Christian Charity

October 2020 Forums General discussion Christian Charity

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  • #208294
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/18/churches-tally-up-their-value-to-society-at-124bn

    Church of England said its 16,000 churches were running or supporting 35,000 projects before the Covid-19 pandemic, including 8,000 food banks, 4,000 parent-toddler groups, 5,000 lunch clubs or coffee mornings, 2,700 community cafes, 2,400 night shelters and 2,300 breakfast or holiday clubs for children.

     The services and support that church buildings provide, and the health and wellbeing they create, has been calculated at £12.4bn a year. 
    <p class=”css-38z03z”>The market value of church-based projects is £2.4bn a year, it says. This includes running, staffing and hiring out of church buildings, the amount it would cost for authorities to replicate social and community services currently provided by churches, and the replacement cost of volunteers’ time at the national living wage.</p>
    <p class=”css-38z03z”>In addition, the non-market value is put at at least £10bn a year. The report says: “Non-market (also called social and welfare) value describes an activity or outcome that is difficult to measure in pounds and pence. For example, things like health, happiness, confidence or trust are incredibly important but difficult to put a price on – let alone buy.”</p>
    <p class=”css-38z03z”>About £7bn of this amount is generated by food banks. Churches have “played a vital role in setting up and running the vast majority of Trussell Trust food banks and 50% of independent ones in the UK”, the report says.</p>
    During lockdown, 89% of churches had continued to provide some support for local communities, and a third had been able to fully continue existing support.

    After 2005 Make Poverty History, i began to appreciate that although religious belief may be on the decline, the social structure of the churches remained strong, having witnessed how they mobilised their congregations to participate in the event in Edinburgh and used church buildings as logistical support.

    #208298
    L.B. Neill
    Participant

    https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.915.5467&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    An interesting take on Christian charitable social formations and their disaster relief functions: this is centred on Asian Catholic participation in disaster recovery.

    Social Capital and group cohesion certainly conflate with welbeing activities.

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by L.B. Neill.
    #208301
    ALB
    Participant

    It looks as if you’ve got a dilemma, Alan — which church to go to this morning: the Roman Catholic one headed by that nice Pope or the Church of England 😊 I think you might find the latter less dogmatic and less hierarchical.

    And you forgot the Sally Army

    #208302
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Hmmmm…??

    The Wee Frees have a good name and they are doom and gloom like myself, all hell-fire and brimstone.

    They don’t really like anything such as Christmas or Easter or having fun on a Sunday – quite moderate views, in my opinion 😛

     

    #208304
    ALB
    Participant

    I know what you mean. One set of my grandparents were Plymouth Brethren (open, the closed are worse). Sundays weren’t fun at their house. In fact no days were fun. Nothing was. You only associated with the ungodly to sell them something. But at least they didn’t preach hell-fire and brimstone like your We Frees.

    #208317
    LeonTrotsky
    Participant

    Shove your church and shove your charity.  Charity maintains the status quo of gross inequality.  In fact, it sanctions it and does nothing but promote injustice into the future.  As Marx put it, “We don’t want your charity.  We’re not the charitable types, for when we gain power we won’t have to make any excuses for the terror”.

    #208319
    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Is that the way we try to persuade fellow-workers who happen to be religious, LT?

    Or do we use their words and deeds against them?

    “You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry … Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism … There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism.”

    “The movement must address itself to the question of restructuring the whole of American society. There are forty million poor people here. And one day we must ask the question, Why are there forty million poor people in America? And when you begin to ask that question, you are raising questions about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy. And I’m simply saying that more and more, we’ve got to begin to ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the discouraged beggars in life’s marketplace. But one day we must come to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that questions must be raised. You see, my friends, when you deal with this, you begin to ask the question, Who owns the oil? You begin to ask the question, Who owns the iron ore? You begin to ask the question, Why is it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds water? These are questions that must be asked.”

    “We must rapidly begin the shift from a ‘thing’-oriented society to a person- oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”

    “The dispossessed of this country the poor, the white and Negro live in a cruelly unjust society. they must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who are their fellow citizens, but against the structures through which society is refusing to take means which have been called for”

    Martin Luther King

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu : “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

    “They shall build houses and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards and eat fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat.” — Isaiah

    “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet; and distribution was made to each as any had need.” – Acts 4: 32-36

    “The use of all things that are found in this world ought to be common to all men. Only the most manifest iniquity makes one say to the other, ‘This belongs to me, that to you’. Hence the origin of contention among men.” – St. Clement.

    “What thing do you call ‘yours’? What thing are you able to say is yours? From whom have you received it? You speak and act like one who upon an occasion going early to the theatre, and possessing himself without obstacle of the seats destined for the remainder of the public, pretends to oppose their entrance in due time, and to prohibit them seating themselves, arrogating to his own sole use property that is really destined to common use. And it is precisely in this manner act the rich”. – St. Basil the Great.

    “Who is the covetous man? One for whom plenty is not enough. Who is the defrauder? One who takes away what belongs to everyone. And are not you covetous, are you not a defrauder, when you keep for private use what you were given for distribution? When some one strips a man of his clothes we call him a thief. And one who might clothe the naked and does not—should not he be given the same name? The bread in your hoard belongs to the hungry; the cloak in your wardrobe belongs to the naked; the shoes you let rot belong to the barefoot; the money in your vaults belongs to the destitute. All you might help and do not—to all these you are doing wrong” –  Basil of Caesarea (c. 330–379), the Father of the Eastern monks who became Bishop of Caesarea

    Epistle of James tells you, “Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up for treasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the labourers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter”

    “Therefore if one wishes to make himself the master of every wealth, to possess it and to exclude his brothers even to the third or fourth part (generation), such a wretch is no more a brother but an inhuman tyrant, a cruel barbarian, or rather a ferocious beast of which the mouth is always open to devour for his personal use the food of the other companions.” – St. Gregory. Nic.

    “Nature furnishes its wealth to all men in common. God beneficently has created all things that their enjoyment be common to all living beings, and that the earth become the common possession of all. It is Nature itself that has given birth to the right of the community, whilst it is only unjust usurpation that has created the right of private poverty.” – St. Ambrose.

    “The earth of which they are born is common to all, and therefore the fruit that the earth brings forth belongs without distinction to all”– St. Gregory the Great.

    “The rich man is a thief”. – St. Chrysostom.

    Our words are our weapons and we turn their words into our weapons. We have the words of the rebel priest John Ball from long ago and many more of the “heretics” like the lollards, anabaptists, taborites, the Ranters

    We can also expose the hypocrisy of slavery being God-ordained and many more the religious cant but if we do not express those criticisms in a comradely way, they will not listen.  Or do we use the same Christian sentiments against our deluded brothers and sisters, compassion, pity, charity.

    We don’t impose our politics, we share them.

    😎

     

     

    #208321
    L.B. Neill
    Participant

    I am a fellow worker, and I believe I mentioned too, of a faith community.

    I was introduced to the long journey of socialism: from being informed by SPGB to books and Marxism.  No discrimination against me at all. When we let our words hurt, liberals point to it as: see, religious oppression by socialists.

    There are people of faith, like what Alan covered in his last post above, that are a point of convergence. There are people of faith who see socialism as a compelling step forward. Let us instead argue against the oppressor, and not let our words fall on the oppressed.

    Alan you pointed out: “Is that the way we try to persuade fellow-workers who happen to be religious” I am a living, typing case study of being a persuaded fellow worker and belong to a faith community.

    Be kind to ye good selves

    LB any rules on smiley faces 🙂

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 22 hours ago by L.B. Neill.
    #208351
    LeonTrotsky
    Participant

    Myth and superstition have no place in the 21st century.  And charity has done nothing to end poverty but perpetuate and sanctify it.  Justice is the role of the state, not the church.  But if you hear voices in your head and want to believe in sky gods, keep it to yourself, aiders and abetters of poverty.

    #208353
    ALB
    Participant

    Irrespective of which institution — the state or the churches— should look after the poor, the Times of London headlines its report of the same document that started off this thread: “Churches want state aid to keep them going”.

    Incidentally, the main church concerned — the Church of England— is actually a part of the UK state as the established church in England (but not in Wales or Northern Ireland). In Scotland the State church is that of a different Protestant sect — the Presbyterian Church of Scotland also known as the Kirk,

    When the Queen as head of the UK state crosses the border into Scotland she undergoes a religious conversion from being an Anglican (Episcopalian) to being a Presbyterian. Not many people know that rather trivial piece of information.

    #208354
    james19
    Participant

    which church to go to this morning: the Roman Catholic one headed by that nice Pope or the Church of England

    —-

    CoE schools don’t teach that the Earth is flat. Or holds back humanity, because it opposes Science?

    #208356
    ALB
    Participant

    As far as I know only Islamic schools funded by Saudi Arabia do that, though I think there have been some attempts by American creationist christians to infiltrate the UK education system but without success.  Both the Roman Catholic and the English Churches have long since accepted that the Earth is spherical and Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection. They just think that their god started it off and, at some point, introduced a soul into the species homo sapiens but they teach that in RI not biology classes.

    #208357
    L.B. Neill
    Participant

    “Myth and superstition have no place in the 21st century.  And charity has done nothing to end poverty but perpetuate and sanctify it.  Justice is the role of the state, not the church.  But if you hear voices in your head and want to believe in sky gods, keep it to yourself, aiders and abetters of poverty.”

    LT,

    Religion as a social fact, expresses itself through world epochs and is an anthropological constant. It can’t just be wished away, nor silenced. And disregarding people’s belief system causes its own set of problems and hierarchies of who has the right to expression.

    I do share with you that charity is a symptom of capitalism and other forms of coercive control. “If I feed someone they call me a Christian and if I ask why- they call me a communist” . I am caught between both these signifiers. Support and scorn in two traditions from people who want me to give up on one, the other, or even both.

    In the classical tradition of Marxist theory, Karl Mannheim in Ideology and Utopia noted that no one should be caught by incredulity if they seek to teach an empty vassal (people) and find they are already filled with many meaning making practices.

    I hope someday society, and not the state, construct notions of justice- by giving sole legitimacy to the state, we become subordinate and anterior to it.

    Degrading people of faith, can only build resistance to socialism- turn them in to a ‘lower’ class of expression and alienate them from public discourse. You might express an incredulity to it in the Twenty First Century, but it continues in its patterns of narration.

    Responding to assist is subjective. On my way to drop my kids at school today I noticed an older man fall. I stopped and helped- thinking it to be a medical emergency, it was a bad fall.

    I disregarded the invitation to self-hood and drive past ‘everyone for themselves’. So I stop. A collective and positive trait, not charity in itself… He is okay, and thanked me for seeing he was okay. We all should stop for each other…

    I hope you have a good week,

    And be safe,

    LB

    #208358
    Wez
    Participant

    ‘Religion as a social fact, expresses itself through world epochs and is an anthropological constant.’

    You can say the same of exploitation, authoritarian hierarchies, superstitious ignorance, fear of the unknown etc. Does that mean we shouldn’t seek to eradicate these things from the human community? Isn’t it our duty to oppose the belief systems that support such iniquities?

    #208359
    L.B. Neill
    Participant

    Wez,

    I know. And you have a point there.

    Religions can be used as instruments of oppression that are part of the problem. They can also be a means of speaking out against oppression. The thing is- if we give over to a few who decide which is considered an actor in subjugation, there is a risk of setting up a ‘deciding committee’ that runs the risk of becoming oppressive itself.

    Speaking out against oppression is crucial.

    At some point, the historical conditions of the end to the history of the class struggle will reach that final moment of decidability- and the social totality will usher in a new period.

    When I speak of a utopian social society, some think I am encourageable (an idealist believing in a tale). And again: the Two key signifiers converge (belief). One a community of conviction, the other, a community of conviction. A kind of Terry Eagleton posture.

    When I stay in the domain of Social Science, there is a certain freedom in exchanging views.

    But is it preferred, to stay in that domain, rather than express another- now that is a complex in itself.

    I have found the current thread to be engaging and challenging and an expression of views that differ, yet have commonality. This is how debate offers newer positions and for me- a chance to interrogate  and learn- and not take a statement for granted.

    Changing the mode of production to socialism will benefit all, and the use of charity will end. It would serve no function. Right now that is with us: charity- and it is a barometer for the presence of inequality, and the use of money, and all other barbarities.

    We  can enter several domains of thought from technical knowledge to artistic, to even telos modes of veridiction. We a psychological flexible beings.

    Here is to that eventful day- an end to struggle…

    LB 🙂

     

    • This reply was modified 6 days, 3 hours ago by L.B. Neill.
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    • This reply was modified 6 days, 1 hour ago by L.B. Neill.
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