Tag Archive | poverty

Practical Theology

I was thinking about my post on Isaiah 2 and the topic of sanctification. In fact, I couldn’t get it out of my head.

I do really enjoy studying the Bible, theology, and doctrine. I was raised on it really as my dad trained to be a pastor. He never actually practised though and stopped short of ordination for various reasons, but it was our meat and drink as I was growing up.

But here is the thing. What does it matter if I am ‘sanctified’, ‘justified’, ‘saved’ or have ‘eternal life’ to look forward to? In the here and now, life is hard, and horrible and increasingly so. Theology shouldn’t really just be a distraction from real life.

My own situation is this: I’m at home after a bad relapse of chronic illness, but I don’t get any kind of disability benefit, and my son who did get it just had notification that it’s being denied him this year. My husband, who does work, is on the minimum wage. If we want to carry on eating and paying rent, we’ll need to dig really deep to find places to trim the budget. I’m grateful that food banks are available, but it isn’t enough to raise us out of poverty and misery, and really it is no way to live.

I have written before about the scandal of inequality in the Church – the enormous wealth of the comfortable classes and the appalling spectrum of poverty (even just here in the UK, let alone in third world countries) and really it is far, far too easy to just sit back and believe that God blesses whom He wants to bless, and that if you’re not blessed with material comfort, there must just be some fault in you – you’re in sin, you’re faithless, you must deserve it in some way. I.e., “it is not my responsibility to do anything about it.” No, no, no, no, no!

The early church seemed to have behaved quite differently with their finances than the modern, western, wealthy church. Apparently they held what amounted to a common purse –

“They held all things common”

Those who had plenty sold their excess and gave to those who needed it, so that there was no lack among them. (See Acts 2:44-47.)

In the book of Malachi we read:

“Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the LORD of hosts.”

The LORD tells Israel that they have neglected His House, that is, their duty to financially provide for the Levites (the priestly tribe of Levi) who were dependent on subsidies from the rest of Israel. He challenges them that, by not giving, they are robbing God!

But, if they are willing to give, the windows of heaven will be opened to them.

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Malachi 3:10

Try it! I challenge you! As we were reminded on Sunday, you can’t ‘out-give’ God! And then perhaps, as we repent, and turn back to God – turn all our finances over to God, perhaps then the church, and our land will be healed and restored so that nobody is under the curse of poverty.

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Annus Horribilis

Previously on the Prairie…

2014 was not awful, it wasn’t the happiest year – I didn’t have the life I wanted, and I was very lonely and pissed off with our bad landlord (the last in a long line of bad landlords who nrefused to fix broken plumbing).

At the end of 2013 we had moved house, out of a fire into a frying pan it seemed. It wasn’t the best move, but previous to that we had lived three years in a rental that had *so much* wrong with it, that it shouldn’t have been legal, BUT it was a bungalow (which, being on one level, was perfect), it was in THE most beautiful location, with views of fields in every direction, a village pond opposite, and a regular procession of visiting ducks, sheep and turkeys. So when we moved, it wasn’t a clear 100% improvement – it was a compromise. I miss the ducks and the beautiful views, but I don’t miss the disgusting brown water etc. The new house was pretty good, apart from the not hot water (honestly, not sure which was worse.)

2015

I made the stupid mistake of reading a horoscope (or was it a ‘prophecy’?) in January which said I would soon have access to a completely new social support network. Well, it hasn’t happened yet.

But then, I could not have *imagined* the idea that we would be evicted in 2015 from that same house after barely one year as good, regular rent-paying tenants. And again, although every idiot thinks that if I’m not happy I must be a ‘glass half empty’ kind of girl, because, d’oh, you live near the sea, within walking distance of the supermarket, what more could you freakin want?

We have been housed in a totally unsuitable three-storey house, with a moronic design – kitchen and single bedroom on the ground floor, living room and single room on the middle floor, and double bedroom and bathroom on the top floor. There is no question whatsoever in my mind that this is one of the reasons why I have become so ill since we moved. I am now largely confined to one floor, largely unable to leave the house, effectively housebound/ bedbound where a year ago I was able to be fairly active.

Add to that the fact that there is no garden for the children, just a completely unsuitable yard not big enough for any practical purpose, horrible neighbours, my marriage sucks, an ongoing dusty, dirty, dangerous building site which makes cleaning nigh on impossible, and still, 9 months later – because we are poorer almost than we have ever been, living so ‘hand to mouth’ at the moment that we can’t do Christmas *at all* (if money doesn’t come in soon, we may need to go to the Food Bank for our Christmas groceries) – we have no floor coverings, and I can’t tell you just how depressing that is.

It hasn’t been my Annus most Horribilis actually. 2010 or 2011 would probably be very strong contenders. But I am not sure I have ever been more miserable.

Quite apart from my ill health which is severely limiting me right now, choices become few and far between when you have no money. I have cancelled every single outgoing that I could think of. So although I have been mulling around in my mind what ‘resolutions’ I can make for 2016, I don’t know how much is within my control to change. That is by far the worst thing – the fact that I feel completely powerless.

I’ll try and think of something positive to say next time.

What are the chances that 2016 will be our Annus Mirabilis, do you suppose? I think we deserve one.