Friday, December 18, 2009

Climate change?

There is much debate goin on at the moment about climate change. but whatever you believe there is one thing that everyone would agree on and that is that we need to stop pollution.
With all the sudden interest in the enviroment, there are some issues that must be addressed.
Is this goin to create further inequality between the rich and the poor, where developing countries and poor people are made to carry the burden created by 20% of the world.
Poverty is linked to the exploitation of earth and even the entire system of how the world operates. If we are unable to care for others, then how are we able to care for earth. We need to make sure those who should be held accountable are. We need to ask questions such as who really is goin to benefit and do I trust what I am being told. Doesn't the entire way we live have to change.



Everyone has the freedom to make choices with where they are placed in this world, you can choose to do the best you can with the life your've been given. Every small but significant act counts, simply by reducing, reusing and recycling adds up. Everyone can make a difference and everyone should say that they done what they could. A question to ask yourself, is what attitude do you carry, victory or defeated.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Copenhagen - Real or Scaremongering?


The Copenhagen Summit on Climate Change has started and will no doubt dominate our news media for the next fortnight (unless of course there is something more newsworthy from the camp of Tiger Woods). What do you make of it? Is it simply a lot of career-making scientific scaremongering or is it a real issue of justice (present and future) that we should engage with?

General Eve Burrows (Retired) of The Salvation Army says this:

THE SALVATION ARMY AFFIRMS THAT WE MUST ADOPT LARGE SCALE AND PERMANENT CHANGES IN ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS GOD’S CREATION. IF WE FAIL TO DO THIS,WE RISK THE LIVES OF THE WEAKEST AND MOST VULNERABLE — ESPECIALLY CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY.

The Salvation Army believes that, as people made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), we have a responsibility to use the resources of the earth in a way that ensures that people in this and future generations do not suffer from poverty or injustice. This is part of our stewardship of the earth and our love of others. In the modern world, Christian stewardship implies large-scale and permanent changes in attitudes and behaviour towards God’s creation, so that we begin to “replenish the earth” (Gen. 1:28).

Responsibility was given to humanity to “cultivate and keep” the earth (Gen. 2:15), but humanity has destroyed or is destroying much of God’s creation (Isaiah 24: 4,5).

God’s instruction to “subdue” the earth and “rule” over every living thing (Gen. 1:28) cannot be interpreted to justify exploitation. God gave His people rights and privileges, but these included duties and responsibilities.

Given the finite resources of the world and its expanding population, together with the impact of industrial and rural activities, development must take account of the need to preserve the earth — an exercise in responsible stewardship.

Therefore Salvationists believe the following principles:

  • concern and regard for all life forms, not only human life
  • a striving for a more responsible lifestyle in order to do less damage to the environment
  • investment in regeneration, taking a long-term view rather than short-term xpediency in thought and action
  • care for those who become the victims of the need for environmental stewardship, or who are the victims of environmental vandalism.

Salvationists are encouraged to consider seriously their personal responsibility for the environment by taking practical steps to regenerate and conserve God’s creation" (Cited at http://www.arrcc.org.au/).

What is your take on Climate Change? Is it changing how you live, work and worship?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Christmas that Transforms



A Transformational Christmas is a collaboration between Radio Rhema and Gospel For Asia to make a dent in poverty with our Christmas gift-giving. Its a different kind of Christmas that echoes of the original. If you have the time and the interest go to the Rhema site or have a look at the Good Gifts, Gifts of Hope and Gifts of Life online at World Vision, Oxfam, Tear Fund, Trade Aid and The Salvation Army. Engaging with and giving through these organizations might help you to put a fresh spin on a Story that is still worth telling.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Buy Nothing Day - UK - Saturday November 28th 2009

Buy Nothing Day - UK - Saturday November 28th 2009

It's sad that even on public holidays shopping malls are open and the many many people you see in them. Wouldn't it be great if one day a week, shops weren't allowed to open.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Social Report


The Ministry of Social Development has released its Social Report for 2009. The Report charts something of how our country is faring. It is a good, and at times disquieting read. See the Report at http://www.socialreport.msd.govt.nz/.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Excising Excess - what do we pay for our drinking?

The Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit of The Salvation Army has released its latest report - Excising Excess - Options for using alcohol taxes to reduce New Zealanders' harmful drinking. It can be downloaded from www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy. Engage with it to explore the meaning and place of alcohol where you're at.




Monday, November 2, 2009

Destination World - What are you thankful for?


What are you thankful for? Winton Corps set up Destination World at the Southland Kidz Expo in Invercargill, it was an interactive journey around the world helping children in Southland to experience something of life for children in developing nations. During the weekend we had thousands of children visit the experience.

They got to carry and pump water, experience child labour for a couple of minutes of moving bricks, walk though a mind field, visit a Mercy Ship travelling around the Pacific offering health care and ended up in a Mongolian prison cell.

In the final room children and parents got to talk about the experience and record things they are thankful for. One mum recounted the experience that brought her to tears, her 5 year old daughter began writing what she was thankful for, by saying her jewellery, but quickly realised there was a lot more important things in the world, and was soon asking how to spell water, a safe house, daddy, mummy, my little sister and so on.

It’s a challenge when we live in a world where some have so much, and others have so little. If you are reading this, then you are most likely one of those with much, so take a few moments to think about what you are truly thankful for, perhaps you could post some thoughts in the comments.

Of course we now have a complete set up if anyone to do a similar set up at another event let us know!

Alcohol in our Lives

The Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit of The Salvation Army has released its submission to the Law Commission on Alcohol in our Lives. It can be downloaded from www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy. Engage with it to explore the meaning and place of alcohol where you're at.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Help wanted

The recent tsunami that hit Samoa has left many without homes, yet within the mists of it all has shown just how caring and generous New Zealand is. While many have given, more can be done. Habitat for humanity are beginning the rebuilding of houses, But they need volunteers. If you are interested visit their website at:

http://www.habitat.org.nz/

Friday, October 16, 2009

Economic Faith

Economics and faith: what is the deal?

Max Weber, a German political economist and sociologist, is credited with the insight that our economy is influenced by religious ethics. He is most famous for claiming that the "spirit of capitalism" owes its existence to "the Protestant ethic". Fast forward a century and Tom Beaudon states somewhat critically that "anemic Christianity is the great enabler of abusive capitalism".

What is the connection between our faith and economics? What difference do our beliefs make to how we invest or spend our money? Does our faith determine what we expect of the economy? Should our faith impact on what we think is economically possible or right? How? What drives what?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pass it on

As a supporter of Green peace I recieved this email. For those of you interested in what gets imported in to our Country, read this and sign the petition if you agree. The rainforest is the lungs of the earth and home to many species.

Yesterday we once again took action against Fonterra's climate crimes - this time painting the message Fonterra Climate Crime on a ship carrying palm kernel animal feed in the Port of Taranaki. The feed is destined for Fonterra dairy herds. Its next stop is Tauranga and we will meet it there.Fonterra's use of palm kernel animal feed has been implicated in the destruction of Indonesia and Malaysia's rainforests for palm plantations. Rainforest clearance is one of the worst contributors to climate change and it destroys the last remaining habitat of the orangutan and Sumatran tiger so, as well as stopping palm kernel animal feed imports, New Zealand must also ensure that the timber we import isn't also contributing to rainforest destruction. Over the next month the Government is working on a strategy for how it will deal with illegal timber imports, especially outdoor furniture and decking made from a popular tropical timber called kwila. Imports of kwila are contributing to the destruction of the rainforests of Indonesia, Malaysia and PNG.The Green Party is to table a bill in parliament to amend the Customs Act so as to stop the import of illegal timber. We want this bill to get through its first reading. For this to happen the National government needs to support it.You can help protect the rainforests by sending a message to the Minister of Forestry David Carter urging him to support the Greens bill as well as move quickly to stop the import of illegal timber imports. As a consumer country of products from the destruction of tropical rainforests such as timber or palm kernel, we need to act now to save the forests and the climate.

Nick Young
Greenpeace

Monday, October 5, 2009

Quakes of Grief and Hope



The truth of the Tsunami in the Pacific, the truth of the Earthquake in Indonesia... we grieve with you and we hope for you...

Walter Brueggemann writes: "The gods of death have pushed hard on Friday. But faithful testimony requires a Sunday 'bulletin' that expresses our amazement against the Friday forces of our life. I am no romantic. I know this explosiveness of Easter, which exposes all prior 'truths' as false witnesses cannot be said in many churches. The wonder is that it is available to us. It is a truth we not only fear but also crave..."
(Walter Brueggemann, 2007, The Word Militant)

May we learn to see the truth of that Sunday, the hopeful truth of the resurrection, in our midst...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming events


Starts next Friday in Wellington, But this Sunday Auckland celebrations and events are happening. It is open to individuals or groups wanting to join in or support the world march. It would be great to see the Salvation Army participating.

Here's the link to the events that will be held, make sure to get along:

http://www.fusecreative.co.nz/worldmarch/join.html#2

I thought It'll be great to have a theme song and what better song than Michael Jackson's: Heal the world

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W61Q-EZ8R7M

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Waitakere Says No to Pokies

Waitakere City Council Has just adopted Sinking Lid policy for the Gaming (Gambling ) Policy. With Much persuasian (4000 submissions) from waitakere city citizens, the council choose the Sinking lid out of the three options avalible- this means that no new licences can be granted, and when current licences expire they cannot be renewed (hence sinking lid). Justice is Near! sure it may take another 20 years for all of the pokie machines to disapear and/or the Supercity governing body could overturn the decision but the peoples voices have been heard. Now those who can vote to make such decisions know what we think. Also, as a community, we know what we think- this brings us together, for each others wellbeing and makes us stronger- together (the key word!)

See full article here- http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10598761

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cadbury's switch

Cadbury's switch to Fairtrade will make a difference to poor farmers
26 Aug 09

Cadbury’s decision to use Fairtrade cocoa in its popular dairy milk chocolate bars is a compelling example of the difference consumers have made to the plight of poor farmers in the developing world.

Chocolate lovers in the UK are already enjoying the guilt-free taste of Cadbury’s Fairtrade dairy milk bar, and Oxfam congratulates Cadbury in New Zealand and Australia for giving consumers more Fairtrade chocolate to choose from. When Kiwi shoppers buy a Fairtrade labelled product they are ensuring that producers and growers in the developing world get a fair price for their goods.

“It just goes to show how much power we have as consumers,” says Barry Coates, Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director. “For a major chocolate manufacturer like Cadbury to go Fairtrade is a real tribute to everyone who has been supporting the Fairtrade campaign globally. The more we ask for Fairtrade products, the more supermarkets, cafes and manufacturers will have to listen.”

Sales of Fairtrade Certified products including coffee, tea and chocolate reached NZ$10.5 million in 2008 – an increase of more than 50 per cent from 2007.

Cadbury’s switch to Fairtrade will triple the quantity of Fairtrade products available in New Zealand once the dairy milk bars reach the shelves by Easter next year. Cadbury’s move means than Fairtrade chocolate will be available in almost every supermarket and dairy across New Zealand.

“With the Fairtrade market in New Zealand booming, farmers can sell their coffee, tea and cocoa to New Zealand importers at a decent price, and as a result have income to support their families and communities. Oxfam is also working with New Zealand companies and producers in the Pacific to expand the range of Fairtrade products for New Zealanders to choose from.”

The Fairtrade movement has been one of the most powerful responses to the plight of producers in developing countries who have long been excluded from the benefits of international trade. An impressive 7.5 million people from 59 developing countries now benefit from the Fairtrade system.

“Cadbury is showing real leadership and we hope other New Zealand food manufacturers will follow suit. We will continue to encourage Cadbury and other chocolate manufacturers to source all of their ingredients for all of their chocolate from Fairtrade sources where available.“

Email cadbury to congratulate them but also email Whittakers to put the pressure on them to make the switch, here's the link:
http://www.oxfam.org.nz/index.asp?s1=what%20we%20do&s2=issues+we+work+on&s3=fair+trade&s4=take+action

Monday, September 14, 2009

Our Hope Is You'll Get Mad Enough To Do Something

I've been following invisible.tv invisiblepeople.tv's series of short video interviews with american homeless people.

Their byline is particularly poignant: "Caution: Some content may be offensive. Our hope is you'll get mad enough to do something." - applies to all issues of social justice, really.

Each person interviewed has a story. Each has a name.

Whilst I hope New Zealand's social welfare and health systems are better at catching, and helping, people with stories like these - it is a timely reminder of the real challenges faced by vulnerable people; even in comparatively wealthy societies like ours.

Challenging ...

cross-posted from GavinKnight.com

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CLEAN UP THE WORLD WEEKEND 2009



In 2009, the campaign's flagship event; Clean Up the World Weekend will be held from the 18 -20 of September.

This year, Clean Up the World wants to get 750 groups involved worldwide. Help us reach this goal and make a difference to our earth by registering your activity today, spreading the word and getting your friends, family and co-workers involved in this landmark campaign.

Getting involved is easy! Communities can conduct activities such as clean up events or organise environmental awareness raising activities. Groups, organisations, businesses and communities around the world unite and take action at a local level to address the global issue of climate change.
http://www.cleanuptheworld.org/en/Activities/clean-up-the-world-weekend-2009.html?gclid=CKCItJ3A5ZwCFSn6agodHRrFFg

http://www.knzbcleanupweek.co.nz/

Monday, September 7, 2009

Just a drink?


Alcohol has always been a hotly contested commodity. Diverse groups compete to control it, moderate it, prohibit it, or promote it. The Law Commission is currently fueling something of a national conversation to try and challenge come of our excessive drinking culture. Go to http://www.alac.org.nz/PastEvents_International.aspx to see Sir Geoffrey Palmer give a ten minute presentation of what the Law Commission is saying. What do you think of its recommendations? Who else have you noticed is trying to have a say?

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Future of Sharing

The latest paper from the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit has gone to press. Its entitled "NA TO ROUROU, NA TAKU ROUROU - THE ECONOMICS OF A SHARED FUTURE" and explores the indebtedness of New Zealand and something of a new economic direction. You can get a copy of the paper by emailing me (malcolm_irwin@nzf.salvationarmy.org) or by going straight to www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy. We hope it fuels your imagination to be something of the difference our future demands.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's really in our food

I've been working on a policy inititaive for one of class assignments, it is addressing the issue of food and the differences in quality and pricing. While researching, I came across a policy written by the green party about food, titled Greening the food basket. Ironically it's main points are exactly what my main points were, but better. Here's the link, this is what the standard of our food should be and despite how much income you earn, the quality of food that you buy is the same for everyone.
www.greens.org.nz/policy/food

The demand for better quality of food is based on peoples increasing awareness of the impact on the enviroment, peoples hardship due to the way it's produced and the effect on one's health. The more people are aware and educated on the subject, the pressure remains to change the current to better standards of how our food is produced. A movie called Food Inc has been released in America, soon to be available here.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

International day for the remembrance of the slave trade and it's abolition

On sunday the 23rd August, International day for the remembrance of the slave trade and it's abolition. IT'S NOT OVER YET and still continues to this day, the least we can do is share about why this is still happening and how? Next Sunday speak out, tell your friends, family and congregation. Share the amazing story of grace and what we can do....



Here are some websites to visit:
http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/
http://www.humantrafficking.org/
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/default.aspx

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A shift toward something new?

Time magazine featured these thoughts:
"Numbers alone do not capture the sense that the balance of global economic power is shifting eastward. There have been several moments that seemed to crystallize the zeitgeist, none more memorable than U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's speech in June before the best and brightest at Peking University, the Harvard of China. Not long ago, students there would have been the most respectful and polite of audiences. Yet when Geithner tried to reassure one questioner that China's investments in U.S. government debt were "very safe", the response was perhaps an indication of the onset of a new economic order: the students laughed."
Time, August, 10, 2009.

Are we witnessing a global shift in economic and political power? What of the emerging economies of Brazil and India? How will they change the economic and political landscape of our planet? What do you think it could mean for New Zealand? What do you think of the fuss being made of India and China fueling a global economic recovery? Recovery of what and to what? What do you think it could mean for our pursuit of social justice?

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mobilizing to Save Civilization

This book is worth reading, offering solutions to a new way of existing.
http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/PB3/Contents.htm

A piece taken from it:
Lester R. Brown, Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, Earth Policy Institute, 2008)
From Chapter 2. Deteriorating Oil and Food Security

INTRODUCTION: The twentieth century was the oil century. In 1900, the world produced 150 million barrels of oil. In 2000, it produced 28 billion barrels, an increase of more than 180-fold. This was the century in which oil overtook coal to become the world’s leading source of energy. 1
The fast-growing supply of cheap oil led to an explosive worldwide growth in food production, population, urbanization, and human mobility. In 1900, only 13 percent of us lived in cities. Today half of us do. The world grain harvest quadrupled during the last century. Human mobility exploded as trains, cars, and planes began moving people at a pace and over distances scarcely imaginable when the century began. 2
Today, we are an oil-based civilization, one that is totally dependent on a resource whose production will soon be falling. Since 1981, the quantity of oil extracted has exceeded new discoveries by an ever-widening margin. In 2006, the world pumped 31 billion barrels of oil but discovered fewer than 9 billion barrels of new oil. World reserves of conventional oil are in a free fall, dropping every year. 3
Discoveries of conventional oil total roughly 2 trillion barrels, of which 1 trillion have been extracted so far, with another trillion barrels to go. By themselves, however, these numbers miss a central point. As Michael Klare notes, the first trillion barrels was easy oil, “oil that’s found on shore or near to shore; oil close to the surface and concentrated in large reservoirs; oil produced in friendly, safe, and welcoming places.” The other half, Klare notes, is tough oil, “oil that’s buried far offshore or deep underground; oil scattered in small, hard-to-find reservoirs; oil that must be obtained from unfriendly, politically dangerous, or hazardous places.” 4
At some point in the not-so-distant future, world oil production will peak and turn downward. When it does so, it will be a seismic event. The only world we have known is one where oil production is rising. In this new world, where oil production is no longer expanding, one country can get more oil only if another gets less.
We are witnessing a fundamental shift in the relationship between oil and food, one that has been in the making for several decades. From 1950 to 1972, a bushel of wheat could be traded for a barrel of oil on the world market. The price of each during that period was remarkably stable, averaging just under $2 per bushel of wheat and per barrel of oil. Since then, oil prices have climbed. In late 2007, even with the recent run-up in wheat prices, it took eight bushels of wheat to buy one barrel of oil. 5
Agricultural analysts have long been concerned about the effect of the coming rise in oil prices on food production costs, but now the price gap is so wide that the United States is starting to convert grain into fuel for cars. When the price of oil rises above $60 a barrel, it becomes highly profitable to do this. An estimated 16 percent of the U.S. grain harvest was converted into automotive fuel in 2006. For the 2008 harvest, the figure could be close to 30 percent. 6
The line between the food and energy economies is becoming blurred as the two begin to merge. As a result, the world price of grain is now moving up toward its oil price equivalent. If the food value of a commodity is less than its fuel value, the market will move it into the energy economy.

Also visit: TerraNature
............. working to conserve land and marine habitat, and protect New Zealand's biodiversity
http://www.terranature.org/

Others books by Lester Brown
http://www.earthpolicy.org/Books/index.htm

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Entitlements - who is worth what?

























The concept of entitlement is currently gripping something of our national focus. Do you feel entitled to something? What? How can entitlement be more than simply what we feel is rightfully ours? How can entitlement be a measure of the mutual responsibility we have toward others, a measure of what we’re actively sharing in/with others? Or is it simply a weapon of mass distraction?
See The Rainbow of Entitlement at www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy for some thoughts that could help deepen the conversation.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009



The change machine at Vancouver airport was out of order. This got me thinking as i walked around gastown seeing some real material poverty. Does change ever seem out of order in our situations/our places/our lives/our cities/our streets?
Especially when we walk around places or situations where we feel helpless. All i could do in gas town was smile at the woman with her belongings in a trolley, and the man sitting on the sidewalk with his dog. Its easy to become overwhelmed, its easy to say what can i do. And that is honesty- we are who we are- helpless perhaps sometimes, sometimes full of passion, sometimes we know exactly what to do. But mostly we are us, simply us. Not only do we need to value others for who they are (not what they do), but we need to value our selves for who we are. Because we were created good, to do good, honest and good. more and more as i realise my limitations and potential i love Mother Teresas quote "In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love." followed by " If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." change machine- we are the change machine- honest simple and good.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Absorbing Anger... Together

Anger? Are we angry enough? Are we too angry? Is there a place for anger within our faith? Simon Barrow of Ekklessia says this:

"What marks out the Christian community is its vocation to be ‘a holy nation’, unlike all the other nations and religions with their standing armies and hierarchies. Moreover (and this is crucial) it is the self-sacrificial blood of the Innocent One – not the slaughter of the innocents (or the guilty, for that matter) – that lies at the heart of a radical re-visioning of who God is, who we are and what God’s true purposes are about. The Body of Christ is about absorbing rather than inflicting suffering so that the grounds of enmity and division between human beings can be healed and overcome."
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/

Have a look at the following clip from Jonathan Porritt, director of Forum for the Future, who questions the lack of our angst (sorry for the quality of the sound):


What could absorbing anger look like in our communities? Would it mean that we stand in solidarity with creation... wherever it is suffering? What could it mean to suffer together?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Deep fixes... not making the News

A columist of Newsweek, Fared Zakaria, in Greed is Good (To a Point), June 22, 2009, concludes:

"We are in the midst of a vast crisis, and there is enough blame to go around and many fixes to make, from the international system to national governments to private firms. But at heart, there needs to be a deeper fix within all of us, a simple gut check. If it doesn't feel right, we shouldn't be doing it. That's not going to restore growth or mend globalization or save capitalism, but it might be a small start to sanity."

I love how God keeps on reminding and suprising us.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Power of Community

Due to artificial plunges in oil imports, the Cuban people had to radically, yet naturally cope with the hardships of profound change. After the labors of rebirth, there are advantages there that the world can benefit from, aside from higher education and health care. Communities coming together in gardens. 2006 Community Solution © Community Solutions Inc

This documentary is a must see, the world can learn from the crisis that Cuba faced.

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil crisis.
http://www.livevideo.com/media/playvideo_fs.aspx?fs=1&cid=CD893609A0CB495D9A9CF04AC9E4AEFF

To view other documentary's visit:
http://illuminatenetwork.blogspot.com/

Monday, July 13, 2009

Events to be aware of...

Some great things are happening, be a part of it.

Sign on: A petition to reduce NZ 's emissions by 40% by 2020.
http://www.signon.org.nz/

Start Freedom: A campaign for young people, youth groups etc. Oct 14th
http://www.stopthetraffik.org/startfreedom/october2009/

And

World March: For peace and non violence, starts here in NZ. Oct 2nd
http://www.fusecreative.co.nz/worldmarch/index.html

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What a Difference it could make.

Be sure to watch my house my castle, Mons 8:00, tv2, and check out my husband's handy work. He was the one contracted to do all the painting and how proud I am of him. They worked for less than what their used too, worked longer hours to meet the deadline all for a family they didn't even know. The entire team worked long hours, from early morning through to late at night to try and get it finished.
What they did was great but the fact still remains that their are lots of families, people who not only need this kind of blessing, but desperately.
What a difference it would make if this was the response to a family in need, people dedicated to working long hours, working for nothing all for the sake of blessing someone who needed help and the response was a team working till the job was done. I bet you could probably think of someone right now who could use this kind of help. What ever your talent, what ever your job it's worth blessing someone with.

Also volunteer for habitat for humanity.
http://www.habitat.org.nz/

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Targum for the Recession

I've linked this blog to a targum of Brian Walsh on James 1.1-18. Its a heavy hitting piece of Scripture that continues to speak today. Have a peek... stay a while and with the Word re-imagine a new world.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Alternative approach

The Five Best Anti-Viral Products to Beat Influenza, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and SARS

This is worth browsing through, has interesting ideas on the origins of swine flu.With the resistance to Tamiflu emerging, maybe it's time to let nature take it's course.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just don't do it


A couple of comments from Dorothy Day and Eugene Peterson that have been "jarring" me into a new kind of thinking. Some context. I'm driven; I get a "kick" and a lot of my esteem from over-committing and over-producing; in fact, I feel the deepest anxiety and the most frustration when I'm empty handed, frozen stuck without something to say or show. Dorothy Day challenges my frantic "doings" with some forgotten images of Jesus:
"We are told to put on Christ, and we think of Him in His private life, His life of work, His public life, His teaching and His suffering life.  But we do not think enough of His life as a little child, as a baby. His helplessness. His powerlessness. We have to be content in that state too. Not to be able to do anything, to accomplish anything."
Dorothy Day, 1983, By Little and by Little.

Eugene Peterson says it like this:
"If we are not to simply contribute a religious dimension to the disintegration of our world, join company with the mobs who are desecrating the creation with their hurry and hype in frenzy and noise, we must attend to what we have been given and to the One who gives it to us. One large step in the renewal of the creation today... is to not take the next step: stand where we are, listen to our Lord: attend... adore."
Eugene Peterson, 2005, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places.

Simply stated: I'm learning to stop (and to be o.k. with stopping). 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rules of Change

Three things/thoughts I'm (re)learning:
  1. change comes from connections, from interactions and interconnections, not interventions; change happens when we interact differently with the expectations or patterns that govern our relationships; change happens when we rearrange our relationships, when we re-imagine the rules that shape and structure our sense of reality; in short, things change when we change.
  2. change can come from the least expected of places and the least expected of people; change is not certain or predictable; and, if change can come from the most surprising of people and places, then its direction and its impact can be equally surprising; when it comes to change we’re not in a place of certitude or control; we have to learn be open to chaos, emergence, questions and questioning, paradox, and surprise; we have to stay open to learning, stay teachable. The change guru Eric Young jokes: “We (can only) know two things with absolute certainty: (1) that in twenty years, even ten, our world will look very different, and (2) that the decisions and actions we take today will significantly shape our emergent future. However, we can have no certainty about what the future will be. It is not a good time for control freaks.” Similarly, Rusty and Joanna Pritchard, a couple who fled the comfy green lawns and picket fences of suburbia and intentionally moved into the concrete jungle of the inner city to try and change something of the direction of its harshest neighborhoods, say this: “What convinced us to give it a try? Quite simply... we couldn’t do anything else. We’d been involved in social justice ministries in ‘client/provider’ relationships and found it very unsatisfying. We wanted to be part of a community and learn from people who were trying to live out the gospel of Christ with their whole lives, even if it didn’t make a difference on the ground. Nobody in our group thinks we’ve arrived at answers, just that we’ve joined a community that keeps us asking the right questions.” change happens when we ask the right questions... what or who says it always has to be like this? what or who says this in the only possible reality?
  3. change comes from the imagination and practice of newness.
These comments and insights into the nature of change come from Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Quinn Patton, 2006, Getting to Maybe. It's a good read.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Corporation



This documentary will blow your mind.

The other side of this is the exploitation of people around the world who make these products.
watch another piece of the doco on illuminate network
www.illuminatenetwork.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 11, 2009

WWJD



What one ordinary person can do, if we all responded in the way that Sue has what a different world we'd live in.

you are either part of the problem or part of the solution. (Martin Luther King)

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against
love.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?, 1967.
http://www.mlkonline.net/quotes.html

Friday, June 5, 2009

World Environment Day

Today (5/6/68) is World Environment Day (www.unep.org/wed)... a day to "give thanks"... a day to reflect on the gift of what Walter Brueggeman calls our "un-makeable world."


I got this email from Fraser ... it looks like a great practice of redistributive economics... its seems timely to share it today..


Hi ya ... have you heard about Freecycle?

I have been a member of this for around 6months, and i absolutely love it.


Freecycle is a web community that is committed to "reusing" rather than "refusing" stuff that you don't want or need any more.

It is free to join and all items are free, it is broken down into local communities to make it easy for items to be given/collected

There are a variety of items listed ranging from furniture through to books and computers

the website is http://www.freecycle.org/group/NZ/New%20Zealand


I have benefitted from freecycle by receiving items such as old garden tools no longer wanted by others but wanted by me, CD's and other items

I have also helped others by listing an old piano I no longer needed - it ended up going to a young girl in waiuku who had been wanting a piano to learn on

Fraser
Kids worker
FAiTh KidS MiNiStRY


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Economic humour, and God knows we need to laugh


A friend of mine sent me this cartoon. Enjoy the giggle.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Entitled to what?


The latest discussion paper from the Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit of The Salvation Army has gone to press. The Rainbow of Entitlement explores something of consumerism and what we feel is rightfully ours. You can get a look at it by emailing me (malcolm_irwin@nzf.salvationarmy.org) or by going straight to www.salvationarmy.org.nz/socialpolicy.

Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Economics of Grinch


The Budget of 2009-2010 (http://www.treasury.govt.nz/budget/2009) is grim and expectingly forecasts a future of grimness and grinch-like economics. There is a lot of what is and little imagining of what could be. Its largely disappointing with the same old same thinking getting even more time to "work". And slashing some $166 million from foreign aid is simply a hypocritical practice of protectionism, isn't it?
Enough griping. Dream a little with me. What are the alternatives? What could we do? What could we do differently? How could you and I change how we interact with the economy? Where could you and I collaborate in our communities to witness of newness?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Subsidies for All?

The reintroduction of subsidies for US farmers will ease the pressure of the recession for the US. However, this is a move that puts many countries including New Zealand into a less than desirable position. Subsides mean that the farmers receiving a subsidy will continue to produce products, possibly more (because it is cheaper), and thus the market suffers. It suffers because the price of the product drops due to over supply or US farmers being able to supply product at a cheaper price, therefore developing countries or smaller countries will struggle to sell their product and or struggle to sell it at a price which covers production etc. Not only is this move selfish in the face of a global recession by an economic super power. But also hypocritical to revoke subsidy privileges from developing countries, while applying them to your own( yes WTO has done this). Developing countries will continue to suffer under unfair trade rules in this recession. The millennium Development goals including, the reduction of global poverty by half by 2015 in the light of this, become harder and unlikely to be met.
In the face of this big global issue we need to ask, What Can I Do?
• buy locally,
• buy fairtrade or other ethically produced products from developingcountries.
• http://www.avaaz.org/en/ A site to petition world leaders on current issues
• Email our Ministers of Foreign affairs and Trade & share your concerns:
Murray McCully mmccully@ministers.govt.nz.
Tim Grosser (associate) tgroser@ministers.govt.nz.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Attention

Body products has joined the list of Fair Trade certified Products.
Dr Bronners has a range of products from soaps to conditioner that are not only Fair Trade but also Organic and the bottles made from recycled materials. you can't get any better than this.
His Philosopy, is a bit out there but says a lot,they are written on the labels of his products "Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together, all things connect." 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration can solve every problem on God's spaceship earth barring none!" "How to love, for love is God and God is love."

http://www.drbronner.com/index.html


Friday, May 22, 2009

Efficient Incarnation?

The conversations I'm involved in keep on coming back to what is a false though nagging source of tension ... management or mission... maintaining what we have or prophetically re-imagining what could be... fiscal responsibility or responsive trust... what is the difference? If I could make the call, (and many may thank God I can't), I'd err on the side of the missional and the prophetic... I think that is closer to who God is and closer to who we were called to be...

"The prophet is the one who, by use of... tools of hope, contradicts the presumed world of kings, showing both that that presumed world does not square with the facts and that we have been taught a lie and have believed it because the people with the hardware and the printing press (and the official rubber stamp) told us it was that way. And so the offering of ...(hope) is a job not for a timid clerk who simply shares the inventory but for people who know something different and are prepared, out of their own anguish and amazement, to know that the closed world of managed reality is false. The prophetic imagination knows that the real world is the one that has its beginning and dynamic in the promising speech of God and that this is true even in a world where kings have tried to banish all speech but their own."
(Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, emphasis mine).

what is dominating where you're at? which is our future? which is the real world?

Monday, May 18, 2009

A New Kind of Protest

Some comments or thoughts simply "stick", eh. I've had this thought from Shane Claiborne camping in my head for some time now and I can't seem to exorcise it from my thinking:

"Protestors are everywhere, but I think the world is desperately in need of prophets, those little voices that can point us toward another future... Most people are aware that something is wrong. The real question is, What are the alternatives?"
(Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution)

I feel that this is the challenge, or at least its a challenge to me. I have spent too long defining myself and letting myself be defined by what I'm not. There is enough dooms-day prophets clamoring for the headlines with anxious complaints of what can't be done, what has to be managed, whining of scarcity. There is not enough of what Walter Brueggemann calls the practice of the prophetic imagination.... conversations, communities, creative experiments that shift the focus from what is to what could be... practices of renewal, practices of the resurrection... There is not enough hopeful, liberating speech... speech that embodies, energizes, and resources alternatives... or if there is, then, I have to say from where I sit there is definitely not enough sharing of stories.... it could be we're stuck in our own silos... desperately trying to engage with the noble cause of changing history with only what we have and what we know.... unwittingly repeating and reinforcing the same fragmented individualism and isolationism that has caused the mess we're in... is it time for something different... a new kind of protest... is there enough energy left to create some sort of forum that could energize alternatives... not a committee (good God that would simply be "hell on earth")... a movement of people who hang flesh on and speak of better ways... a network of people sharing and telling a different story .... what could you say to this? what do you think?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fair Trade is Sexy

I know I have to explain the headliner (Sorry if the "sexy" headline meant that you were blocked from coming to this site). I had the privilege last Christmas of going to a Fair Trade plantation in Bribri, Costa Rica. The consistent and fair price that Fair Trade secures for the cocoa farmed in this community has radically altered its future. Firstly, there is the sex. The consistent and fair price means that men no longer have to leave the community to look for employment to compensate for the fluctuating and unfair pricing of "free-markets"; consequently, they get to stay at home for longer periods of time. There is more sex in marriage (and less outside); there is a strengthening of families. Secondly, the community has pooled some of its earnings and constructed its own high school. So what? So now the kids too feel that they have a future in the community, they now know that they no longer have to leave the community to seek further education, they too feel that there is a place in the community for them. See what can happen when you choose Fair Trade? What if Fair trade wasn't simply a case of choosing either this or that? What if we could see that Fair Trade is in fact a sign of the Kingdom of God, a witness of our salvation? What if we started to see that Fair Trade is not a kind of product but the way God wants trade to be organized? Fairly. What difference would that make?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Go Green



East West Organics on West Coast Rd,Glen Eden sell stainless steel bottles and Kathmandu have their own range.
visit these websites:
www.kleankanteen.com
www.ecotanka.com

Friday, May 8, 2009

Dreaming with the Volume UP

A silent community, merely observing the events of the time, would not be a Christian community. (Karl Barth)

Dream up the kind of world you want to live in and dream out loud. (Bono)

What is your dream? Is it possible to be a Christian and be silent? What have you observed that you think we should be making some noise and speaking up about?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


In 2008 Fairtrade Farmers across the world recevied $800,000 from NZ'ers through Fairtrade premiums, thats on top of being paid a fairer and stable price for their product. Awesome effort NZ, goes to show that as consumers we have the power to change the world for the better.

Malcolm raised the issue of 25000 children needlessly dying due to poverty every day. How many children will $800,000 save? I dont know the answer, but i do know $1,600,000 would save a lot more.

Thanks to the Salvation Army for endorsing Fairtrade in 2006. And thanks to those in The Salvation Army all across NZ who have been part of a trade revolution. I know there are others out there in our movement who havn't made the change, perhaps now is the time to seriously consider it personally and in our corps and centres.

So weather its a cup of tea, or a pair of jeans or a t-shirt, make it fair!

Happy Fair Trade Fortnight

To read the full report check visit http://www.fairtrade.com.au/files/FTA_6ppPubDocNZ_web.pdf

Monday, May 4, 2009

Pigs on the News: can we get some perspective?

Today, over 25,000 children will die around the world.

"The silent killers are poverty, hunger, and easily preventable diseases and illnesses... In spite of the scale of this daily/ongoing catastrophe, it rarely manages to achieve, much less sustain, prime-time, headline coverage." (www.globalissues.org).

Why isn't this news worthy?

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Heroes of Mine

The crew from nitechurch of The Salvation Army and the community of the North East Valley in Dunedin. Heroes who ran from the peaks of Treble Cone to the surf of Dunedin to fundraise for the local hospice... that's some 250km in the name of justice and neighbourliness.

What is happening where you're at? Who is your hero?

Monday, April 27, 2009

A New Movement of Enough is Enough


Radical, eh. What do you think? Would you join this movement?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Anzac Day

Anzac Day is a day to collectively remember how we think of ourselves and of what makes us interdependently 'us'. We remember a story that is potentially open to each gender, every generation and to both Maori and Pakeha. The Anzac story is a deep story and a multifaceted source of identity that we can share in together. John Bluck says this:

"Our identity as peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand is emerging, for both Maori and Pakeha, and the Anzac story is part of that journey, more thoughtfully, with less jingoism and flag waving than ever before. Increasingly, Anzac is a word that more New Zealanders, young as well as old, can claim. It is a story that acknowledges fear as well as courage, outrage as well as obedience, skepticism as well as idealism, disaster as well as brilliance, horror as well as great beauty. Anzac is no longer a story told to the beat of drums of war."
(John Buck, 1998, Long White and Cloudy).

"Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends."
(Jesus, the King James version)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Speechless




What can we say?

What should we be saying to our brothers and sisters in Fiji?



Monday, April 20, 2009

Shifting Sand

I'm encountering everyday a classic debate. Its the historic chicken and egg dilemma. What or who is the agent of causality in society? Should we blame the individual or should we find fault in a sick environment that fosters social problems? Is there an alternative to this dualistic thinking? Does it matter where our thinking starts? What is the interconnection between individual behavior and the nature of the society in which we live? The Salvation Army has tried to stand in the middle of this dualistic debate and has tried to keep it in tension with its mission statement of
- caring for people
- transforming individuals
and
-reforming society.

However, what gets the most air time? Which gets the most emphasis? Why? What is that saying of our own thinking?