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?