Saturday, November 13, 2010

Feedback welcome (welfare; 5.3)

I was afraid I might be missing something in these three paragraphs.  Thoughts on this section...
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Certainly we can debate how to help others best. James Dobson once popularized the idea that “love must be tough.” His basic claim was that love does not always give a person what he or she wants. It may actually be better for others to let them experience the consequences of their actions in the hope that they will become better. In that sense, simply giving to others will not always be the best way to help them. By now the old proverb about fishing is well known: Give someone a fish and you have fed them once. Teach someone how to fish and you have fed them for a lifetime.

In our world, we have created a new issue. Western societies have gone at least half way in providing food and resources for the needy. But we have sometimes left such individuals with no desire to fish. The needy of Jesus’ day were so desperate, they would have likely fished at any opportunity. No doubt the poor of the two-thirds world would love nothing less than to work to feed themselves today. Immigrants to America today are some of the hardest working individuals you can find. Unfortunately, at times Western democracies have only partially empowered the disempowered and left some of them in a half-way state that is neither sufficient nor motivating to do something about it. The loving thing in such cases may be neither simply to provide fish or opportunities to learn to fish. In some instances, they may need to want to fish.

But none of this is an excuse to abandon the needy, especially with some warped sense of justice. God loved us when we were his enemies, when we were still sinners (Rom. 5:8). So those who use the current state of things as an excuse to do nothing are clearly in the wrong. What we should do to help others may change depending on the circumstances, but the drive to help others--even to the point of personal sacrifice--is a Christian absolute, without exception.

6 comments:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Who chooses the sacrifice and what "tough love" might demand for the "greater good"? This is the crux of the matter for me.

Co-ercion whether from government, or Church is a little tenuous, in regards to the "demands" of the "Gospel". Are we to suppose that the "Gospel" is to be mandated by law? And therefore to be enforced because we are commanded to be loving. (God is the tyrant that must be appeased with service to those he "loves". Isn't this a little like killing oneself for God?). Doesn't that, then, annihlate the love that is to be "freely given", "done in secret" or as a "cheerful giver", etc. etc.?

It seems to me that science doesn't allow such liberty because it is imperative to get the answers to man's problems, and the worlds needs. Control is a necessary part of scientific experimentation. Therefore, "control" becomes a necessary part of the social experimentation. Humans are only a part of the "whole of nature", therefore, it is no more immoral to experiment on human beings, than animals, or plants....and it is much more important to protect the "nation" when it comes to sacrificing the one...

This way of thinking is in opposition to everything that our country has stood for in civil liberties, equality before law, representation, indivdidual liberites, and human rights...

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I want to add, that it is most probable that we are affected, and sometimes deeply, by our own experieces and attitudes that were held by our family or origin. And it is almost impossible to remove those glasses from our eyes as they are so real to us. But, how the family has learned to function in regards to money is how money is understood. This is why so many times marriages are torn apart by the difference in attitudes the couple holds toward money.

Was money a "gift", a "right", a "value", a "goal", a "purpose", a "validation", a "by-product", or WHAT?

Whatever values a particular family holds about money transfers much meaning about life and what it is about.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

more meanings;
"security", "opportunity", "importance", "sustanance", etc.

The problem with so many meanings, how can anyone else decide what or how money is to be used? Shouldn't one's understand of money, just as their understanding of "faith" be "meaningful" to them?

Or are we to think that there is only one way of seeing of viewing money, faith and life, itself?

Mike Mather said...

The use of the example of fishing makes me think of a friend here in Indianapolis, Joe King. Joe is retired now. As a boy he lived near Fall Creek with his mother and his grandmother. Every day after school around 5 pm...the men returning from work would head down to Fall Creek and go fishing. And Joe would join them. "That was my television" he says. They ate what they caught. That was a way that the poor often survived. But you would hardly dare eat one of the few remaining fish you could find in Fall Creek anymore - we have so poisoned the waters. The food, the manna, provided - is no longer there. So where is it?

npmccallum said...

Perhaps I'm reading a bit much into it, but this statement appears a bit naive to me: "The needy of Jesus’ day were so desperate, they would have likely fished at any opportunity." Surely we have created a precedent setting number of people who don't want to fish. But that doesn't at all imply that this class of people didn't exist during Jesus' time. "If a man does not work, let him not eat" and all that.

Other than that, great post.

::athada:: said...

Yes, new context and new questions.

Who owns the fishing hole? Did anyone put fences up? And who put PCBs in the food chain?