Wednesday, March 24, 2010

more on values



This is a photo from Greg Williams, Oxfam, from an Oxfam article Make Trade Fair The Issue, 2005.

Wallis in his Values book mentioned that Bono, lead singer of U2, donated two autographed T-shirts to Wallis’s wife for an auction (p.166).
Again, I came across reference to Bono on the Sojourner’s site, where he had commented on Wallis’s book God’s Politics.
"The Left mocks the Right. The Right knows it's right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try to understand each other's point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue."
It made me reflect on the concept of values as a moral compass. It is the worth we place on something. If we value something we hold it in respect and treasure it. We put a price on it. Wallis’s book shows us social justice is to be respected, treasured, invested in, and practised.

For example, when I went on Bono’s web page I saw the value he places on social justice. He travels to Third World countries, connects with aid agencies doing relief work (World Vision), performs benefit concerts for Amnesty International work, campaigns for Greenpeace, promotes Fair Trade products, raises money to fight AIDS, TB and malaria, and lobbies to reduce Third World Debt in the poorest nations. See more information by following this link http://www.atu2.com/band/bono/

In the book U2 on U2 Bono speaks of his heart being “broken” by the everyday tragedy in Africa – the “waste of lives and opportunity”. He speaks of the large amounts of money loaned to African nations during the Cold War by the richest nations. “We were keeping entire countries in debtors’ prisons. The injustice of it really struck a chord with me. It wasn’t a charity-based idea, it was a justice-based idea. .. dropping debts…an historic act of grace that would provide a fresh start for a billion people living on less than a dollar a day.”

My thinking about actions Bono is taking in social justice is helping me frame my own response to Jacob’s question. What are values? They are the things we do. Where do they come from? They come from conscious choices. Who decides what values are important? We do in our everyday decisions. This is on one level. There are also macro levels where other people’s decisions govern our lives, such as Africa. The concept of “historic acts of grace” being shown at an international level is a powerful one.

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