to answer you. I don’t see any point in adopting a scattergun approach hoping I might hit a target,

          • Phil R

            OK here is one of my issues with you there are quite a few

            The Christian tradition of helping the poor that you dismiss is not a optional extra to the Church. We help the poor because we owe Jesus everything and we are expressing the love to others that God showed to us by the cross by helping where we can. It does not matter really even whether it work or not, the issue is it is how it is perceived.

            I’ll give you an example. I once read how people used to bring the sick and the dying to Mother Theresa. One day they brought three people who had been injured and left to die in a ditch. (It may seem incredible to us but in some parts of the world that is still not uncommon). She took the worst one and removed many maggots from his body and cleaned his wounds. Just before he died he recovered slightly and told her that he could now die in peace because he had seen the face of an Angel. He then died within a few minutes, as did the other two later in the day.

            So, what will it be? Laugh at her, pour scorn on her efforts, doubt her testimony?

            Whatever you decide, your words so far shout, leave them in the ditch to die without love.

            You may perform “miracles” and “healings” and have perfect moral behaviour Watchman. But there is no love in your words, so I very much doubt if Jesus knows you at all.

          • Watchman

            Thank you for your response, Phil, although I think it’s a pity that you cannot resist having a swipe at me every time you address me. Perhaps you ought to familiarise yourself with a response I made to Danny of late in order to acquaint yourself with where I’m coming from. It may also help you understand why I take the attitude that I do.

            I have rejected the traditions of the church because I believe that the church has led everybody in the wrong direction. The church is man made organisation which acts as a vehicle within which people can act out rituals in the belief that this is honouring to God. When I want to know what the church should be I read my bible and am struck by the difference between the activities of the early church and what is regarded as church today. The first two chapters of Acts show us the way a church behaves when the Spirit of God is poured out on it. That is what I want to see today.

            Yeshua’s concern for the poor was both for their physical poverty and ( mainly) for their spiritual poverty. Mother Theresa tended to both, but mainly to people’s physical poverty. I know India reasonably well and although the poverty is profound there is a gritty self sufficiency to survive because they know that no one will step in to rescue them. And this is mostly done with amazing good humour.. They know that sowing and reaping go hand I n hand and their priorities are always to feed the children and then provide them with an education.

            In the UK the major poverty is a spiritual one. The benefits system is more than adequate to provide for the basics of life but the search is for other satisfactions which often take priority, to the detriment of the family.

            Satan, I am sure takes delight in our self satisfaction in caring for the physical needs of people and ignoring the spiritual needs. OK, I hear you, you’re saying that you do!
            Being compassionate to people, Phil, often means that you have sometimes to tell them the truth that they do not want to hear and this can be tough on both the messenger and the recipient. The Victorians knew this, Octavian Hill, a leading philanthropist, of the Charity Organisation Society knew that there was no point carrying on feeding someone unless it enabled them to bring about a change in their attitude and behaviour and enabled them to stand on their own feet. We have let the poor down by giving them a contant message that the state will always provide and if it withdraws any support it is a wicked state. The state’s wickedness has been to foster a culture of dependancy in which people have lost sight of their ability to be self sufficient and self respectful. I hope this answers some of your question and if you respond please be restrained in your ire.

            Bless you

          • Phil R

            Now that is a response in both tone and content that I can agree with wholeheartedly.

            You see lets go back to the early Church. Jesus and his disciples were so different from all the other Jewish leaders. They went to bars, they spoke to prostitutes, they spoke to Romans, to adulterers, to thieves, to collaborators. You see the people they spoke too had knew already that their lives were evil and not pleasing to God, but they didn’t care. Jesus went to them. Drank wine with them, laughed with them. His behavior was seen as scandalous to most Jews. But the people loved him. Why? Because he was the son of God? Yes that is part of it but in the main they loved him because he showed them unconditional and non judgmental love first. We see that time and time again in the Bible? People are changed by love not being told to do the right thing. Relationship first, laws second. Even in Exodus, God saved them first then gave them laws.

            The love came first. Has to.

          • Watchman

            Sorry, Phil, I certainly didn’t mean to give the impression of a legalistic approach. What concerns me is that the love that is shown in the meeting of the, let’s call it “client perceived need” ends with the meeting of that “client perceived need” and the real problem is never addressed, that of the spiritual malaise which is culturally caused. There is a breed of social worker which says is being unacceptably judgemental to expect anybody to change behaviour which causes them distress but we should continue simply to supply the “opiates” that dull the pain. This feeds the sense of victimhood towards permanent disablement. How many of would, even if we had had the insight, have dealt with the rich young man in the same way as Yeshua and told him to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. Yeshua clearly saw his problem and addressed it. He was also pretty rough on people, remember, and I think that apart from the rather laddish and colourful picture you paint people must have pretty wary of Him: His perception and straightforward approach indicated that He didn’t stand for any nonsense or pretentiousness?
            We are told than in rescuing people from the consequences of their self-destructive behaviour we must not evangelise when clearly a relationship with their Creator is the only practical solution. My guess is that praying with someone is clearly out of the question. Satan must be very happy with this.

            We reach out to lost because they are lost and the effort of reaching out is negated if the lost cannot be saved.

      • Old Nick

        Jericho

      • Martin

        AP

        Jesus said “when you do it to the least of His brethren” meaning Christians, that passage does not refer to all & sundry.

    • Inspector General

      You have something there, Grandpa.

      Some years ago, a good friend, a worker and not on benefits, went through a stage of being shunned by his teenage daughter. She stopped speaking to him and went into a sulk. The reason – he refused to commit to the Sky package, which at the time was around £30 a month. No idea what the current rate is, perhaps someone can help out.

      Anyway, it was for her socially disastrous so she whined, due to some teenage ‘must watch’ program only available through Sky.

      The Inspector has always reasoned that the children of unmarried mothers, to use a quaint term which will no doubt horrify the PC lot, are invariably indulged by the lone parent. This is due to the parent having indulged themselves by doing exactly what they themselves wanted, culminating in having children out of wedlock. (Hah, those PC types must be roused to annoyance now with a second ‘archaic’ phrase thrown in !). Sensible women plan ahead, are shrewd enough to get a reliable man involved, and thus don’t rely in the first instance on the state for their and their children’s sustenance….

      • Nothing in that comment to enrage the PC brigade, Inspector. Jack fears you are losing your touch. Selfishness, rather that Christian selflessness, is a source of much social instability.

  • Linda Maslen

    I think it is really important we keep Christ right at the centre too. The foodbank I have the privilege to be part of introduced prayer as part of its shopping list. People starts to tick the prayer box we prayed with them, a god answered the prayers, they some back with more prayer requests God answered again, the people wanted to know more about God. We have just baptised our 49th new Christian since January this year. We have a fresh expression of church Saturday Gathering with a regular family of 70 people meeting on a Saturday night. The council have just leased us a building at a peppercorn rent so that we can do more to serve this community that they find it really hard to meet, that opens up the opportunity for us to do more. Our worship of God in words and actions is key, our love of our neighbour with the heart that God gives to us, completely non judgmental is key and our working together as a Christian community across denominational divides is also key. God is abundantly blessing a community of marginalised whom He favours and as a byproduct blessing those who respond to His call to feed the hungry.

    • dannybhoy

      Now this is good. Charity with Christ at the centre. You can’t have one without the other. To do good without Christ is humanitarian. To do good in the Name of Christ is to share the Gospel.

  • SidneyDeane

    “we also get the honour of explaining the extraordinary good news of Jesus Christ that can be embraced equally by rich and poor alike”

    Ah, the true motive reveals itself – evangelising. That of course is why Christians do anything: to further propagate their religion.
    Further, Christians far from being good, are arguably actually just selfish. Only doing good because they fear the wrath of God if they don’t. Atheists and secularists are good for goodness sake. Which is fitting for the time of year.

    “human history is in God’s hands and that one day what is clearly wrong and unfair today is going to be put right”

    What’s he waiting for? It’s almost as though he’s not there…

    • dannybhoy

      “That of course is why Christians do anything: to further propagate their religion.”

      Not exactly Sidney. It’s because our Lord offers us forgiveness and newness of life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We share our faith because we know that God takes no pleasure in the (needless) death of a sinner.

      (To be pedantic, a sinner is someone who thinks they don’t need God/ that God doesn’t exist/ that they want to be their own god answerable only to themselves/and he thinks nothing of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross….)

      • sarky

        If I take no pleasure in something I dont do it. So why does god?

        • CliveM

          I take no pleasure in ticking off my son for doing something stupid. Still do it though.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s what a good Dad does though isn’t it Clive!

          • sarky

            A ticking off is a tad different from an eternity in hell. If god can do that when he loves you, I’d hate to grt on his bsd side.

          • Phil R

            As I have said before to you.

            If I could prove that both exist

            Would you chose Heaven?

          • sarky

            Doubt it, everyone I know would be in the other place!!

          • Phil R

            Exactly.

            So why have an issue with God’s judgement?

          • sarky

            No, I have a problem with belief in gods judgement. When people act out of fear and not of their own free will, there is a problem.

          • Phil R

            Christians are not “good” because they fear hell. Hell is not an issue for them and so I doubt very much whether it has any effect on their behaviour.

            Is the mark of a Christian that he/she is a better person/ higher moral standards than you Sarky?

            It may be the case it may not. God does not judge moral standards only what is in your heart.

          • DanJ0

            Christians should be progressively better than they were, surely, and if they started on average at the level of normal people then Christians as a group should be markedly better. Better in the shared sense of the word anyway. Wasn’t one of Paul’s letters sent to people who thought that as long as they were ‘saved’ then they could do as they wished? I forget which one off the top of my head, my being a heathen and all. Ties in a little bit with the faith versus works stuff in James (?).

          • Phil R

            I agree with much of what you say.

            I would say that we should judge “better” depending on your starting point in life.

            Paul was annoyed with Christians who carried on much as before. Romans 6 you were thinking of. I think we need to look at the whole chapter not individual verses out of context.

            I have no doubt that the Christians that Paul talked about were better than they had been. But they probably were considered terrible examples by other Christians and even by the Pagan Romans.

          • dannybhoy

            We don’t fear Hell, man was never intended for Hell. If you can’t accept that the person and character of Jesus is someone to admire and want to be like, then of course you want to be your own god with your own system of morality.
            And if that is what you really want, you won’t want to be around Christ or Christians..

          • Phil R

            Agreed

            How did you get to think otherwise from my response?

            What Sarky was on about was that moral behavour in Christians was motivated by a fear of Hell. They then attempt to influence non Christians with this fear and it does not work. (No surprise really, as it does not work with Christians either)

          • CliveM

            Well Sarky don’t then!

            It’s always a bad idea to take analogies to far.

        • dannybhoy

          Sarks,
          Because we didn’t discover God, He revealed Himself to us through an orderly and incredible universe, the sheer wonder and complexity of life (don’t let anyone fool you that it’s a result of chance) and then He revealed His moral character through the People of Israel and the Mosaic Law.
          He showed Himself to be Holy and Righteous and Compassionate. But as the Ruler of the moral universe, He still has to deal with deliberate sin and wilfulness. He hinted at this through the sacrificial system and the Temple, and finally revealed His solution by sending the Lord Jesus to live a life obedient to the Law so that He was completely without sin, and the allowing Himself to be judged and nailed to a cross.
          He did this willingly for all men so that they might be forgiven, that they might begin the process of renewal AND that they might be anointed to do the works of God
          i.e. cooperate with God in reaching out and changing lives.
          Ultimately our promise from Jesus is that where He is there we will be also.

          What more can anyone ask for? Ans all we have to do is talk to Him in all humility and ask Him to come into our heart. God loves and respects our free will so much that He won’t force Himself on us.
          We have to ask Him. To not take that opportunity is to condemn ourselves.

          • sarky

            If god wanted to save us from sin couldnt he have done it a different way? ? Why would an all powerful god come to earth as his own son, be tortured and humiliated and then murdered on a cross. Sorry don’t get it.

          • dannybhoy

            Sarks
            I didn’t inderstand it for along time either!
            I always thought I was a decent upright bloke, and I actually thought if there were more people like me in the world, it would be a better place.
            The revelation came when God spoke to my heart and said
            Danny you think you’re one of the good guys, but let Me tell you that if a time ever came when you had the choice of dying for your principles or denying them in order to live..
            you’d deny them.
            And deep in my heart I knew that was true. Essentially I was a hypocrite.
            If there was another way Sarks, do you not think a loving compassionate God would have found it?

          • sarky

            A loving compassionate god wouldn’t have needed it!

          • SidneyDeane

            Youre just parroting what you’ve been told, probably since you were a child.

          • dannybhoy

            You mean my belief in God or my belief in His claim on my life?
            Two different things.
            I don’t see any logical evidence for abiogenesis, or panspermia.

            I see limited evidence for evolution, more for built in adaptation.

            All these things I learnt at my mother’s knee…

          • SidneyDeane

            Evolution is a fact. As certain as the fact the earth goes around the sun. And theres an abundance of evidence for it.
            Including, wait for it, the fact that we have actually observed it happening. And can replicate the same in the lab.
            Take a look at Dawkins Book entitled ‘the evidence for evolution’ as a starting point. Or you could just do what youre going to do anyway: put your fingers in your ears and pretend i never said anything.

          • dannybhoy

            It’s not a fact. It’s a hypothesis for people who find the idea of a Creator God embarrassing and distasteful.
            Listen, for every bit of atheistic ‘proof’ you offer, I can find Christian scientists and philosophers who can refute it and point out the flaws.
            I’ve read some of Dawkins and other writers too..
            I have never met anyone who has intellectually convinced me that life came about as a result of time plus chance plus energy. Those things are mindless. There is no force such as nature, or “life” or accidental soups and sparks that can really explain the sheer miracle and complexity of life.
            If you have ever noticed those who argue for evolution (having already swallowed abiogenesis) always end up referring to some outside amorphic force which “somehow” brings about intelligent upwards development and change and adaptation.
            We Christians accept that force is the uncaused ‘First Cause’ who has always been and will ever be. Nothing else makes intellectual sense.

          • SidneyDeane

            Yes it is a fact, that’s where your wrong dannyboy. Bless you. Living in wilful ignorance. How tragic.
            In terms of “finding christian scientists and philosohphers who can refute it”. Maybe you can find some crackpot ones who noone else agrees with but otherwise no you cant. But go on ill humour you – show me one single peer reviewed paper refuting evolution – hahaha! sorry i had to stop and laugh out loud there; the whole idea of a peer-reviewed paper successfully refuting evolution is just so laughable!!!
            We’ve actually seen it happening hahaha. But no no its just a hypothesis. Hahaha. You are too funny.

          • dannybhoy
          • SidneyDeane

            none of this is what i asked for….
            You do understand the difference between a peer-reviewed paper and some moron on a blog right?
            Because you’ve just given me the latter.

          • dannybhoy

            No, I’ve given you loads of examples of intelligent people not only Christians who disagree with that there proved/observed evolution.
            There are scientists included, but unfortunately Sidney that doesn’t meet with your approval.
            Your arrogance is understandable. After all you are convinced you are right!
            Christians -most Christians- don’t say they know how God did it, they just accept that the uncaused First Cause is the most logical Originator and Designer of life.
            Adaptability Yes. accidental impersonal uncaused evolution, No.

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s another quote from Dawkins..
            “The total amount of suffering per year in the natural world is beyond all decent contemplation. During the minute that
            it takes me to compose this sentence, thousands of animals are being eaten alive, many others are running for their lives, whimpering with fear, others are slowly being devoured from within by rasping parasites,thousands of all kinds are dying of starvation, thirst, and disease. It must be so. If there ever is a time of plenty, this very fact will
            automatically lead to an increase in the population until the natural state of starvation and misery is restored. In a universe of electrons and selfish genes, blind physical forces and genetic replication, some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and
            you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it, nor any justice.
            The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there
            is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.”

            It made me realise where your slightly hysterical laughter originated from Sydney.

            After all, if our birthplace “is without design, purpose, evil, good, only pitiless indifference” that makes us meaningless too.
            Makes me laugh…..

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s another quote on Dawkins.. re his”pitiless indifference.” p.133

            Questions:

            How can we explain the hurting if we have no idea what “not hurting” feels? How can we explain “luck” if we do not know what “unlucky” means? How can we explain “injustice” if we do not have any knowledge of what “justice” is?

            If at the bottom, there is no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, why are we(including Dawkin) wants the fairness, “Justice”, and not ready to pretend we are not in pain, “getting hurt” when fair-play is not exercised?

            If it is true that there is no evil and no good, then I am not in a position to point these things out. If no purpose, fairness, including Dawkins’ own claim is “nothing but blind pitiless indifference” which is absurd.

            Dawkin wishes his reader to take his claims seriously, namely “becoming an atheist after reading to the end of his God Delusion book”

            Are Richard Dawkins’ claims also “at the bottom … nothing but blind pitiless indifference?”

            http://withalliamgod.wordpress.com/existence-of-god/dawkins-deluded-logic/

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s another juicy selection of Richard’s quotes.
            Please feel free to keep on laughing…

            “Richard Dawkins once said science may eventually discover the existence of somesort of “giganticintelligence” in the universe (but it wouldn’t be helpful to call it God!):

            Interviewer: “But was there not, in his mind, a tiny
            possibility that one of these future physicists could discover God in one of these dimensions?

            Dawkins: “Well, I’m convinced that future physicists
            will discover something at least as wonderful as any god you could ever imagine.”

            Interviewer: Why not call it God?
            Dawkins: “I don’t think it’s helpful to call it God.”

            Interviewer: OK, but what would “it” be like?
            Dawkins: “I think it’ll be something wonderful and
            amazing and something difficult to understand. I think that all theological conceptions will be seen as parochial and petty by comparison.”

            http://www.spotlightministries.org.uk/dawkinsquotes.htm

          • SidneyDeane

            So no you don’t understand the difference.

            There are ‘intelligent people’ who think 9/11 was a conspiracy.

            What you’re telling me is you believe a few ‘intelligent’ bloggers over mountains of peer reviewed scientific papers and in truth, simply accepted scientific fact. Which is moronic. To put it very mildly.

            Good day.

          • dannybhoy

            Like I said evolution presents as a fact, but there are plenty of scientists and intelligent educated people who don’t accept it.
            Calling people “morons” says a lot more about you than it does them. Not only that, but this ‘fact’ has been modified and altered many many times, and there are plenty of people even within the evolutionary camp who disagree with each other anyway.
            It’s a theory which could just as easily be described as adaptability. Being rude to people is not intellectual superiority, it is a rather distasteful expression of arrogance,
            Good night.

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t want to bore anyone with this, but Sidney started yesterday with “Take a look at Dawkins Book entitled ‘the evidence for evolution’ as a starting point….”

            This is the text from one of those links I supplied..
            As far as I have checked the quote is from Richard Dawkins, (who I personally believe has more of a personal and emotional investment in his refutations)
            In an interview he said,

            Design/Fine Tuning of the Universe/God

            “Richard Dawkins once said science may eventually discover the existence of some sort of “gigantic intelligence” in the universe (but it wouldn’t be helpful to call it God!):

            Interviewer: “But was there not, in his mind, a tiny
            possibility that one of these future physicists could discover God in one of these dimensions?

            Dawkins: “Well, I’m convinced that future physicists
            will discover something at least as wonderful as any god you could ever imagine.”

            Interviewer: Why not call it God?

            Dawkins: “I don’t think it’s helpful to call it God.”

            Interviewer: OK, but what would “it” be like?

            Dawkins: “I think it’ll be something wonderful and
            amazing and something difficult to understand. I think that all theological conceptions will be seen as parochial and petty by comparison.”

            Interviewer: He can even see how “design” by some gigantic intelligence might come into it.

            Dawkins: “But that gigantic intelligence itself would need
            an explanation. It’s not enough to call it God, it would need some sort of explanation such as evolution. Maybe it evolved in another universe and created some computer simulation that we are all a part of. These
            are all science-fiction suggestions but I am trying to overcome the limitations of the 21st-century mind. It’s going to be grander and bigger and more beautiful and more wonderful and it’s going to put
            theology to shame.”

            (God . . . in other words, Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent , The Times, May 10, 2007).

            Belief in the possibility that aliens created us (anything but God it seems!):

            Ben Stein: “What do you think is the possibility that
            Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in
            genetics or in evolution?”

            Dawkins: “Well, it could come about in the following way. It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded
            onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.” (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Clip at this link).

          • dannybhoy
          • sarky

            Christian scientists? Now there’s an oxymoron.

          • dannybhoy

            The first true scientists were mostly Christians or at least men of God. It was Christians that founded the universities and the hospitals and many other places of learning.
            Atheists mostly majored in Cynicism and Arrogance…

      • magnolia

        Exactly so, plus the beliefs we may, through God’s grace, help others towards are life-enriching and necessary because men and women are spiritual creatures with spiritual needs and thirsts, so it would actually be selfish to withhold the good news, not the other way around.

        It is that cup oif cold water, physical and/or spiritual, that we need to proffer, as gently as possible, in unselfconscious manner because the need is there, and sometimes, like Sir Philip Sidney we need to say “his need is greater than mine”.

        Well- that is the target!

    • scottspeig

      I find it sad that you think Christians do it based on propagating their religion, and doing it to appease the wrath of God.

      Most will do it out of compassion and would consider the neglect on their spiritual walk heart-rendering. As I recently explained to an atheistic friend of mine, I really do want you and others to know Christ the way I do, as it is such a priviledge and honour to worship the King of kings! To ignore their soul would be catastrophic for what does it gain a man if he gains the whole world, but loses his soul?

      What’s God waiting for? For the fullness of the Gentiles. Then comes the glorious return and the correction of the world. 🙂

    • Watchman

      What are you doing here? Are you a troll?

      • sarky

        No, he’s just telling the truth.

        • CliveM

          And all is right with the world!

          No he isn’t.

      • Martin

        Watchman

        Sid & Sarky are two of our resident Atheist trolls (sorry for the tautology).

        • Watchman

          Thank you, Martin. They’re probably a couple of Anglican bishops!

          • Martin

            Watchman

            Women bishops.

          • Watchman

            Now, Martin either you are goading me or referring me to His Grace’s next post. I shall refrain apart from quoting 1 Corinthians 14.

          • Martin

            Watchman

            Me, goad? Never. And, of course, there is only one. For a minute there I thought you were talking of brotherly love.

          • Watchman

            Sorry, I forgot the verse. It’s verse 34 onwards. Just purchased David pawson’s “Leadership is Male” on Kindle so that I can go in armed to the teeth!

          • Hmmm ……… so you confess to being a couple of pricks then?

            “It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            And they were messengers sent by God were they not?

      • SidneyDeane

        Why, because I disagree with you?

      • SidneyDeane

        Why, because I disagree with you?

  • Paul Newton

    Where I live we are fortunate in the relationship between the Town, District and County Councils and the churches, despite the town also being the home of a strong Sikh Community (or possible because of…)

    This is at several levels. For the last few years, our church has been invited by the local BID group to lead the singing in a lantern procession, which is otherwise totally secular. We have also had no problem in arranging open air services on public land.

    Like many other towns, we have Food Banks, Christians Against Poverty, Shelters and other support for the homeless, support for teenagers excluded from school, links to addiction programmes and many other community programmes.

    We also have Street Pastors. For the latter, the Chief Constable of the county Police, not a Christian, approached the local MP about the need for Street Pastors in the town; they jointly encouraged the local council to approach the churches to start the programme. For those who do not know about Street Pastors, they are explicitly Christian and you can only volunteer as a Pastor with the support of your church leader, minister or vicar. We are not allowed to evangelise or preach, but if people ask why we are out at 3:00am in a cold, wet and dark night, making sure that drunken students get home safely, we reply that it is because we have a great God who looks after us and gives us good things to share.

    The local council continues to support these social activities both financially and in many other ways, even in these times of financial constraint. They can show, through a whole range of measurements, that the work of the churches makes the town a better, safer and more attractive place for people to live in or to visit.

    • Watchman

      Sorry, Paul but the fact that you are “not allowed to evangelise or preach” is a bit like asking for doctors to attend but telling them that they are not allowed to practice medicine. You are perpetuating the myth that Christians are just nice people who can be depended to turn up and simply be nice to people. You have the message of salvation to the lost but you are not allowed to give them that message. You are being abused if you do not robustly challenge the premise on which the local council invited you.

      • Paul Newton

        On the contrary, we are finding that by meeting people where they are (out on the street, needing someone who will listen to them, help them without judgement, keep them safe, and the other things we do) makes them wonder why we do it. And they ask. So we tell them.

        As I said, we are not allowed to evangelise verbally, but the impact of a hand reached out in love is huge. They see that the love of God makes a difference in their own life, they start to understand that the church, in the sense of God’s people, works for good in It everyone’s lives. They are ready to listen as we talk about our relationship to God and Jesus, and to ask serious questions about their own lives. It makes far more impact than standing on the street corner handing out tracts.

        • CliveM

          Well said. May You continue to enjoy the opportunities to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.

        • Watchman

          Forgive me, Paul, but there does seem to be a contraction in your second paragraph. You say you are not allowed to evangelise verbally but then say that you do evangelise verbally. I think my main concern is not with what you actually do to evangelise but that you agree with the council that you won’t evangelise. It sounds a bit like Peter denying his Lord!

          • Paul Newton

            As I said, we are not allowed to evangelise, but we are allowed to respond to questions.

            So, if someone wonders why we are doing this, we are at perfect liberty to explain how our Christian faith, our personal relationship to Jesus and what he has done for us, leads us to be serving the community like this. And, because they have seen what we are doing, our testimony has a lot of credibility and is listened to with respect.

            It is along the lines of the saying accredited to St Francis of Assisi, “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”

            By the way, the ban on evangelism is not from the council, but is a condition of our operating licence from Ascension Trust.

          • Martin

            Paul

            You can only preach the gospel with words, Francis of Assisi clearly hadn’t a clue what the gospel is.

            I wonder how you can say to someone, “you’re heading for Hell & need a Saviour” under the circumstances you describe.

            I note that the Ascension Trust does not have a doctrinal statement on its website which must raise questions as to whether it is Christian in ethos at all.

          • Urgleboo

            “You can only preach the gospel with words”
            Utter tripe. In any situation, setting an example through actions is always more powerful than mere words. Always. Whether we’re talking religion, or bringing up children, or corporate management. Always.

          • CliveM

            I don’t think Martin understands the concept of witness.

          • Watchman

            That’s interesting, then how would you indicate to someone that they were heading for hell and needed a saviour?

          • CliveM

            Neither does Watchman.

          • Martin

            Urgleboo

            So what do you think the gospel is?

        • What Clive said.

      • sarky

        Watchman, we have street pastors in our town who do a great job. They have built up trust with the clubbers and drinkers precisely because they don’t preach. Im afraid preaching would just cause conflict (nobody wants to hear that on a good night out) and would undo all the good work done and probably put the pastors in danger.

        • CliveM

          Can’t believe I’ve just upvoted you!

          It’s a strange old world!!

        • Watchman

          Sarky, it means that they are there under false pretences, what good can come from that? It is giving a false impression of the nature of Christianity. The council need to know that Christians are not just nice people but hold the secret to eternal life through the Blood of Jesus and that the promulgation of this message is (or should be) their prime concern.

          • sarky

            A false impression of christianity??? As an atheist they are one of the best impressions of christianity I have seen and long may they continue. No wonder christianity is on its knees with people like you as members!!!

          • Watchman

            Sorry, Sarky, as you don’t seem to understand what you are talking about I’ll simply offer to pray for you!

          • sarky

            I totally understand what I’m talking about. Remember it’s people like me you are trying to reach. Who do you think I have the most time for? someone who unselfishly gives up their time to help me when I might need it? Or someone who preaches the bible at me? Bit of a no brainer really.
            Please dont offer to pray for me, it’s passive/aggressive and a bit insulting.

          • Phil R

            You probably find that the ones that actually do the praying will do it quietly anyway without telling you.

            They will help you as well without judgement.

            It will be the help you notice, but the prayers that will get long term results.

          • Inspector General

            No point reaching you Sarky. You’re for the chop. Most deservedly too. Never mind….

          • Inspector General

            You will sark no more…

            Hah Hah !

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Watchman is right, we cannot persuade you, we merely tell you the truth that you know God exists but rebel against Him by pretending He doesn’t.

          • sarky

            Sorry Martin, but this ‘you know god exists’ is getting very boring as your stock answer to every comment.
            If he does show me the evidence!!
            P.s. testimony and unproven events dont count.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            So the answer is in your hands, is it not? Stop pretending that you are an Atheist & admit you are just a rebel against a good God.

          • dannybhoy

            Amen!

          • sarky

            BORING.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Not half as boring as you.

          • CliveM

            Could you supply the name of the Churches you are associated with. Just so I can ensure that I don’t inadvertently cross the door of one.

          • Martin

            Clive

            They’re probably the churches you already avoid. They tend to take the Bible seriously & consider that the sermon is the most important part of their worship.

          • sarky

            They will be easy to spot. Average age 90, not very full.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Didn’t you know, God saves all sorts of ages.

          • “I recall hearing a member at a church I am acquainted with was disciplined for joining the Samaritans, who also forbid any mention of the gospel in their work.”

            Do you know why that is Samaritan policy, Martin? Think about it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s because the Samaritans do not know the deepest need of mankind, nor do they understand sin & the nature of Man. All in all, they are a sub Christian organisation of do gooders that do nothing but harm.

          • “It’s because the Samaritans do not know the deepest need of mankind, nor do they understand sin & the nature of Man.”
            So how many Samaritans do you know?

            Work for an evening on a help line and listen to those close to suicide, some because of a disturbed understanding of faith, and you will change your mind.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why would i need to know any of them? The fact remains that if you deny someone what they really need for reasons of dogma you are placing your wishes ahead of their good. Which is somewhat akin to the church of Rome’s insistence that only it can interpret Scripture.

          • Yeah, it’s probably best keep well away from the desperate and suicidal, Martin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So you’d prefer to deny them what they need in order to satisfy your dogma?

          • No, I’d prefer them to stay alive so that they might have time to.

          • CliveM

            I have met one or two people over the years who needed less religion not more. Mania can be quite scary.

            You are right.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, in respect of psychological and emotional harm, religious addiction can be as dangerous as any other form of addiction.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So you’d imagine they’d be more likely to stay alive if you didn’t meet their need?

          • CliveM

            Martin doesn’t do real life.

          • dannybhoy

            Sarks,
            ” Remember it’s people like me you are trying to reach..”
            So,
            you’re a kind of divine quality control Inspector??

          • He’s a ‘mystery shopper’.

          • sarky

            I like the sound of that! !

          • CliveM

            Twice, it’s a bad day!

      • IanCad

        Mr. Watchman,
        I picked up on that as well.
        “Now just be a good little Christian and keep your mouth shut.”
        The apostle Paul had an answer for that situation:
        “—Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye.”
        Acts 4:19

    • That’s lovely, what a civilised place.

    • Inspector General

      Nothing against the Sikhs, you know. Damn decent people. Credit to the empire, what !

      • dannybhoy

        I have met some very fine Sikhs I agree. They settled in well here and are generally industrious and moral people.

  • Busy Mum

    A country that has “pushing on for a million foodbank visitors needing help” must be at heart a communist and atheist organisation which is perfectly happy for Christians to do its dirty work until the foodbank is the only supplier of food. There’ll be no room for the Christians then.

    • Watchman

      Quite right mum. But at the root of the atheistic and communist policy is the destruction of the family. The family is at the heart of God’s plan for His Creation. The family is also crucial in the economic wellbeing of His Creation and it is this that has been destroyed. Christianity and socialism are opposites: they cannot exist together. In order to get socialism to work God’s plan for mankind has to be undermined and destroyed. Socialism infringes all 10 commandment and much more of the Torah and is an anathema to anyone trying to live according to his creator’s commands.

  • Inspector General

    People also need to be taught HOW to be poor. Money management. Perhaps with every food bank withdrawal, the recipients could be given a sheet of tips, like not running a car. Cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes. NOT going shopping. And ‘mendy mendy’ time. When you repair what’s broken or past its best and don’t replace it.

    For many, tip number 1 might be enough on its own.

    • Inspector General

      I say chaps, anymore tips out there, from yesteryear. Like sharing bath water, wearing jumpers or two. Reheating leftovers for the next days breakfast. Let’s show these types how to really live it up with what little they have…

      • Inspector General

        Anyone old enough here to remember ice on the inside of the bedroom window in winter. No double glazing then. Just one room was kept in heat, and you went to bed with a hot water bottle. If you were lucky, you fell asleep before the bottle cooled.

        As a result of that, you damn well got up pretty smartish in the morning……

        • CliveM

          Yes I remember it. I also remember looking out my window through the ice at the ice flows in the river Tay. Use to nearly freeze solid at low tide, then when the tide changed it all broke up. Hasn’t happened in a long time.

          Actually I found it very hard to get up!

          • Inspector General

            Yes, it can be hard on waking {AHEM}

          • CliveM

            I choose not to understand what you mean!

          • “Actually I found it very difficult to get up!”
            You went South?

          • dannybhoy

            You are a very very bad and worryingly obsessive boy Inspector…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Mr Slope can always lend a helping hand, dear Inspector…

          • CliveM

            Your a bad lady!!!

        • James60498 .

          Yes. It used to be my job to scrape it off in various rooms in the house.

          • Martin

            James

            I’m glad you weren’t replying to Mrs P.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          When I was a girl the ice could form on the inside of one’s crinoline…married life has not changed that much, I fear…

        • DanJ0

          Only as a student, where once the water in the bog froze. No broadband and en-suites back then.

        • Martin

          IG

          My school had central heating, one radiator in the middle of the building.

      • Busy Mum

        This is how I manage to be a busy mum who looks after the children instead of going out to work; by thrift and economy we pay our way but neither can we afford to contribute to food banks. Does that make us ‘deserving poor’??!!

        • Inspector General

          You continue to be an inspiration to us men as well as your slacker sisters, Ma

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            and so are you

          • *gasp*
            Are you one of the Inspector’s groupies, Mrs Proudie?

        • Deserving in more ways than one, my good woman.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Another ‘good woman?’ My….you are fickle with your affections…

          • Happy Jack is very catholic in his appreciation of the fairer sex, Mrs Proudie.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            sniff….

          • My good woman, what do you want from Happy Jack?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I want for nothing dear Jack…

          • “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”

          • Martin

            HJ

            You mean you didn’t have a leaflet telling what was in each?

          • CliveM

            Trollop!

        • Martin

          BM

          It does seem a shame that so many mothers feel the need to go out to work. But SaH mothers do not meet with our political parties’ approval. Now there is a subject for His Grace!

        • dannybhoy

          No, it makes you a dangerously responsible and resourceful citizen. Some politicians will sneer at people like you.
          But our Lord would commend you. That’s the difference between the State and the Kingdom…

      • If everyone lived the way they should Inspector, including the less wealthy, the economy would go into freefall.

        • Inspector General

          Tis true. We live the impossible consumers life and have done since Maggie and the Communist trade union officials closed the factories between them…

      • CliveM

        Share a shower not a bath! Nearly as much fun, but cheaper to run!!

        • Inspector General

          You have your bath. Then dry your modesty and conceal it with a towell, then the next one gets in…

          • CliveM

            Still cheaper with a shower!

          • Inspector General

            Of course, with a bath, the baby goes in last. Be careful not to throw it out…

          • Ugh! Inspector that’s disgusting and so unhygienic. You’re surely not advocating we go back to that are you? Well seeing you live on your own.

          • Inspector General

            You’re right Marie. It would put baby’s teeth on edge too. If it had any…

          • Shared tin baths in front of a warm coal fire, eh? Those were the days. Ridiculously decedent and wasteful nowadays. Good wash with a flannel and a smidgen of soap more than sufficient.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You had soap?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Smearing goose grease across your chest is always effective, though after a week or two it seriously diminishes your Christmas Card List.

        • Inspector General

          Ah yes, Mrs P. One’s maternal used to plaster us in chicken fat on particularly cold days…

        • dannybhoy

          Two positives!

          • CliveM

            Bah, humbug!

          • dannybhoy

            I thought you’d decamped to that other blog?? 😉

          • CliveM

            Not at all I have been busy here as well!

      • I say chaps, anymore tips out there, from yesteryear. Like sharing bath water, wearing jumpers or two
        Isn’t there a danger of the jumpers shrinking?
        .

      • dannybhoy

        The Russians (very poor people, well used to poverty..) used to put cloves of garlic in their footwear to ward off colds (and presumably) toe-rot..

    • CliveM

      Thing is inspector without a car a lot of jobs would be impossible to get to. I use to commute 3 hrs a day.

      • Inspector General

        My dear fellow, move closer to work. That’s how the Inspector ended up in Gloucester. You don’t think he WANTED to move here, do you. Having said that, we haven’t had a riot for 3 years now, so there is some hope. Thanks blacks…

        • CliveM

          I have now only commute 50 minutes. Less on a good day.

        • CliveM

          I work with someone from Gloucester, he thinks it’s a great place!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Goodness! Inspired by your words, dear Inspector, I have instituted a ‘How to be poor and live on three groats a day’ self-help programme in the Chapel of the Foolish Virgins in Barchester Cathedral, meeting every Friday before evensong. We take as our text book Mr Smiles’s magnificent tome, and I teach the poor and needy how to knit balaclavas from carrot peelings and the best way of feeding a family of nine by selling off some of the children. Oh the fun we have!

      • Inspector General

        Indeed dear heart. And we saved money doing that. One recalls saving his pocket money for weeks and placing a half crown in the Biafra box, and feeling ever so pleased about it. We must remember there are always people worse off than us wretches. Blackamoors, mainly…

        • You were able to save 2s 6d from pocket money !!!! And then donate it to (what we called) ‘Black Babies’.

          Fraud !!!

          Such a sum kept our family in gruel for a week.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You had gruel?

      • Phil R

        The point surely is whether the Churches offering practical advice as the Inspector suggests, is a good idea or not

        I would say that this is a fantastic idea for most Christian families. (Perhaps a better use of the 2 million quid set aside to train Bishops or whatever)

        Taking the piss of the poor as you did above?

        Not helpful

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Goodness! If taking the piss of the poor is not helpful then rest assured, dear Phil R, I shall leave it where I found it. As for being helpful, why, my Christmas Day will be spent cooking turkey and all the trimmings in a care home for those residents who have no family…most of whom have dementia. I do this every year. I am not bragging or boasting in any way, just telling it as it is. I do hope that whoever stole your sense of humour gives it back.

          • Phil R

            You were making light of parents selling their children to allow their other children to eat.

            It happens in the world today, it happened in this country it is not a suitable subject for a joke.

            Do you take the piss of the residents with dementia?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            “Do you take the piss of the residents with dementia”
            No dear heart, only those who wear the long johns of puritan outrage and those suffering from the constipation of political correctness. But you do seem to have a urine-fixation….I shall send you one of my Tracts…yours is clearly giving you trouble.

    • Phil R

      Agreed

      How many on benefits grow vegetables in their gardens if they have one?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gillan,

    I think I am beginning to see how you fit in with this Blog. Your persistent engagement with social issues is a challenge to the the traditional Christian Conservative position.

    It is written above; Not only does God call us to demonstrate his mercy to the poor, but we also get the honour of explaining the extraordinary good news of Jesus Christ.

    Is it just a demonstration or is it a genuine concern for those who need help. I would say that these deeds of mercy should be done without any expectation of explaining the Gospel. They should be done for their own sake. If so be God in his mercy draws an individual, then praise God.

    What I find difficult is the concept that if You are a Christian you must get involved in these activities. The scripture doesn’t speak of organised food banks but they do tell us of individual actions and responses administered by the ‘Deacons’.

    If there was any level of cooperation with the Government there is a strong likely hood that ‘Big Brother’ would take over, just as they did with education.

    The notion that it is imperative that we should be busy doing something for God is a questionable one. God primarily wants us to love him and fellowship with him. Monks exclude themselves from society so they can worship him more intently. However the Sisters of Mercy are compelled by God’s spirit and their tradition to work, both individually and corporately, to bring about a more just and compassionate world. A fine example of a dedicated life.

    Young Gillan, I respect and admire your youthful zeal to see injustices stamped out but remember, When the precious ointment was to be spread on our Lords feet and those there said what a waste, it could be sold and given to the poor. The Lord Jesus said ‘The poor you shall have with you always’.

    • I think I am beginning to see how you fit in with this Blog. Your persistent engagement with social issues is a challenge to the the traditional Christian Conservative position.
      As Mrs Proudie would say, “I think you’ll find you’re wrong.” Care for the poor is absolutely fundamental to the ‘traditional conservative Christian position’ (cf. Prov. 14:20-21; Jer. 5:28-29; Gal. 2:10; 1 Tim. 6:17ff;). May I suggest a reading of the life of Lord Shaftesbury? There is an excellent biography out now, written by……er……someone or other. Shaftesbury did more good for the poor than all the Bloomsbury Group put together. And he was a high Tory.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Dear Martin, my usual phrase is, ‘I think you’ll find I’m right,’ which of course I usual am.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          But very occasionally I do use ‘I think you’ll find you’re wrong,’ and very powerful it is too.

        • DanJ0

          A kindred spirit! 🙂

          • “I think you’ll find you’re wrong.”

      • Shadrach Fire

        Depends which Conservative tradition one considers. There is an abundant group on this blog, and it is those I was referring to, that think the poor of this country are poor by their own fault. I may or may not agree with that but the poor should always be helped. Sometimes that help might be educating them how to not be poor.

        • …. and some times just letting them go hungry, no doubt.

        • DanJ0

          I did an ^ but it’d be hard not to be patronising regarding the last sentence.

    • Inspector General

      The poor will always be with us, but in the UK it is difficult to identify the poor by sight. This is because they are not really poor at all, merely wasteful…

      • dannybhoy

        The lines between the genuinely poor and desperate and the government backed “relative poor” have been so blurred that it is genuinely difficult to know.

        • DanJ0

          I’m not necessarily suggesting charity needs to be given to the relative poor but I think it’s important to recognise that relative poverty can mean social exclusion, which can be very destructive for everyone. At the very least, those in relative poverty need opportunities to get themselves out of it, and the government can encourage that environment.

          • dannybhoy

            Well, that’s pretty much what I’m saying! The Government of the day has the power to create an environment in which businesses and manufacturing can flourish. Instead they concentrate on red tape -mostly from the EU now, taxes and the rights of workers and all the other stuff that discourages job creation.
            Not to mention cheaper foreign labour that undercut domestic rates of pay. Working people who can no longer afford mortgages..
            Then,not content with this level of bureaucratic interference, they use taxpayers’ money to redefine poverty so that it becomes an open ended definition!

            Not only that, in the face of British citizens struggling to make ends meet, and resorting food banks they increase our levels of overseas aid – despite the fact that some of those countries (China and India for example) don’t really need the money..
            As responsible citizens you cut your cloth according to your pocket.
            But when you’re a government you can be irresponsible, you can allow uncontrolled immigration, you can expand the welfare state until you saddle your country with monstrous debt, you can create useless and unaccountable quangoes and bureaucracies to your heart’s content.
            Because you’re not paying for it…

      • Athanasius

        I understand you have an image to maintain, Inspector, but give yourself a day off now and then, there’s a good chap.

        • Inspector General

          There’s a poem, popular with British front line troops which includes the sentiment ‘Do not go to my grave to find me, I will not be there’.

          Do not go to where the poor go, you will not find them….

    • Don’t think you quite do justice to Our Lords meaning there Shadrach. Always best to give the sentence in full.

      “You have the poor among you always; I am not always among you.”
      (John 12:8)

      “You have the poor among you always, so that you can do good to them when you will; I am not always among you.”
      (Mark 14:7)

      Mark is clearer. Notice the clause: “so that you can do good to them when you will”? Jesus is saying that the world will always have the poor and we will always be able to help them (or not) but soon He will be leaving.

      • Shadrach Fire

        The text in my comment is to emphasize that when he is with us, which is always, we should minister to him.

        • But that’s not what Jesus actually said …. and he had plenty to say about helping the poor.

          • Urgleboo

            Indeed, we love God by loving our neighbour. Frankly, (formal) worship and service does come second – will always come second – to helping those in need, if the choice had, hypothetically, to be made between the two. We do honour to God by accepting freely his grace enabling us to do good works (though our reformed friends would disagree on that point …). Remember Jesus’ comment on those who kept to the letter but not the spirit of the law. “Hypocrites”, I recall 🙂

    • Doctor Crackles

      I suspect Gillan has been infused with the ‘Purpose Driven Life’ by Rick Warren. I would go as far to say that this teaching is heretical because it squarely makes us the focus and not Christ. So our works become elevated and His work in us is relegated.

      It is a dangerous message, but a very useful one for those who want to get stuff done.

      • len

        I was asked to read the’ purpose driven drivel’ by a Church I was attended .Just couldn`t do it and ended up throwing the book into the rubbish bin!….

        • Len, you could at least have returned the book or donated it to a charity shop or jumble sale.

    • Royinsouthwest

      The scripture doesn’t speak of organised food banks but they do tell us of individual actions and responses administered by the ‘Deacons’.

      Scripture did not explicitly tell missionaries to set up hospitals in Africa. There are lots of things that scripture does not explicitly tell us to do, but that does not mean that it isn’t God’s will that we do them.

  • Inspector General

    One is tiring of this mawkish nonsense. Everyone in the UK, who should be here, has an income, whether it be through work, pension, or state charity. You look for the poor, but you can’t find them. Instead you find people, encouraged by TV advertising, to live ‘normal lives’ by spending. If they find they’ve run out of money to feed themselves, then perhaps their empty stomachs will make them think again.

    It really is an insult to the genuine poor of the world to give these wastrels such concern…

    • Phil R

      When I worked in Africa my cook brought me to the kitchen door. On the door step was a guy, dressed in rags. He sat in the mud as a sign of respect and look at the floor as a sign of respect. The cook told me he had sat in the rain for two hours to speak with me.

      The cook told me that he knew the guy and that he was there because his maize crop had failed and his family had been pretty much starving for the last three months.

      I called the chief gardener and we gave him some work for one month in the gardens and paid him the lowest wage which was just £8 for the month’s work.

      That night he took some maze home for his family. The point is that he was willing to do anything. No mention (Mrs P take note) of selling his children or making his wife work in the many brothels next to the main road. He sacrificed himself.

      I later learned that he had in fact managed to both feed his family and save some of his £8 and later had a small market stall.

      • dannybhoy

        But Mrs Proudie’s comment was tongue in cheek Phil..

  • Doctor Crackles

    Gillan are you sure you haven’t adopted a ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ faith? You know the really useful kind? You seem to want a jolly good pat on the head for good works or at least urge others down this road. What better works can there be than helping the poor? Yet, if our almsgiving is done without faith then surely it is idolatry and tends to hideous self-righteousness?

    There are many who do good works, but do they know Christ? Charity can be a useful front for wickedness can it not?

    • DanJ0

      “Yet, if our almsgiving is done without faith then surely it is idolatry and tends to hideous self-righteousness?”

      One could just as easily be acting on compassion, a human attribute, whether or not one is doing it for faith reasons.

      • Doctor Crackles

        Dan, yes one could be acting out of compassion, but Gillan wants this work to seen as expressly Christian, and I dare say for Christians. Yet, Christians are not defined by their own acts, but the act of receiving us into faith by our saviour Jesus Christ.

      • dannybhoy

        Compassion is a good thing is it not?
        Not everything that man is and does is evil. It is our desire to be seperate from and independent of our Maker which causes the problems. For example Christian scientists and philosophers had no problem studying the world around them and asking questions because they believed that God made man rational and inquisitive. All He asks is that we check things out with Him first.. 🙂

  • Happy Jack notes some of the troops are revolting.

    • len

      As has been noted compassion for the poor is not exclusively Christian(shock horror)
      But it is the not just the need for feeding the hungry which is the concern of the Christian (although that IS important ) but the need for saving the souls of the lost the hurting and those who have been abandoned and abused by this World system

      Jesus said; “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim
      good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the
      prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed
      free,(Luke 4;18)

      • Watchman

        Jesus was, of course, quoting Isaiah 61 so the Greek only approximates to the original Hebrew. (In the KJV “poor” is translated as “meek” in Isaiah). The Hebrew meaning is “depressed”, “humble” “lowly”, “meek” apart from “poor”. Jesus message appears to be indicating that he is more interested in people’s spiritual wellbeing than their temporal wellbeing.

        • dannybhoy

          Which is of course logical, but showing charity to others is an expression of His love too.

          • Watchman

            True, but when that charity becomes a substitute for the message of salvation it is merely the devil’s deception.

          • dannybhoy

            Also agreed. It seems to me that a Christian’s business is Kingdom business, but unless called by our Lord to be a specific ministry we are to be salt and light in the world…

            1 Thessalonians 4:

            7″ For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

            9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”

          • Watchman

            Much food for thought there, Danny. The difficulty I have with it, however, is that it is possible to creep round doing good without ever mentioning the hope that lies within. The enemy loves this, because he has successfully silenced us.

          • dannybhoy

            Again we agree, but General Booth was a great example of a soldier of Christ who did good social things in the Name of our Lord. That’s what we Christians need to do more and more. Shake off our fear and ask the Holy Spirit to embolden us. The need for the Gospel is greater than ever.

          • Watchman

            Couldn’t agree more, Danny. I meet with a group of people ( we call ourselves church) where we simply pray that we will have a move of the Holy Spirit that will embolden us to carry out the works of Jesus. The early church spread as a result of the boldness empowered by the Holy Spirit and saw miracles, healings and prophecies; and many of them laid down their lives as a result. We need that sort of empowerment today even though the persecution may increase. We know that this is how the Kingdom is grown.

          • dannybhoy

            Well this is also our prayer for where we are. Unfortunately there are very few who wish to join together in this way, but we reach out to any who love Jesus regardless of denomination, and we reach out to the single mums and the old and lonely..
            We so need a move of the Holy Spirit.

          • Watchman

            Gideon’s army was kept deliberately small in order to demonstrate God’s power. Yeshua started with fewer still. Hang on in there, we are all convinced we are in the last days and we have had prophecies that indicate that possibly next year will bring some movement of the Holy Spirit towards releasing His Power.

          • sarky

            I see ‘chicken little’ is here, running around telling everyone “the sky is falling in”. Sorry but I thought “no man knoweth the day or the hour”. Why is it that christianity has to gain numbrrs through fear??

          • Watchman

            Sarky, you really are very childish and you shouldn’t be reading things intended for grown-ups. As I’ve said to you before it’s difficult conversing with someone who doesn’t know what they are talking about and I’m sure you are aware that, even though this is public forum I was having a conversation with Danny, who.i know is cognisant with the subject. I don’t think I scared him.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            For the record, your point about “no man knowing” is legitimate. You deserved a better answer than you received.

          • CliveM

            What Carl said.

          • carl jacobs

            Watchman

            we have had prophecies…

            What prophesies? Extra-biblical prophesies? Because there are no biblical prophesies that say anything about next year. And there are no extra-biblical prophesies so why would you listen to them? And don’t start telling me about weeks in Daniel.

            … that indicate that possibly next year…

            Yeah, no they didn’t. There are no such prophesies. There will never be such prophesies. You snapped at sarky for pointing out the obvious.

            … will bring some movement of the Holy Spirit towards releasing His Power.

            Meaning what exactly? Are you making some kind of prediction about the imminence of the Last Day? You have no idea when that will be.

          • Watchman

            Everything you say is absolutely true and you are pointing out the difficulties of relating on a public forum what is believed among a group of us who are prayerfully seeking God’s will for our future activity. I am aware that I have placed myself in the dangerous position of being identified with numerous strange individuals who put dates on Yeshua’s return but we have to look at the signs that we have been told will appear. These signs are too numerous to list but apostasy in the church, the current state of affairs wrt Israel, the occurrence of a tetrarch (when significant events always occur for Israel) and the uncannily acurrate prophecies of Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel lead us to believe that there will, as prophecies, be an upsurge in the demonstration of His Power. Biblical prophecy is given for a purpose and we are foolish if we do not heed what it is telling us, but without falling into the trap of trying to guess the timing, extent and nature of the fulfilment.

          • carl jacobs

            Watchman

            Given this statement by you…

            Everything you say is absolutely true

            … I am at a loss to understand why you went on to write the things you did.

            I am aware that I have placed myself in the dangerous position of being identified with numerous strange individuals who put dates on Yeshua’s return…

            The danger is in contradicting Scripture. Don’t worry about who you are associated with. Worry about the unbiblical ideas that you share with them. No one know the day or the hour. Don’t listen to those who say they do. There is no good that can come of this speculation.

            … but we have to look at the signs that we have been told will appear.

            And how are these signs different from the signs we have been presented a thousand times before? Are you more discerning than (say) Harold Camping? Understand that this is exactly what you are saying.

            Rabbi Judah Ben Samuel…

            … is by definition not a prophet. I don’t know who he is but I know he isn’t a prophet. Why? Because there are no more prophets. Whatever he has told you should be rejected out of hand.

            People love the idea of unlocking prophesy because people live to feel in the know. It’s a special privileged place to be. That can easily become an obsession. Don’t chase after knowing the secret things of God. There is a reason you aren’t supposed to know.

          • Watchman

            BTW, I love the royal “we”. Oh, that I could be so bold.

          • CliveM

            Logical, but not in context with the rest of the verse. It’s about twisting meaning to support a prejudice.

          • dannybhoy

            Clive I suffer from COPD after long term asthma which has dictated where I live and what I can do.
            It will probably carry me off in a few years, perhaps less,
            But we all die, and I am grateful for every day, every remission every opportunity to interact in this world, The love of my wife and my bank manager..
            But it’s where I will spend eternity that really matters.

          • CliveM

            DB

            Well I for one hope you have many years left in you. I enjoy reading your posts.

            You do know my point wasn’t directed at you?

            Anyway I am confident that you will spend eternity with our saviour, but hopefully you will be able to enjoy the love of your wife and the confidence of your bank manager (!!!! :0) ) for many years yet.

          • dannybhoy

            Clive,
            (gasp)
            I know that (corff corff) Buddy.
            (Noisy wheezing)
            “Clive, where are you Clive?
            Everything’s going hazy, Is that you Clive? (piteously)

            Drat! It’s that darned bank manager! Look Mister..(Heart rending gurgle)

            I told you.
            My dear Buddy Clive is going to pay off all my debts for me.
            Ain’tcha, Clive?

          • CliveM

            What you want money from me! Outrageous. You do remember I’m Scottish? Anyway why should I pay off your feckless lifestyle choices? Drunken debauchery no doubt.

            Are their no prisons? No workhouses? What are my taxes going on?

            Dear me if I had known you were after cash……………… Ooh is that the time, must be going.

          • dannybhoy

            LoL!

            Cro-oaak…..

          • CliveM

            Hmm is it now safe?

          • dannybhoy

            🙂

          • len

            Sorry to hear about your health problem Danny but please don`t think of going anywhere we need you here…….

          • dannybhoy

            That is very kind of you Len, thankyou.
            Last night I managed to hold our last homegroup of the year.
            All ladies apart from me…
            We have a vicar’s wife, two Anglican laity ladies, a Methodist and two non Conformists posing as Anglicans!
            We had a little party with mulled wine and mince pies and chatted about what our wonderful Lord Jesus has been doing in and through us.
            Some times I get discouraged when nothing seems to be happening, but the Lord’s presence was amongst us and caused the heart to sing…
            We prayed for unity, we prayed that we would submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s promptings and learn to deny the “old mans” weaknesses and fears.. We prayed for revival in ourselves and in our village..
            Lord, be glorified!

    • len

      sorry Jack that post was not meant to be addressed as a reply to you

    • dannybhoy

      You’ve only just noticed Jack?

    • Martin

      HJ

      Curiously, every answer I’ve made today seems to have ^this comment^ below it. Is someone trying to tell me something?

    • CliveM

      But others are quite nice.