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Apr 05, 2013

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Dennis Sanders

This was a good article, Michael. I would agree with you that a Christmas ornament made my women Haiti probably don't have the same effect as say, buying fair trade coffee. Plus I kind of like those kitschy items. :)

My own congregation has had to deal with this. We share the church building with two other churches, one of which is very much into social action. They insisted on having fair trade coffee to the consternation of some of our folks who thought it was too expensive and a waste of time. I agreed with them, but I didn't know how to best explain that to them or the other church.

What I find interesting from this article and others is that the things we find "unvirtuous" are the things that really help the poor. Opening up the formerly closed economies of China, India and Brazil lifted a ton of people out of poverty, but that never gets lifted up in church circles. In fact, I am reminded when I visited Western China during my seminary years, some of my fellow seminarians lamented all the modernization taking place, something I didn't understand. (So, we want them to be poor?)

I think we have a tall order on our hands in how we help Christians view how to help the poor. We tend to think poor are helped with and mostly solely by the government. Aid from the government is important and I'm not arguing for a some kind libertarian utopia. But a program like Food Stamps is not going to lift a person out of poverty, it is going to keep a person from being destitue and hungry. An important function, but I think many Christians focus on that alone and not on justice, lifting people out of poverty and less reliant on government assistance.

Maybe that's why some Christians on the left were so in awe of Hugo Chavez and his programs in Venezuela. He basically feed the people, when there was food, but I don't think it transformed the nation into an economic powerhouse in the way that next door neighbor Brazil did (which has been ruled by two Socialist presidents, by the way).

I'm still waiting for that book on Economics and the Christian, Mike. :)

Michael W. Kruse

Well said, Dennis.

BTW, the lack of original posts on my part and the decreased number of posts is due to me devoting more time to writing. I working on it! ;-)

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