Ethics & Morality

The myth of the undeserving poor


Unlike most Christian initiatives, this week’s Feeding Britain report on poverty and foodbank use has whipped up a media storm filling up plenty of column inches and broadcast minutes. And it still has a long way to run…

It may have been a parliamentary report, but it has undoubtedly been a Christian initiative. It was funded by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Charitable Trust and was also launched by Justin Welby.  Of those sitting on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hunger and Food Poverty who were members of the inquiry, four out of the six are Christians (Frank Field, the Rev’d Tim Thornton, Bishop of Truro, John Glen and Sarah Newton) including both co-chairs.

Without the commitment of thousands of Christians involved in running the vast majority of foodbanks through their churches, the situation for those who made over 900,000 visits in the last year would be far more desperate. Only the naive or the deluded would fail to admit that serious poverty is an immediate issue for a significant number of people in our society. Yet despite there being a range of issues covered in the report, it was Baroness Jenkin’s comments about the poor not being able to cook – which she hastily retracted – that grabbed many of the headlines. There may be plenty of sympathy for individuals and families facing constant financial pressures, but there is still an underlying assumption that many poor people wouldn’t be so poor if they got their act together, used their money more wisely and stopped expecting the state and others to sort out the consequences of their bad decisions. This is the narrative of the ‘undeserving poor’.

There was another launch down the road at Westminster Central Hall in November involving Christians addressing poverty in our country. It didn’t gain anywhere near as much attention, but in its own way was as equally important. This event, which was presented by Lord David Alton, was for a book entitled The Myth of the Undeserving Poor, by Martin Charlesworth and Natalie Williams, both of whom work for Jubilee+ – an initiative of the Newfrontiers churches in the UK. Their aim is to equip churches to engage more effectively with our communities and increase their capacity to serve the poor. They have carried out valuable research over the past couple of years which found that 35 per cent of community welfare projects are run by Christians, and that this voluntary work benefits our country to a value in excess of £2.5 billion per year.

This time round they have focused their attention on our attitudes to those who have less than us. There are very few books that have set out a theological approach to how we should engage with the poor in this country, especially in the current political climate. The Myth of the Undeserving Poor seeks to do just that, helping Christians to understand what the Bible has to say and what a practical response should look like.

This is an issue that will not be going away anytime soon and, unless something dramatic happens, it will be Christians who will continue to plug the holes of our leaky welfare system. Being able to see poverty from a faith perspective as well as a one of material need will become essential if Christians are to be able to make sense of where and how they should (or should not) engage by providing their time and resources to help others in their local communities.

The book provides a very good overview of how our welfare system ended up where it is now. The Poor Law of 1601 saw the beginnings of the welfare state, but it also provided a strong example of the State and Church working together. Churches were given responsibility using their local knowledge to help administer welfare effectively to the people who really needed it.

Four hundred years on that link has been well and truly broken, but churches still continue to offer that understanding of local community which can be used to run projects at a far more human level than the centralised state will never be able to do. It is still the case that the Church can do some things better than the state, but the realisation of this appears to have dawned on many only very recently.

Another aspect of the Poor Law that remains unchanged is the concept of the poor being either deserving or undeserving. Those who were considered to be work-shy could expect to be treated harshly. However, as the benefits system has grown into the tangled web it now is, perverse arrangements have developed where working can be more disadvantageous than not. When the lives of individuals – who are apparently doing very well for themselves thanks to the generosity of the taxpayer – get splashed across the front pages of the tabloids, ‘undeserving’ rears its head once again and understandably stirs up strong emotions linked to our appreciation of what is fair and just.

Looking at the circumstances of some of these individuals supposedly sponging off the state in a logical and hard-nosed fashion, the concept of the undeserving poor can easily be seen to be factually accurate. So why does this book describe it as a myth?

The authors go to quite some length to make a point that might seem obvious when we think about it. The Bible is brimming with examples of how we shouldn’t judge and discriminate against others. When Jesus fed the 5000, did He consider withholding this miracle from any one of them because of their character? When he went to the house of Zacchaeus,  Jesus had plenty of reasons to reject him, but He did the complete opposite. The Good Samaritan had no cause to help the battered man lying in the road. There’s nothing to say that the Samaritan chastised him for walking along a notoriously dangerous road alone. He simply saw a man in need and did what he could to help him.

This grasp of bestowing grace upon others irrespective of how deserving they are should come naturally for every Christian because we know that God’s grace is utterly undeserved: He does not discriminate when it comes to salvation. But how easily we forget.

Included in the book is some new research that finds that Christians’ views on poverty vary and are often dependent on the newspapers they read. Those who read papers such as the Daily Mail tend to be much less sympathetic towards those considered poor. This presents a sobering challenge to Christians: from where do we derive our values? How much do we allow the media to inform our opinions and reinforce prejudices that are in direct conflict with biblical teaching? Talking about this, the authors say:

Observing what happens in our hearts when we come into contact with poverty is vitally important if we are to reflect the heart of the Father to those in need and to be more like Jesus in both our attitudes and actions. We won’t respond to poverty with the compassion and mercy Jesus showed the poor if our hearts are hard. We see in the Bible that God’s displeasure with humankind and his own people is so often inextricably connected to their own treatment of the poor, vulnerable and marginalised in society. But the Gospel demands more of us: the children of God are called not to fit in with the dominant attitudes of the culture around them, but to stand out – to “shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life” (Philippians 2:15). The norm in our society is to respond to people according to their behaviour; the norm for the Christian is to have fixed values that do not move according to someone else’s behaviour but are rooted in how only one person behaved: Jesus Christ.

Of course, there is a difference between having compassion for others and understanding what will actually benefit them. Poverty is not simply being materially deprived and throwing money at people will not fix many of the underlying issues that result in the visible needs. The Bible has much to say on aspirational, relational and spiritual poverty too, none of which should be ignored. The combinations and circumstances are often complex and are manifestly different for each individual. This is why foodbanks are just one of many ways that churches can and should be looking to offer help, and it is also why the state welfare system can never provide all of the answers.

This may be a Christian book written for Christians, but the themes it explores and solutions it offers are relevant to everyone, whatever their belief. They are universal truths that cut to the heart of what sort of a society we should aspire to be. How we relate to the most disadvantaged opens a window into our hearts revealing what we truly care about.

There is a reason why Christians are leading the way in addressing deep-seated poverty in this nation. When your heart has been moulded by mercy and compassion, it longs to share those gifts with others. The authors are not afraid to lay this out plainly, setting a challenge that requires a response from each one of us:

Christians are to be shaped primarily and predominantly by what God thinks about the poor, and what God thinks is abundantly clear through the Scriptures. We must allow the narrative of the Bible to have the loudest volume and the largest space in our hearts and minds, even when it means dramatic shifts of attitude need to take place.

The actions of Christians in alleviating poverty in Britain today send a strong message to Government, the media, local decision-makers, the general public and the poor themselves, but it is vitally important that our attitudes at the very least match up – and at best propel us into greater good works. “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34) so let our hearts be shaped not by cultural values nor by media narratives nor by political ideologies nor even by our own experiences. Instead, may the attitudes of our hearts increasingly be moulded by the biblical values of people, truth, kindness, mercy, justice and generosity, which are vitally important. When these values are embedded in our hearts, it becomes impossible for us to believe the myth of the undeserving poor.

  • David

    Any discussion about “the poor”, must in order to have any rigour, define what the term “poor” really means. So are we talking about a constantly shifting financial bottom end % of the population, increasing and decreasing with the changing fortunes of the country as a whole, or are we defining it as a fixed level below which a person or family’s circumstances become poor ?

    If we define poverty by the first option then of course, even for a static population, which certainly isn’t the case now, then the numbers falling into the bottom end % will rise and fall. But if we define poverty by means of the second, the fixed level below which poverty is said to occur, then again assuming future economic growth, coupled with redistribution, via taxation, the numbers of the poor should shrink. So all these matters are essentially statistical. But what about the intangibles, since His Grace would surely say, man cannot live by bread alone ?

    So on top of those questions of how many are poor, can we also define, exactly why we mean by poverty. So are children in a loving family, but with a very low income, and poor housing, better off, less poor, than the same number of children in an unhappy, dysfunctional family but with a bit more money and good housing ?
    This is not an attempt to make discussion a cold hearted number crunching exercise, but a plea for clarity around the basics, without which any subsequent thinking can only be very wooly, and inevitably miss all its targets.

    • scottspeig

      Indeed! As Tearfund demonstrates, while they go to the most financially deprived areas, their (at least their CEO’s) view is that proverty is really about relationships which is why they use partners, and try to fix relationships to God, Each other and the community. This creates a sustainable development. We could and should learn from this and apply it to our own community here!

      • David

        Yes, and to understand something of relationship, Christians look to The Holy Trinity. Any “scheme” in the UK, or abroad, to alleviate poverty that ignores the basic nature of human beings, and our need for good, healthy relationships, can only be a short term palliative, requiring unending repetition.

  • dannybhoy

    “Christians are to be shaped primarily and predominantly by what God
    thinks about the poor, and what God thinks is abundantly clear through
    the Scriptures. We must allow the narrative of the Bible to have the
    loudest volume and the largest space in our hearts and minds, even when
    it means dramatic shifts of attitude need to take place.”

    “When these values are embedded in our hearts, it becomes impossible for us to believe the myth of the undeserving poor.”

    A lot of the contention is caused in my view, by the growth of the State and its blurring of the lines between real poverty and relative poverty. Governments pay for research into poverty, the defining of poverty, the effects of poverty. The people who do this (paid/funded) research came up with the open ended defintion of “relative poverty” which definition ensures that there will be differing degrees of poverty!

    The job of the government is to create the conditions in which business and enterprise can thrive thus providing employment. When the State begins to take over all aspects of life it blurs previously understood areas of accountability and responsibility. Thus the role and responsibility of parents has been undermined, the role of the Church has been undermined, the roles of charities has been tacked onto the Welfare State, the Police are no longer the upholders of the law, they serve the people, and in some cases they even act as social workers; the law is modified so that life no longer means life etc. etc.
    So I define someone as being poor as not having enough to eat, or sleeping rough or in some sort of distress.
    A family where both parents or partners are unemployed and they can’t get employment that will return them the same money as unemployment will, who can afford a large flat screen tv, plus alcohol and fags for the adults and smartphones or play stations for the kids, I don’t regard as poor.
    Not even in relative poverty. They are prisoners of the State.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Feeding someone is not the same as sharing God’s grace with them.

    Within a church/state divide it is the state’s responsibility to equip people for living in this world, and the churches responsibility to equip people for eternity. While the church may seek to alleviate need for those the state fails, it must not be turned into an arm of state provision.

    • dannybhoy

      That’s a very good point, yet in fact a weakened church or a church that has lost sight of its mission may be quite happy to take on such a role of doing “good works.”

      • Dominic Stockford

        Let’s see. How that can be reflected. You are right that a weakened ‘church’ has indeed moved into such action. However, such a move is not just a case of losing its way, which is sad, but going a different way than God lays out, which is sinful.

        However, the unbelieving world would rant and rave at me for daring to say so.

        • dannybhoy

          Well, I don’t disagree, you just put it more forcefully than I did.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Yes sir. 🙂

  • John Moore

    Am I the only one who finds writers who refer to themselves as ‘Christians’ somewhat sanctimonious? I think it is an Evangelical habit which I interpret as being more Christian than me — a mere churchgoer. I feel that they already regard the church as a sect rather than the Established Church. The terms ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ were used uncriticaly by the 19th century reformers and if one goes into what we used to call the public bar of your local pub and get to know the regulars it will soon be apparent that the situation is very much alive today. I know well one family who are regulars who have never worked but have produced lots of children providing lots of benefits. They are all very pleasant and well behaved; but is it fair on the others who pay the taxes which provide those benefits? And, my parish church is providing a list of requirements for the local food bank which seems to be made up of more expensive items than I would buy.

    • Dominic Stockford

      A Christian is easily defined – the Bible gives us minimum beliefs. That Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, rose again according to the Scriptures, and was seen…

      If someone sincerely believes this they are Christian, if they don’t then they’re not. And it is as wrong to allow people who don’t believe this to think that they are Christian as it is to demand any more.

      • “That Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures, rose again according to the Scriptures, and was seen…”

        Lucifer and the demons believe that too. A Christian is a person who lives as Christ commanded.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Dear Jack, no, they don’t. They ‘know it to be true’, which is different to believing it. Believing involves putting your trust in it.

          The thief on the cross who was saved never had the chance to live as Christ commanded, all he could do was believe in Christ.

          There is then a lot of theology that necessarily flows out of such belief, but faith is all that is required for salvation – about that the Bible is clear.

          • Did the Good Thief believe in Christ? Or did he, moved by the Holy Spirit, show compassion for an innocent, suffering man being mocked? And was it this movement opened his eyes?

          • Jack,
            It’s all there in the Scriptures if you look.
            First of all, there’s no such person as the ‘good’ thief, only the ‘forgiven’ one.
            Secondly, his salvation started with his conviction of sin (Luke 23:41a) and his perception of our Lord as the sinless Lamb of God (v.41b). It was completed by his placing his trust in Christ for salvation (v.42).
            What brought about the remarkable change in this man? The work of the Holy Spirit in the New Birth (John 6:44).

        • alternative_perspective

          “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

          “Believe in your heart and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord”

          Both And, rather than Either Or perhaps.

          • And the heart of Jesus’ commandments:

            “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart and thy whole soul and thy whole mind …

            Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

  • As a group we couldn’t agree more your Grace, Romans 12 is a pretty good starting point on this subject. If as Christians we start judging who we feel are deserving or undeserving in this case “the poor” then we are defying the very teachings of the one person for whom we have taken vows to “take up our cross and follow him”

    • dannybhoy

      In the days when the New Testament was written they lived under the Roman Empire. No democracy, no welfare state, not an awful lot of compassion. Lots of killings though! (he said brightly..)

      As I said earlier things have been blurred. There is something to be said “for giving anyway” as a Christian, but on the other hand Jesus grew up in a theocracy under the heel of a brutal empire.. the Church spread in such circumstances of horrific persecution. They knew who were poor and who weren’t.

      Our Lord told us “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves,
      Matthew 10:16

      Luke 16:8
      “The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world[a] are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

    • scottspeig

      Not quite true. Even the apostle Paul discriminates:

      1 Timothy 5
      3Honor widows who are really widows. 4 But
      if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to
      show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and[a] acceptable before God… 11 But refuse the younger widows… 14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 15 For some have already turned aside after Satan. 16 If any believing man or[b]
      woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be
      burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

      While this suggests the church provide if no-one else does, Paul clearly thinks that the church should not be doing so while there is another way to do it (through the family)

    • Shadrach Fire

      Judging the Poor? Are we not to discern what is right or wrong.
      There is a parable about a man who built his house upon the sand and another who built his house upon the rock.
      Was the first man rather stupid in what he did? We are all accountable. Should we reward him for that?

    • skeetstar

      The ‘poor’ is not an homogenous group, there are of course undeserving poor,..

      When Jesus fed the 5000, did He consider withholding this miracle from any one of them because of their character?

      No he didn’t, but there are examples of him expecting individuals to change their behaviour and leave behind their previous lifestyle. I do not think that he would hesitate to counsel some of the poor in this country to get off their backsides find some work and start to contribute.

      • dannybhoy

        He fed 5000 hungry people who had been following Him all day. There’s a difference between hungry people and poor people.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Here in Barchester we just have the poor, lain and simple. Each Christmastide, when frost lays thick upon the ground and the sky above the cathedral looks leaden, I whip up a batch of pease pudding in a large copper and, together with my two girls, we load it onto a handcart and wheel it through the streets of the town. Most gratifying are the smiles and ‘Thank you, ma’ms’ from the grubby urchins we encounter. Now, if only Mr. Slope can work out a way to harness the inevitable methane, we could heat the Cathedral free of charge until next Michaelmas…

    • dannybhoy


    • carl jacobs

      Mrs Proudie

      A proper woman does not engage in vulgar humor. She is discreet and reserved and keeps to acceptable topics such as knitting and kittens.

  • “And now, suppose that a man has the worldly goods he needs, and sees his brother go in want; if he steels his heart against his brother, how can we say that the love of God dwells in him?”

    “What he commands is, that we should have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and at his command should love one another. When a man keeps his commandments, it means that he is dwelling in God, and God in him. This is our proof that he is really dwelling in us, through the gift of his Spirit.”

  • preacher

    If Christ’s Spirit lives in us, it is impossible to ignore those who are suffering from hunger, cold & poverty, because He is compassionate on all who are needy & welcomes all who turn to Him. But we must be ensure that we continue to care about their eternal future as well as their present life. Our actions should be more than simply supplying present needs, but should silently point to the one who cares enough to suffer death to provide their eternal salvation & we must be ready, willing & able to share the gospel with all men regardless of their temporal circumstances, needs or creeds.
    The alternative is that the Church becomes a powerless branch of Social Services. Condemning people to a lost eternity, whilst enjoying a works based feel good factor instead of knowing & showing God’s love & compassion for them.

  • carl jacobs

    Interesting that the most direct statement on the subject in Scripture is not addressed in this post. That would be 2 Thes 3:10.

    “If a man won’t work, neither shall he eat. ”

    There is no virtue in laziness, as Proverbs makes abundantly clear. “Consider the ant, O sluggard.” Drawing lessons that willfully ignore this truth from the feeding of the 5000 is probably not the best place to start. Those men followed after Christ because he gave them free food. It reveals something about the nature of man and man’s response to the curse of sin. “This man called Jesus gives us free food in abundance and that means we don’t have to work for it. Let’s follow him!” Jesus could have built a huge following by simply handing out free food, but He didn’t. That wasn’t the point of the miracle. It wasn’t about bread or the alleviation of hunger. It was about the Bread of Heaven come down to men. Jesus didn’t come to be a Bread King. He may have been moved by compassion for the crowd. He did not distribute baskets that would fill up with food each morning so that people could live at ease.

    Which returns us to Paul’s statement. There is no Christian obligation to remove the need of a man to work. You aren’t owed a basket that fills up with food each morning simply because you breathe. You are expected to work. And you don’t get to say “Well, I expect to get a certain level of income to achieve a certain standard if living. Otherwise, it is not worth surrendering my leisure.” Indolence may be a rational response to welfare but it is not a moral response. As Paul makes perfectly clear, there is no Christian responsibility to enable indolence. You can use phrases like ‘deserving poor’ or not as you see fit. It doesn’t change the point.

    I figured out a long time ago that most beggars on the street are afflicted by one of two demons: alcohol or drugs. I used to give money indiscriminately but then I became discerning. I started to ask “What do do you need? I will buy it for you.” What you quickly discover is that they want money. They don’t want goods because they can’t buy alcohol or drugs with goods. But they can’t tell you they want money to feed the habit. So they say “I need food.” A woman once asked me for money in the parking lot of a grocery store. I said “I’ll buy you food from that store.” She refused. I walked away. She got mad. Livid actually. She was desperately poor and desperately undeserving.

    And she went away hungry.

    • Shadrach Fire


    • Bought an alky some chips once. He couldn’t eat them. So sorry for him but couldn’t help. So I support the Salvation Army instead.

    • Nick

      But are you limiting your freedoms and situations to give Carl?

  • peter collard

    There seems to be a distinction that needs to be made by what we mean by poor. When I use the term “poor” I talk in strictly financial terms. However many others use the term more in the sense of “spiritually poor” – ie for whatever reason they do not have the ability to make “good” choices. It is to this second definition that the church needs to address itself, as only it can. Secularists cannot define “good” other than in relativist terms (ie what’s “good” for you may not be “good” for me). It is only the objective “good” that comes from God and the ability for us to have a relationship with him that will transform lives. Our job as a church is to help people along the path to understanding what a relationship with God looks like.

  • len

    To make blanket statements that the poor are poor because’ its their own fault ‘ seems to be quite prevalent today.
    A scapegoat is needed to blame the ills of society on and its the old the poor and the infirm who are dragging society down?.
    I could make the opposite statement that its the ‘undeserving rich’ who are a problem.
    MP`s who award themselves monies from the public purse, MP’ fidding’ their expenses, Lords who turn up grab the cash then go home again(if they can even be bothered to turn up at the House) public funded bankers who get an obscene bonus for failing at their Jobs and sometimes losing all the banks funds, the list goes on and on ,Government Bodies who are grossly incompetent, murderers given British citizenship so they can continue to kill, too many migrants flooding the Country overloading a system not designed to cope with the huge overload,
    but lets not blame the Government for its sheer incompetency and bad management …lets blame the old the infirm and the …poor…yes lets do that…..

    • dannybhoy

      You’re also right. No one’s saying that it’s their own fault that the poor are poor. Poverty happens.
      The banks especially, the big multinationals have lost any sense of morality and so people can be obscenely wealthy or even lives in palaces…
      Noones saying that they aren’t also a part of the problem.

  • carl jacobs

    Something else needs to be said. Working requires the acquisition of certain moral habits. You need to be prompt, reliable, and diligent. There are many people who struggle to find work precisely because they do not possess these moral habits. And so they get fired. Employers are not charity workers.

    So at this point, hunger becomes a corrective. If you refuse to modify your behavior, you find yourself with no money. That means you suffer. To insert welfare at this point means the individual has no reason to correct his behavior. He has no reason to learn to show up at work every day. Or go to bed at a reasonable hour. Or not drink himself into a stupor the night before. He is free to live a self-indulgent life at someone else’s expense.

    There is I think an underlying idea here that men should never suffer. That is not a Scriptural concept. You are not fulfilling a biblical mandate if you begin with the assumption that men by nature deserve a life of ease. They don’t.

    • Shadrach Fire

      That’s more like the Carl I remember. Very good point. We are all to be accountable for our own actions.

    • dannybhoy

      Genesis 3:17

      And to Adam he said,Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you,
      ‘You shall not eat of it’,
      cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”
      The principle is that it is good for man to work and provide for his family, but that presupposes the work is there, and in our UK a man out of work is often better off dependent on the tax funded state because the jobs that would allow him to be a real mensch aren’t available…

    • onerob

      Nice stereotyping. The unemployed lack “certain moral habits”. How much time have you spent talking to them?

      • carl jacobs

        I’m not stereotyping at all. I am defining an easily identified subgroup of the unemployed to refute the notion that need is the only criteria for charity. A subgroup by definition does not define the whole group.

        • onerob

          Fine. It’s just your wording “there are many…” hinted at something a bit more substantial that a subgroup, as if to tar all with the same tabloid bog-brush.

          • carl jacobs

            A fair criticism. I have updated the post to reflect it.

          • *shock, horror*
            Perhaps this is an imposture after all.

      • ‘The unemployed lack “certain moral habits”. How much time have you spent talking to them?’

        Me? 20 years plus. Obviously ‘the unemployed’ are not a homogenous group, but some are contentedley and determinedly unemployable, because they can be.

        Trying to persuade a fit person to seek work when he has carefully perfected his lying stories that able him to claim benefit for life is not a profitable occupation. Especially if he has a few nice earners in the off tax economy. I speak of what I have seen.

        Face and hand tattoos are a nice line in acquired unemployability too-would you employ anybody who had one?

        • onerob

          I had a tattooed neighbour once who looked intimidating, but then you’d see him drive off in the morning with his work uniform on (looked like a security guard or prison officer) and it seemed to almost appropriate.

  • Shadrach Fire

    When I was about a third of the way through this post I thought, this is not His Grace. Of course it was Gillan. The Guardian reading lefty Bless Him. I am a bit disturbed though and questioning my salvation because I read the Mail. No doubt I have been brainwashed by this journal and can’t tell the difference from the Holy Bible.

    I do not believe that you can dismiss the term ‘Undeserving Poor’ neither can one dismiss the need to help anyone in need. Education is what’s needed to train people how to help themselves, right from the child up. That is more of a charitable act than giving some food for today.

  • CliveM

    Their are two errors that can be made on this topic. Firstly that their is no such thing as the undeserving poor and secondly that most of the poor are undeserving.

    It is probably best however to make the first mistake then the second.

    • Better to be “taken in” down here, than not be “taken in” up there, Jack says.

      • CliveM

        It it probably best to err on the side of compassion, then non compassion.

        I suspect the Inspector is bracing himself for his Christmas Eve visitation! At 1.00 the Ghost of Christmases past……….

  • My views on ‘the undeserving poor’ were forged by 3 experiences.

    1) was of my own experience of starting out poor and achieving a modest degree of wealth by ambition, hard work and thrift. And yes no doubt some ‘good luck’ and/or the grace of God as well.

    2ndly by studying the Book of Proverbs which has a lot to say about how the sluggard, glutton, wastrel and drunkard DESERVE poverty. Clearly their deeds, or lack of them, are calculated to achieve it. Then there’s the parable of the talents which includes the Master saying to one servant that he was wicked and lazy because he refused to work with the opportunities he was given. Are we more righteous than God to deny that SOME people achieve poverty by deliberate and wicked choices? Some, not all. Obviously.

    3rd by the experience of 4 years living in an ex council house between 2 benefit claiming households and then 20 years working as a GP on a council estate. I have seen the undeserving poor at close range over an extended period of time and they, and the socialist crook politicians who promise them my money in return for their votes, make me bloody sick.

    Having said that I give of my substance to a number of ‘deserving poor’ charities.

    • dannybhoy

      Amen Stephen.
      I went through employment to voluntary Christian work overseas, back to employment to having a business that came with a free and incompetent bank manager so that we lost everything;
      to two years unemployment, to relocation, to employment again ,and finally enough for a deposit on a house, to serving as a Tory town councillor, to retirement on State pension.
      And I will still say “Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy Name” Psalm 103:1
      The world owes us nothing. Our God owes us nothing. In all humility and faith we look to Him to walk with us through this life..

      • William Lewis

        Amen Danny

    • David

      Totally agree. The Book of Proverbs is most instructive. But many Christians ignore the OT.

      • More’s the pity. I am convinced that, under God, a major reason for the historically unparalleled survival and prospering of the Jewish people during centuries of scattering and persecution is the practical wisdom for everyday living that we find in Book of Proverbs.

        What does Avi think?

        • David

          Totally agree, but as you sensibly say, let’s consult Avi.

    • Shadrach Fire

      Amen and Amen. We must still have compassion on the genuine needy and not let our biased and opinionated views deceive us.

    • Uncle Brian

      “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Not from the OT Book of Proverbs, but still an apt observation.

      • sarky

        Give him religion and he’ll die praying for fish!!!!

        • CliveM

          Your falling back into your old ways there Sarky. I count at least 4 exclamation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • carl jacobs

          Take away a man’s religion and he will be free to kill the man next to him and take the fish as prize – assuming only he has the strength to do so.

          • sarky

            Carl, removing religion doesn’t remove morality.
            Atheists think killing another is as abhorrent as you do.

          • alternative_perspective

            A rather ironic statement since there is no such thing as objective moral values in an atheistic worldview. Put two Christians in a room and if one believes murder is ok and the other doesn’t then there exists a deep incoherence. Put two atheists in the room, with the same beliefs and there is no incoherence.

            The inconvenient truth atheists rarely recognise is that within the atheistic framework; eating blue cheese and killing a human being are basically equivalent. You might find one or the other particularly objectionable but frankly that’s just a pre-programmed bio-emotional response; it has no meaning.

            Of course the vast majority of atheists don’t live like this. They assume a theistic framework, where words like morality, good, bad and evil have significant meaning then, under the cover of night, import them in to their sterilised atheistic land. They have their meta-physical cake and eat it. The irony of course is in making moral decisions that extend beyond the individual; atheists implicitly invoke the transcendent moral agent they have categorically denied exists.

            But that’s ok, because in the 4 dimensional universe we experience, reality operates in a try now buy later fashion. However in the reality to come, the baker will expect recompense. The big question then is; who is going to make payment?

          • sarky

            I think your problem is that you believe morality, good and evil are the preserve of the religious. This is clearly not true. These ideas predate christianity by thousands of years. As I have said before morality has evolved and gives us an evolutionary advantage, it is not god given.
            The misconception is that atheists break everything down to a purely biological function where as you say, eating cheese and killing are no different. Again not true. We live or lives the same as you just without a supernatural entity. Yes, atheists have committed atrocities, but so have christians. In fact I can’t think of any partof the human race that hasn’t. We are all capable of doing great good and also great evil, it’s called being human. It’s just that somewhere along the line this internal conflict was given the names of god and the devil. I dont need labels, I just am.

          • But it was Stalin wasn’t it (or was it Mao? My memory gets worse every day) who said that killing 10,000 men was no different from mowing a lawn. The grass would grow back and the dead folk would be replaced.
            As for morality ‘evolving,’ don’t make me laugh. In the ’50s, France sent some of the best and brightest of her colonials to the Sorbonne to study under Satre. Then Pol Pot and his friends went back to Cambodia and put his principles to work.

          • alternative_perspective

            No my problem is I have debate with people such as yourself who are clearly educated but do not have a rudimentary grounding in logical argumentation (mine is only slightly better that that but it is informed). In your repost you are conflating ontology, epistemology and trying to use the defective genetic fallacy to prove your point. It sounds perfectly reasonable but is riddled with logical incoherence.

            “morality has evolved and gives us an evolutionary advantage, it is not god given”

            So, I’m supposed to believe that because…you say so? Firstly, there’s no evidence to support such a strong statement as 1. “morality has evolved”. It may have done but how can one prove it? Secondly, how would the evolution of morality undermine the belief that 2. God exists and 3. God is the author of morality? Please outline for me the argument that takes you from 1 to 2 and 3 and some good reasons to believe it… I’ve never seen them.

            Moreover, I could argue that in some peoples atheism has an evolutionary advantage as it permits a person to commit moral atrocities without guilt and therefore gives said group an evolutionary advantage. This is a perfectly reasonable hypothesis and just as true and unprovable as yours. Does the existence of a possible evolutionary explanation for the existence of atheistic belief nullify and make void the validity of atheism? Of course not. So neither does the existence of an evolutionary explanation for theistic beliefs. This is called the genetic fallacy.

            The following is cast iron logic. If you can’t accept it then you need to re-consider your atheism. This fundamentally was the argument that took me from an agnostic that lived atheistically to a theist who live agnostically.

            1. If objective moral values exists, God exists.

            2. Objective moral values do exist.

            3. Therefore from 1 and 2, God exists.

            You can escape the conclusion only by denying 2. Axiom 1 is fundamentally closed for debate. Its considered basically true. You could escape it but only by positing the existence of a supernatural realm without God but you’d then fall into the trap of creating morality without obligation to act morally. Therefore most informed atheists try to deny 2.

            The consequence is they can’t deny that the rape, murder and dismemberment of a child as fundamentally different morally to eating blue cheese. They may find the former horrific and objectionable beyond words but that’s the sum of it.

            You need to make a choice. 1) Deny the existence of objective moral values and the right to call rape, wrong and genocide as evil or 2) embrace the objectivity of morality and with it morality’s transcendent authority.

            17 years ago, this was my personal choice also. Personally, I could never affirm the first horn of this dilemma. So I realised, that to remain coherent and rational I had to accept the latter. And that was the start of my journey to Christianity.

          • sarky

            Far greater minds than mine have wrestled with objective moral value and have got nowhere, so im not even going to try. However, breaking belief in god down to an unwinnable moral argument in a way confirms my atheism. When everything else is explained away and this is allyou have left then I am afraid, that for me personally, its not enough.

          • Phil R

            So perhaps you can tell us why Atheists have killed several hundred times more people in the last two hundred years than the total sum of all recorded religions in all of history. (Inc Islam)

          • sarky

            I thought god destroyed all of humanity in the flood??? Cant think of any atheists that have come close to that kind of genocide.

          • Inspector General

            Blimey, sarcasm of a sort, from Sarky !

          • Phil R

            Good reply!

            I usually get an indignant denial.

            The flood was a few years ago.

            Glad you agree the flood happened

          • sarky

            I don’t. Just trying to make a point.

          • carl jacobs


            I have never said atheism removes morality. I have said that atheism makes morality arbitrary. It fixes the source of morality in the mind of limited finite creatures who each possess no more authority than the next. Acts no longer have objective moral content. They are given moral content by the observer. If you change the observer, you change the moral content of the act.

            Consider. In 1945, the Soviet Army dissolved into mass debauchery as it raped and pillaged it’s way across Eastern Europe. That it did so was Soviet policy. It was Stalin’s reward to his soldiers and Stalin’s punishment to the Germans – except it wasn’t restricted to Germany. Officers who tried to stop it were punished. No one was ever prosecuted for this because no crime was actually committed in the eyes of Soviet authority. So you are left with a dilemma.

            You are going to assert that this was a great crime. Upon what basis will you do so? You have no objective authority by which to establish the claim. You could say “I think it’s a great crime.” But the obvious answer is “Well, I don’t think it’s a great crime. Who the hell are you that I should care what you think?” You could say “My answer produces better results.” But that makes morality a function of power. After all, power is the only objective measure you have of success. And you should be very careful of that answer given the reality of Western decline in the World. If you attach moral correctness to success, you slave yourself to the moral perspective of whoever wins. What you will probably try is “My answer produces a more just society.” But that answer assumes some objective definition of justice that you don’t possess. All this says is “I am better because I am better.”

            This is your problem. Without God, man is cut loose from any fixed reference. He can go anywhere and do anything and call it moral. Nothing constrains his judgment. Absolutely nothing at all. Other than the power he possesses to impose his judgments, of course.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Give him faith in Christ and he’ll live for ever…

          • sarky

            Think he’d rather have a fish!

          • Dominic Stockford

            Once he has faith in Christ he would want faith in Christ, until he has faith in Christ he would want the fish (unless it were me, fish makes me ill)

          • sarky

            Faith in christ would have to be quite filling to take the place of said fish.

    • Nick

      Maybe you’ve just forgotten what it is like?

      • Maybe, I am a sinner after all. But I’ve seen through the guardianista ‘we are all guilty’ welfarist BS. Teach a man to scrounge without shame and you create a Labour voter for life. I made substantial donations to the Salvation Army and local food bank this Advent but in January have a massive tax bill to pay which will not I fear be as well spent.

        • Inspector General

          Keep it up that man. Irritate the pussies here…

          • Nick

            Bless you anyway.

  • Inspector General

    Gillan. What can one say after your piffle. Other than you really don’t get it. Forget about this country for a while, and imagine genuine poverty. India for example. Half the people don’t have indoor plumbing. They need a pot to piss in. That is poverty.

    How many people starved to death in the UK yesterday. How many last week. How many last year. Has anyone starved to death here lately. You insult the genuine poor, sir. You make excuses for individuals poor lifestyle choices. That’s all it is. If you make excuses for them, how on earth are they to be encouraged to get off their often fat arses and clean up their act. Can’t you see it, there are plenty out there who feed on your sympathy. It validates the way they live, you see. Then it isn’t their fault.

    No more of your guff if you will. You are so reminiscent of the young chaplain the Inspector once read about who came to his ministry with such enthusiastic gusto, that he made life a pain for his older wiser colleagues. This had to change, that had to change. So much room for improvement everywhere, he found. There was no stopping him. His bishop finally managed to get him to go to Africa. When he came back, he was unrecognisable in manner. One isn’t suggesting Cranmer sends you to Africa, but take careful note of what your older wiser superior writes. Appreciate it, for what he writes is everything. It just is…

    • Nick

      But isn’t it a lot easier to love the poor in other countries because we don’t see their faults?

      • Inspector General

        Yes, we see them as hopeless cases…

        • Nick

          Well said Inspector General. But I’ve studied Modern African Literature and I can happily report that in the eyes of the developing world we are all the true hopeless cases.

          • Inspector General

            That’s Islam for you…

          • Nick

            I think it was authorial animism and ancestor worship sympathies really. You should read ‘Things Fall Apart’. It’s a good book.

          • Inspector General

            Them sacred bones knows all !

  • Inspector General

    Breaking news….

    Benefit wallah helping herself at food bank speaks out. “This is the nearest I’ve come to having to get a cleaning job in years. It just isn’t fair”

    Which is the whole point of working. To support you and yours, without being a sponge on everyone else. When we send the EU chancers back to their homes, we need to re-educate our lazy to do the jobs they’ll be leaving behind. Jobs they used to do before they started playing the marvellous benefits game. To achieve that aim, we need to start now. We’ll scrap the uniform benefit rates that operates across the country, and reduce it in in real terms in areas where jobs are aplenty. In some areas, it might be that the fit and able get nothing. Nothing at all. We’ll call it Mick Philpot’s law, or Gillan Scott’s law if you’d rather…

    Hah, the underpopulated north of England could see a substantial population increase as the idle desperate move themselves and their families up there in a bid to escape the misery of employment !!

  • Inspector General

    Here’s a nice little trick the deserving poor get up to….

    One was at Gloucester railway station in the queue for tickets. In front of the Inspector was a woman dressed in a business suit, next to her was a scruffy individual. They made a startling and memorable pair. When it was their turn, the lady asked for her destination then added “This young man tells me he must get to Birmingham to be with his wife and child. I will pay for his single ticket”. Off they went towards the platform, and when out of earshot, the Inspector said to the ticket man “Of course she’s been duped”. “Oh yes” he said, “we get this. Thirty seconds after the Birmingham train pulls out he’ll be back asking for a refund. I’ve put a small cross on the back of his ticket which will alert my colleague at the other position where he’ll go it was obtained fraudulently. We’ll make the refund alright, to the credit card. He’ll get upset, but what else can he do. He probably won’t try it again.” To say the man was grinning as he said all this doesn’t really portray the absolute glee that was about him.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I have a much better one. back in the day, when a train went non-stop from Penzance to Glasgow, a similar gentleman approached a local clergyman with a tale of woe, involving his sick mother (they all have sick mothers, please note). The clergyman was into trains, loved ’em, knew the timetable. Took him down the station, bought a ticket to enable the man to visit his ‘sick mother in Glasgow’, then stood on the platform watching and waving as the train set off. He knew the timetable, he knew it was the non-stop. He knew the driver, he knew it wouldn’t even slow down until Bristol…

      He laughed himself silly every time he told the story.

  • Inspector General

    “There’s a letter for you”

    “{WAIL} Oh my gawd. It’s from the New Benefits Agency. They’ve only gone and found me a job !!”

    “I didn’t know you could read”

  • Tell you what, I can’t say I’m necessarily at ease about it but our Nige has tapped into something with his plan to reduce overseas aid. I’m not saying I necessarily agree, but a lot of voters have a big problem with us borrowing money to give to foreign countries some of which harbour terrorists who hate us.

    • Phil R

      We have given 10 Billion a year so far. So 50 Billion by the end of this parliament.

      Why now after each man woman and child has given £1000 in overseas aid.

      Election time maybe?

      PS..Sorry a family of 4 has had £4000 stolen off them by the government.

      (Poor people in rich countries give to rich people in poor countries.)

      • Dominic Stockford

        Nige is the ONLY party leader to come out and say that the judeo-Christian principles which underlie British law are valuable and worthy of defence. Which gives him a massive head-start over the others.

        • Phil R

          Quite right. I have now edited my post above

          Still wonder if Nige will actually do anything to change the huge financial disadvantage of being married.

    • Nick

      Become nice again please.

      • Inspector General

        He’s a good man is Hayes. He sees. He sees a lot…

        • Nick

          When you say ‘good man’….

          • Inspector General

            It’s the finest compliment…

      • I’m not nice but I try to be good.

    • Uncle Brian

      There must be a list somewhere online of which countries the aid goes to, and how much to each. Do we have a link?

  • Nick

    I once saw a beggar outside a council building asking a civil servant for money. The beggar was smoking and the civil servant said that she would not give her any money until she stopped smoking. The civil servant proceeded to verbally brow-beat the homeless woman for her lack of self control. I don’t want to make too much of a value judgement but I bet that in the eyes of heaven the civil servant was in the wrong.

    • Inspector General

      The Inspector buys a couple of cans for a genuine down and out who hangs around locally (Glance at their hair, you can spot a fraud from ten yards).

      He’s an alcoholic, but he has nothing. So when this man sees him, he has a couple of cans of comfort in his life. Our man’s greeting is always the same. “Still here, not dead yet”

      • Nick

        “Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”

      • CliveM

        Remember standing outside of the central station in Glasgow. An old man went along the bins picking out the carry out boxes from the night before and with a plastic fork, scraping them for something to eat.

        Their are those who are deserving of help, it’s just they are incapable of taking the help.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Would you like to join me in contributing towards the cost of his funeral when he finally succumbs to disease?

  • sarky

    Just drive round any council estate and count the sky dishes. Just sayin’ !!!!!

  • For the sake of balance it must be noted that the undeserving rich are also among us and Scripture indicates that their prospects in the coming Judgment are not bright. The super rich rarely get that way honestly (J K Rowling is an exception, and generous so I hear).

    What I detest most about the undeserving rich is the succour they give to Marxist buffoons like Russel Brand and Ed Balls. Oh hang on, aren’t they rather well off too?

    • CliveM

      Your point is a good one. JK gives a lot too charity and has in the past at least been a regular church goer.

      Brand is a dispicable fraud.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Yes Clive, but isn’t something written somewhere about the right hand not knowing what the left is doing? Which seems to me to highlight a small fail in JK’s philanthropism – that is, you know about it.

        • CliveM

          Well if she says nothing she would get it in the neck for being uncaring. At least this was the charity also gets free publicity which is I suspect why she announces it.

          My problem is the £1m she gave labour!

          • Dominic Stockford

            I think labour are probably in more need than most, but it is policies which will help our country someone needs to give them, not more money to burn!

        • True, but we also read ‘let your light so shine before men that they will see your good deeds and give glory to your Father in heaven.’ Our Lord’s wise instructions sometimes appeared paradoxical, as in ‘answer a fool…do not answer a fool..’because a complex reality was nuanced. We must give to the poor, we should not sound a trumpet when we do so, but the truth will out. Sooner or later.

  • Inspector General

    Sod the bloody UK poor. They’re well looked after, and damn scheming at that. Spare a thought for the workers in the UK. This man believes his living standards have been set back ten years. Then of the money we’ve saved, we give 1.7 billion to the EU, because they told us to…

    • Nick

      That’s outrageous Inspector. I like you, but you have to admit that’s outrageous.

      • Inspector General

        This is the hand, the hand that takes. It gives nothing back. Such is our pampered ‘poor’….

        In the style of Edith Piaf, the Inspector regrets nothing. Nothing at all tonight…

        • Is it Scotch or Irish this Friday evening, Inspector?

          • Inspector General

            Very funny. Read up on the Jarrow march. When the poor had really did have nothing.

            One wonders where the ‘poor’ holiday – Spain, of course…

  • “And now, suppose that a man has the worldly goods he needs, and sees his brother go in want; if he steels his heart against his brother, how can we say that the love of God dwells in him?”

    A lot of steeling of hearts going on this evening.

    • Inspector General

      The Inspector was feeling rather dry tonight, but then he noticed. A scrounger was sucking the life out of his teat…

      • CliveM

        Well that gives an unforgettable image!

    • dannybhoy

      You needing a dime, Buddy?

      • Cricket bat to put across the Inspectors head, more like.

    • carl jacobs

      Once again Jack reveals himself as a bleeding heart Leftist. This is actually not a bad thing. We need some people who will elevate compassion over discernment. It prevents the category of deserving poor from being drawn too narrowly. If you only listen to people like me, you could easily do that. I need that balance – someone to push back. He needs it as well for the opposite reason.

      Of course, he is still an economically illiterate left winger who should never be allowed unsupervised access to the levers of the economy.

      • On this one Jack is inclined towards …. wait for it …. a via media.


        As he has said before, he is neither a left nor right in politics. As for being economically illiterate, he’ll have you know he read (posh word for studied, for any Americans who may be reading this) first year economics at University. Admittedly, the professor at the time was Ralph Miliband.

        Jack shudders at the more purist protestant ethic displayed by some on here tonight. Whatever a person’s situation or however they arrived there, Jack believes charity always comes first. It’s the very heart of the Gospel. And charity, properly understood, is not just giving ‘hand-outs’. It responds to the whole person. It restores dignity as well as nourishes the body. He also understands the welfare system we have creates dependency and robs some of the respect which comes from work.

        Do not judge an individual’s personal responsibility when they are hungry, naked, homeless, ill, old, imprisoned. If you have something to offer, then give it.

        Remember, there but for the grace of God goes anyone of us.

        “The poor are shunned even by their neighbours, but the rich have many friends. He who despises his neighbour sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”
        (Proverbs 14:20-21)

        “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
        (Proverbs 14:31)

        • carl jacobs

          Jack shudders at the more purist protestant ethic displayed by some

          Yeah. That Inspector is a notorious Protestant purist.

          BTW. What’s a ‘purist Protestant?’

          • Is there a mirror in your house?

            A purist protestant is one who holds to a purist protestant ethic. The Inspector is beyond categorisation.

          • carl jacobs

            OK, so what is a ‘purist Protestant ethic?’ Because the mirror isn’t helping much. And what does an ‘impure Protestant ethic’ look like for that matter? This is one of those non-specific charges that operates by positioning one’s opponent relative to an assumed if unstated standard of reasonableness. That standard of reasonableness usually turns out to be… the one who makes the charge.

            And it must be said. The Inspector claims openly to be Roman Catholic. He is the principle voice on this thread for the position you mentioned.

          • What is a purist Protestant ethic?

            It’s very America which is why you’re not seeing it. It sees hard work, thrift, self reliance and diligence as evidence of a person’s predestined salvation. It essentially restricts charity to other ‘brethren’ i.e. other Elect. Since it Is impossible to know who Is predestined, the theology is that this can be discerned by life style. Social and financial success, through personal effort are indicators of Election. So poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction, imprisonment and such things would, to the “discerning”, suggest reprobation.

            Consequently, this understanding stresses individualism, laissez faire capitalism, self reliance and a small, non-interventionist state as the desired temporal order. The political ideology springing from this theology is individualism, republicanism, liberal democracy and laissez-faire capitalism.

            As for the Inspector …. Personally speaking, Jack has never encountered his unique take on the doctrines, moral and social teachings of the Church. Who is Jack to judge?

          • Phil R

            I can just see Jesus having someone like the Inspector with him as one of the 12.

            He just says what we are all thinking and raises our spirits as well.

            I always read the Inspector’s posts as they cheer me up, make me laugh and contain serious points.

            If the Inspector decides to write a book. I’ll pre order it!

          • “I can just see Jesus having someone like the Inspector with him as one of the 12 …. He just says what we are all thinking and raises our spirits as well.”

            God help us and save us, as my mother would say. Maybe that says more about you (and others) than Jesus.

          • dannybhoy

            We don’t often think about it, but there would have been times when our Lord and the disciples would “chill out” perhaps around a campfire by the sea of Galilee. It’s then that the talk and perhaps banter would break out, and the various personalities come into play..
            I can see an extrovert Peter dominating conversation with a gentle John chipping in from time to time. Judas perhaps quietly brooding…
            The Inspector…..?

          • The Inspector…..?

            “Now look here Jesus … These Beatitude things … Are you sure? Leave them with the Inspector before going public, as it were. They need a bit of tweaking. What !”

          • dannybhoy

            To a ‘t’ !!

          • Inspector General


          • ;o))

          • Phil R

            I can see the Inspector saying what everyone is thinking and everyone laughing along with Jesus who comes over and slaps him on his back and gives him another cup of wine.

            A long way from say Matins I agree.

            God came to earth to save real people Jack. You might be surprised at the sort of people to whom Jesus says “I never knew you”.

          • But of course, Phil. Jesus Himself said:

            “There are many dwelling-places in my Father’s house; otherwise, should I have said to you, I am going away to prepare a home for you?”

          • DanJ0

            Thank god for Google, eh.

          • And Ralph Miliband …..

          • DanJ0

            It amuses me to google some of the specific phrases you use, when what you post doesn’t sound at all like you, and follow the webpages you’re cribbing from to try to sound intelligent and knowledgeable. Lol. I see you’ve added Weber too now to your comment.

            Say hello to your long-suffering ‘wife’ from me, Dodo. It’s not every spouse who would put up with their husband staying up until the early hours (3am last night, or later given the edit) to post comments on a religious blog. Bless her, she must have the patience of a saint … or the mobility of Norman Bate’s mother.

          • DanJ0

            For example:

            Basis in Protestant theology

            “Since it was impossible to know who was predestined, the notion developed that it might be possible to discern that a person was elect (predestined) by observing their way of life.”


          • The so-called Protestant Work Ethic comes from Ephesians 4:28. ‘Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labour, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give to him who is in need.’
            The very essence of the PWE is that of giving (along with that of honesty). The question is not, shall I give? but, to whom shall I give? I received three appeals for money in the post today, all from reputable Christian charities. If I am giving all my spare cash to beggars on the streets of Exeter, how will I give to those who are far poorer living abroad?
            Also, we are not to give only to the financially poor, but also to the spiritually poor- to support the work of the Gospel. One of my friends works as a volunteer for a charity for the homeless, and he is forbidden to point these poor people to Christ or even to give them a Gideon Testament. Yet as he points out (as a retired doctor), the Gospel is more likely to redeem these people from drugs and/or alcohol than any amount of ‘counselling.’

          • Danjo, this obsession with Happy Jack is very unhealthy. Really, it is.

          • DanJ0

            Poor Dodo. Busted again as a Google Savant.

          • “Stalking is unwanted or obsessive attention by an individual or group toward another person.”

            “The blog stalker is always, by definition, more pathetic than the frequent poster.”

            Jack can recommend a therapist in the West Midlands if you wish.

          • DanJ0

            I hope you’ve donated to Wikipedia’s recent appeal for money. £3 is a tiny sum given the use you make of it to try to sound intelligent and knowledgeable. 😉

          • As you know Happy Jack and Dodo share a mutual friend. Having consulted said person, it is clear you are missing Dodo terribly and desperately want to talk with him again. Sadly, this is impossible.

            Poor Danjo.

            Print this and place it above your bed – assuming you’ve removed the poster of Wham (you have, haven’t you?) This may help alleviate your suffering:


          • DanJ0

            But you were here in full plumage very recently, Dodo.


            And I ignored you completely, no doubt much to your annoyance.

          • “I would challenge you to a battle of wits, but I see you are unarmed!”
            (William Shakespeare)

          • carl jacobs

            Let’s get a few things straight.

            Someone (cough) once described him as a “Therapeutic Moralistic Deist with some Trinitarian baggage attached.”

            1. It’s no fair quoting me like that when I’m trying to make a sleazy point and tar the RCC with the Inspector’s views but I can’t if someone remembers what I once wrote. I might or might not have been trying to slip that past the evaluators and you had no right to catch it. An apology from you to me would be appropriate at this point.

            2. How did you remember that anyways? That was not a recent comment.

            3. Half the point still stands. He isn’t Protestant by any stretch.

            And you do realize that ‘puritan Protestant ethic’ has nothing to do with me.

          • Jack has a most excellent memory, Carl.
            No. Jack was Googling around Catholic websites and found this by Fr Ray Blake with a link to a Cranmer article from August 2013:


            Some weird people blogging back then too!
            The American colonies was founded by English Calvinist Puritans. It is central to your national self image.

          • carl jacobs


            Well, you should have just said “Protestant Work Ethic.” I would have understood that. Although I have never personally understood it to connect to evidence of Election. And anyways, the Protestant Work Ethic is a good thing.

            Now, about that apology you still owe me…

          • It goes way deeper than a work ethic, Carl. Even the passage from 2 Thessalonians you quoted, out of context, Jack adds, demonstrates this. The Catholic position is, in contrast, based on a ‘preferential option for the poor’.

            Apology? Because: “It’s no fair quoting me like that when I’m trying to make a sleazy point and tar the RCC with the Inspector’s views when I can’t if someone remembers what I once wrote. I might or might not have been trying to slip that past the quality checkers and you had no right to catch it.”

            Happy Jack had every right and he is watching you, Carl.

          • Inspector General

            This man takes his lead from God Almighty Himself. The majesty and hierarchy of the creation. The no nonsense attitude to salvation, Mess up down here and you are out, we are told many times. Is it not better to veer His way than not. Anything else is the result of human weakness. The imperfections of our arrogant desire to make a deal with God.

        • CliveM

          Ralph Milliband ! Oh dear, does this mean, despite protestations, that Carl is right, you are indeed a leftist, a cookoo in the nest ?

          Personally I would have to say a year of economics under such a person would leave you economically illiterate!!

          • carl jacobs

            Precisely. Economic illiteracy is not determined by how much you have studied economics, but by how you think it actually works.

            You know, it has always been my experience that only Leftists say “I am neither Left nor Right.”

          • cough … cough …

            OK, so what is a ‘leftist”? This is one of those non-specific charges that operates by positioning one’s opponent relative to an assumed if unstated standard of reasonableness. That standard of reasonableness usually turns out to be… the one who makes the charge.

          • CliveM

            They are just embarrassed! Also the left has traditionally relied on subterfuge to gain control of a country or institution. An example of this is the teaching profession in the UK!!

          • It was his first year at Leeds and the faculty had a solid group of more right leaning academics. Jack enjoyed his 3 years there very much.

            Define “leftist”.

          • CliveM

            A leftist is someone who follows the politics of the left!!

            Left politics is usually class warfare based, believing that the re- distribution of wealth from the well off to the poor will lead to a more just society.

          • Then Jack is no “leftist”.

          • CliveM

            Well as I have said elsewhere, most people tend to be a mixture of right/left depending on the issue.

            But Comrade Happy Jack does have a ring to it!!

          • CliveM

            I loved my time in university as well. Would do it all again in a second!

      • CliveM


        I agree, which is btw why I am pleased we have the slightly more Left leaning Gillan also writing. It is good to have ones prejudices challenged.

        • carl jacobs


          I might quibble over your usage of “slightly more.” But, yes, I generally agree.

          The problem of course is finding people on the Left who are actually Christian. Liberal religion isn’t Christianity.

          • CliveM

            I am not sure how left Gillan is. I think if we are honest we all ( well most people!) have areas in our life which leans more left or right depending on the issue in question. People aren’t usually easy to label in a simplistic fashion.

      • Dominic Stockford

        A biblical definition of ‘brother’ needs to be added into the mix as well. It is not what people imply with the word today.

        • Care to offer one?

          And maybe one of “neighbour” too?

          • Dominic Stockford

            ‘Brother’ and ‘neighbour’ are different things. When reading the Bible it is important to work out who it is that the writer is writing to, and who he is referring to when he uses such a term.

            Paul, for instance, when writing to Christian churches uses adelphoi (brother, but can also be sister) frequently. He also uses psuedoadelpos (not really brothers at all) to refer to the Jews who claimed to be Christians but were not (ie: Gal 2:4). When he says adelphos/oi he means those who genuinely share saving faith in Jesus Christ. He uses this as a differentiation from any description of the general people who live round about him/them but are not sincere Christians. His justification comes from the words of Jesus: “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” Matthew 12:50. And ‘doing God’s will’ is clearly bound up in the teaching of Jesus which states: “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word” John 14:23 (the full explanation of that is another discussion entirely).

            So, in using ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ beyond a description of blood ties a Christian should only do so in order to refer to fellow sincere Christians.

            “Neighbour” is another matter entirely. The Samaritans, for instance, rejected God’s instructions about how they should (then) worship. They did not sincerely hold to God’s Word. Thus they could not be ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, for they consciously and deliberately rejected God’s Word. However, they could perfectly well be ‘neighbour’ as they lived in, around, nearby, and among the people of God (I’m not interested here in arguments about whether all Jews of the time were sincere believers as they clearly weren’t, and that would be another red herring).

            So, when we start seeking to act as we are taught in the Bible, which is, or should be, the desire of all sincere Christians, we need to consider who it is the Bible encourages us to give assistance to.

            Therefore, firstly, the Christians supported one another. The deacons (ACTS) were appointed because there was an internal breakdown of the care systems within the Christian community. It is clear that at that time their primary, over-riding consideration, was those within the Christian community. And indeed, reading Paul’s words, this is made clear. He frequently exhorts them to consider the ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ and to ensure that they do not go without. Romans 12:13, for instance.

            The responsibility of the sincere Christian is primarily (firstly) to ensure that their brothers and sisters in Christ have what is needed. John’s words clarify this, if we cannot love those with whom we claim to be brothers and sisters how can we love anyone? Then, as we are able, we should indeed seek to alleviate suffering of neighbour. The Good Samaritan, for instance, only had a neighbour whom he could help – there was no brother present. The lesson wasn’t about him, it was about those who claimed to be be brothers but didn’t help.

            Christian’s primary responsibility to neighbour, however, is clearly laid out in Acts 3.

            “Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”

            The most wonderful thing he gave this man was faith in Christ, not physical healing.

            Right, enough, I’m tired. Any more wanted, you can come back to me!

          • Dominic, thank you for a detailed response.

            This is way too neat and tidy for Jack and he believes scripture is more nuanced than you present it.

            Jesus and His Apostles were able to miraculously intervene in people’s lives and also had the power of discernment. Nowadays, miracles are rare and human discernment not so sharp. Opening people to the Gospel and faith in Christ means responding to people who are in poverty for a whole host of different reasons. Different approaches to each person will be needed. It’s no good preaching the Gospel to a man sick with hunger, out of his mind or freezing in the streets.

            Potentially, every person we meet is a brother or sister in Christ. You are witnessing the Gospel when you help someone in need. Who knows, God may have put you there to make that person more receptive to His grace. And you may never see the results. And you cannot judge whether they are “sincere” Christians or not – and some actually will be, just lost. And they are all our “neighbours”, regardless of creed or race.

    • Brother in want or lazy drongo on the make?

      All one is saying is that under a socialist welfare state funded by penal taxes and immorally irresponsible borrowing, SOME people will learn that they can get through life by parasitising others.

      Jesus did not teach that this was OK.

      Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, deprecated laziness on several occasions, mostly when he said ‘if any man will not work, let him not eat.’

      Its not that difficult to see both sides of this argument. One reason that I post this kind of stuff under my own name is I’m fed up of limp wristed bleeding heart liberals making people feel ashamed for differentiating between a widow and a drunkard.

      King regards and good night

      • Calm down, Stephen. Happy Jack understands your position too. Those who become inculcated into a life on easy benefit are the poorer in spirit for it whatever their financial situation.

        Who are these “limp wristed bleeding heart liberals” to whom you refer? Not Jack. He can assure you he is neither ‘limp wristed’ nor is he liberal.

        And is ‘bleeding heart’ an insult? It is said the term originated in the Middle Ages and reflected images of the Virgin Mary, whose heart was pierced with sorrow and love. Another image associated with the term is a compassionate Jesus with his heart on fire, wrapped in thorns to show His love and suffering for us.

      • Inspector General

        You talk the way it is, sir. One cannot see why the underserving are portrayed the way they are by those Christians who would rather blind themselves to the unpleasant reality…..

  • Inspector General

    Addendum. The Inspector wishes it to be known that when he referred to the ‘poor’ tonight, he of course meant our ‘brave, resourceful, steadfast, honest, would be hard working, proud, poor’

    He apologies to the bleeding hearts here who may have endured needless self gratifying sanctifying outrage as a result of what appeared to be his callous indifference….

  • Martin

    I’ve had experience of being unemployed and the fruitless effort of applying for jobs.

    I’ve also had experience of those who consider they have the right to be supported whilst making no effort to support themselves.

    Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that
    you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in
    accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you
    yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle
    when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying
    for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we
    might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not
    have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate.
    For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If
    anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some
    among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now
    such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do
    their work quietly and to earn their own living.
    (II Thessalonians 3:6-12 [ESV])

    I think that lays down the rules quite clearly.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Gods ways are not our ways. Yes we are commanded to help the helpless but als, sometimes if we help someone we prevent that which God was trying to do.

    For example if you give an able bodied person financial of practical help, it is more than likely that God was trying to teach them something.

    It is a very fine balance whereby we need a sharp discernment of God’s will.

    • Yeah, that one works as a justification for walking on the other side of the road. Perhaps God wants to use you as an instrument in bringing that person closer to Him by you showing love.

      • Shadrach Fire

        Not Justification. Just a realization that god does a work in all of us and it is not a good idea to interfere. Some things are obvious, others are subtle. That is why I said we need a sharp discernment of God’s will.
        Clearly you can’t walk by the other side.

  • Inspector General

    Should any of the so called poor tune into here, which they won’t, one suspects their attitude will be “Yes, we are idle f_____s, but the system encourages that. Can you blame us”

    And the Inspector would agree…

    • It’s Irish, isn’t it?

      • carl jacobs

        It meant those who survived moved on … to America.

        Irish immigration was good for America. Except they were mostly Catholic. I guess you can’t have everything.

        • 1 million died and 1 million emigrated.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Where the potato came from…

        • Royinsouthwest

          The potato came from the Andes. Not many Irish people went there.

          • He may be from the USA and therefore believes when folk say America they must mean his nation.

  • DanJ0

    In places like India where there is absolute poverty, there is also considerable enterprise in surviving. Children learn to scavenge very well, as begging is frowned upon other than by the disabled. They don’t really have a welfare state but temples provide food as a religious duty. Of course, the rest of society has to step over the inevitable corpses a result.

    Personally, I don’t want to see bodies lying in the street when I go to work on a winter’s morning, nor do I want to see beggars in doorways when I’m shopping or socialising. I’d rather the State provides a safety net to catch people before they get there, and to give people help and opportunity to become functional members of society again if through drugs or alcohol or mental illness they do end up on the streets.

    Nobody likes being manipulated or scammed but on a personal level I feel good helping people out who need it. Sometimes, the best thing to happen is for an individual to act on the moment when presented with a situation where one can help. It’s an opportunity for charity and compassion, and I think that one should grasp those when they occur without over-thinking it.

    • dannybhoy

      “Nobody likes being manipulated or scammed but on a personal level I feel good helping random people out who need it.”

      “Sometimes, the best thing to happen is for an individual to act on the
      moment when presented with a situation where one can help. It’s an
      opportunity for charity and compassion, and I think that one should
      grasp those when they occur without over-thinking it.”
      That’s how I see it too Dan J0.
      Where we live there are quite a few elderly living alone, or couples where one is ill. I will go and knock and doors and introduce myself and give our telephone number if help is ever needed. I don’t care what people think about that because I operate on the principle that I would like someone to do that for me..
      And, it’s surprising how many heathens like yourself do these kind of things! Where some Christians might say “Oh, I don’t want to appear pushy, or interfere, or be a nuisance…” God uses His children to demonstrate His love and compassion.

      • DanJ0

        There was a woman featured on BBC R4 this morning at about 9:15am who is regularly going hungry in order to feed her children, one of whom has a long-term illness. She came across as articulate, and considered, and thoughtful. And she hadn’t eaten for two days. She says she finds food banks so humiliating, despite being staffed by very kind and non-judgemental people, that she prefers the hunger to the shame. I find this intolerable. Overwhelming, and completely intolerable. I’d rather the State coincidentally funds feckless and unambitious people if it means that the woman and her children don’t have to beg or rely on charity to continue.

        I actually had to pull over after the interview for a little while. Have we really come to this? Perhaps she could learn to cook more cheaply, as Baroness Jenkin said cheaply. Afterall, one ought not to be hungry on a daily basis, even though malnutrition in the long term is possible, if one has a tenner a week for food for oneself and the means to cook. Nevertheless, this is the UK and we really ought to be able to solve this sort of stuff. I expect dozens of people have called in, as they do on R4, offering help afterwards. But these are the Hidden Hungry, and R4 listeners can’t reach them all. This is why I say we ought to act individually, and immediately, and preferably with strangers, when an opportunity arises. Just do it.

        • dannybhoy

          I understand and agree with your feelings DanJ0, but not with your solution.
          ” Overwhelming, and completely intolerable. I’d rather the State
          coincidentally funds feckless and unambitious people if it means that
          the woman and her children don’t have to beg or rely on charity to
          And just to put my own views in perspective, I’m thinking back as a 68 year old who developed severe asthma at 17 before there were any drugs except ephredine -which they didn’t give out much because of the side effects.
          Who has willingly given 18 years of his life in unpaid Christian/community voluntary work. Who has experienced unemployment, and who continued working even as COPD was starting to take a hold…
          My opposition to the tax payer funded State giving more help to the relative poor is simple.
          “The more you cater to a State dependent client group, the more you ensure that client group will grow.”

          If we (and you as a heathen! 🙂 ) accept the Biblical principle that men should work, and “if they will not work neither let them eat”,
          then the role of the State, dependent as it is on working people paying their taxes, is to create a climate for entrepreneurs to flourish, businesses to flourish , and tax to be at a fair and acceptable level, perhaps biased in favour of those on lower incomes.
          Once a government takes its eyes off its main responsibilities and starts to chase votes by expanding the welfare state to include those in “relative poverty” provide housing for newcomers in preference to those who have served their country in our military, or have paid into our system all their working lives;
          then that government has lost its moral compass and sense of accountability to working, taxpaying people.
          Our politicians have by and large lost their way. They champion the poor and those in relative poverty whilst awarding themselves (quietly) an 11% pay rise, subsidised meals, the best of food and drink and other perks..
          It STINKS, and I really mean that.
          We (or rather they as our representatives) should be looking after the elderly, the disabled and the seriously ill.
          Everything else should be geared towards getting people into paid work.

          • So should this woman be left to go hungry? After all, she doesn’t work. You think what Saint Paul said applies to her and countless others in a similar situation?

          • CliveM

            What I find curious is why some are able to live reasonably, whilst others in the same situation struggle? There is something else going in here which we aren’t being told.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s easy Clive. People either have a job on the side (black economy) or a little business that brings in extra income…
            In our two years unemployed, we ate an awful lot of vegetable stews and bread.

          • dannybhoy

            No, I’m talking about the principle, not an individual’s circumstances.
            ” the role of the State, dependent as it is on working people paying
            their taxes, is to create a climate for entrepreneurs to flourish,
            businesses to flourish , and tax to be at a fair and acceptable level,
            perhaps biased in favour of those on lower incomes.”

            We don’t remove the safety net, but neither do we allow that safety net to become a way of life; which is what has happened. How do we think our national debt has become so overwhelming? Nothing to do with demands made on the Welfare State by a burgeoning population?
            Governments want to stay in power. To do that they need people to vote for them. By allowing the welfare state to grow so large, they find there’s less money for investment to boost the economy and repair the infrastructure.

          • CliveM


            In any funded safety net some of it will go to the feckless and lazy. In some ways you just have to get on with it and accept its inevitability. The only way to avoid it is to remove the safety net altogether.

          • dannybhoy

            Here’s some interesting stats Clive..
            “In the UK, the biggest department for public money is social security.
            This takes almost a quarter of all public spending. It goes on
            financing a variety of benefits (State pensions, public sector pensions,
            housing benefits, income support, disability / incapacity benefits,
            unemployment benefits).”


        • Inspector General

          Probably paying off a top of the range car, no doubt. There’s brass in dependant children. That’s when the slot machine comes up with 3 bells….

          There’s a single mother in Gloucestershire with 11 children. She’s swimming in benefits AND they’re going to build her a bigger house last time this man heard. Expenditure runs to pony lessons for the girls and at the time soon to acquire a family parrot. Parrots come in around a thousand pounds these days…

  • Martin

    I’ve been unemployed, spending hours sending off applications for jobs that never garner a response.

    I’ve also had experience of those who consider it their entitlement to be supported when they have made no effort to support themselves.

    Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. 2Thess 3:6

    Pretty much says it all.

    • CliveM


      You appear to be repeating yourself?!

  • len

    I suppose the bottom line for anyone calling themselves ‘Christian’ is described in the Bible ‘the Book of James’ “If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well” (James 2:8)

  • Dominic Stockford

    None of us deserve the gift of eternal life.

    So we are all the undeserving poor.

    • Careful, Dominic. That sort of thinking could easily lead to leftist thinking. If God doesn’t discriminate and gives His grace freely, then how can we? .

      • Dominic Stockford

        But he does, for ‘many are called, but not all are chosen’.

        • Indeed, there’s many a choice between the calling and choosing.

  • Shadrach Fire

    I do not blame Baroness Jenkins for saying the poor don’t cook excepting that it’s not just the poor who don’t cook, it’s the middle classes and the rich who don’t cook.

    Take a look around a super market at the ready made meals, particularly the freezer section. Then look at the raw food sections. There is nothing to encourage people to cook from basic food stuff in this busy lifestyle society. Cooking from basic food stuffs takes time and skill but it is good for you and can taste much better.

    I was talking to a Bishop and his wife who live in Atlanta and they confirmed that they hardly ever cook at home and always eat out and they are in their seventies. This is how most Americans they know live.

    • You’re right most people don’t cook from scratch anymore preferring
      expensive ready meals, takeaways or eating out. The celebrity chefs
      like Jamie Oliver and others do have interesting cooking shows, but
      sometimes the dishes they do these days contain so many ingredients
      and are not always available in poorer areas, taking beyond a lot of
      people’s capability for rustling up something for weekday high tea at
      six for the family. One wonders whether the chefs are just showing
      off rather than firing the average Joe with enthusiasm for cooking
      his own supper on his budget?


    • avi barzel

      Also, in North America take-out and processed or prepared meals are not only more convenient, but cheaper too, part of the reason being that wholesale-purchased ingredients and mechanised streamlined processes are more economically efficient. Think of the expenses in terms of energy alone, where millions bumble about in their cars to pick up overpriced or “value-added” (“fresh,” “organic” or locavore scams) ingredients from hither and yon, with millions turning on millions of electric, oil or gas ranges and stoves to be followed by millions of dishes to be washed.

      I love to cook, and I’m told I’m pretty good…but I do more of it only because kosher prepared food is much more expensive than the non-kosher equivalents or the home-made versions. But the factory-made meal, with improvements addressing healthier diet requirements, is the future; it ‘s the modern version of the workers’ cafeteria, or the communal or monastic kitchens in a society whose family structures and work patterns are radically changing and will see home-prepared meals, with all the ludicrous gourmet rages and special ingredient fetishes, turn into pricey hobbies for those with disposable income and idle time.

  • Inspector General

    Below is a message to Carl. But as many would like to know where the Inspector gets his inspiration. Here it is for all to see. Note the brevity, for what there is needs little explanation in all. It’s that solid…

    “This man takes his lead from God Almighty Himself. The majesty and hierarchy of the creation. The no nonsense attitude to salvation, Mess up down here and you are out, we are told many times. Is it not better to veer His way than not. Anything else is the result of human weakness. The imperfections of our arrogant desire to make a deal with God”

    • carl jacobs

      Solid it may be in its own way. But it has nothing to do with Christianity. You may use Christian language and Christian symbols. But you have no actual connection to the Faith that gives life to that language and those symbols.

      Mess up down here and you are out

      That statement is the essence of everything the Christian faith denies.

      • However, he would be regarded as a ‘Son of Noah’; one of the ‘Righteous of the Nations of the World’.

      • Inspector General

        Just shows you the massive gulf between us. Seeing life as a testing ground compared to your pre destination business. You really think that the almighty has gone to the trouble of deciding who is saved when we have the freedom to decide that ourselves…

        • Bit of a rum do, old chap, when protestants know more about Christianity than a professed Catholic. Both Danny and Len understand the key to salvation is a living relationship with Christ through the graces given and maintained by the Holy Spirit. “Messing up”, so to speak, consists of rupturing this relationship.

    • len

      The problem with humanity is that we all’ mess up down here’ that is why God came to Calvary to redress a situation none of us can change by our own will or good intentions.

      Jesus came to enable Him to be able to put His Life into us so we would be able to live a life through the power of the Holy Spirit not under the power of ‘the flesh’ and sin.
      This is the mystery of salvation and the entire purpose of God`s plan for the redemption of humanity.

    • dannybhoy

      The big problem is mon brav, is that we are all fond of you! Everyone likes an individualist, a man who speaks his mind and in such a way as to raise many a chuckle.
      You cannot make deals with God.
      On that day, those who seek to justify their unbelief or self righteousness or obedience to orders will be asked,
      “But what did you think of MY Son? He obeyed Me even to dying on the cross for all men for all time. I sent Him to show my love for you and all mankind. How much time did you spend considering this?”
      It is our Lord Jesus who ensured our salvation.

      • Inspector General

        Homosexual marriage in the churches that have them seem like a deal with God….

  • Royinsouthwest

    We ought to love “the undeserving.” God loves all of us even though we are all undeserving. However when it comes to poverty some people are more deserving of help than others. Why should those who are poor despite making a real effort to provide for themselves and their families not get preference over those who deliberately play the system?

    Gillan Scott knows who wrote the words: If a man will not work, he shall not eat.