Love Football Hate Poverty

Today I got my regular email from the World Development Movement, with the title “Love Football Hate Poverty”. Since none of the UK countries qualified, they’ve got this great idea of encouraging people to cheer for countries based on those that are the most just: giving the most in aid, spending the most on childcare, and so on.

who should i cheer for euro 2008 button WDM ranks all the teams playing in Euro 2008 to find the most supportable – based on a whole load of facts and figures – the results might surprise you!…
Of course our supportability ranking isn’t an overall ranking of how ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we think any country is but it does throw up some suprises.

Despite trying to avoid football like the plague – rugby is clearly a superior sport!- I think this is a fantastic idea, and I’m gonna be cheering for teams like Switzerland who rank high up the list of just countries.

Wanna join me? Who are you supporting?

World Water Day

Today (as you might have guessed by the title!) is World Water Day.

Right now, 1.1 billion people on the planet don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s one in six of us.

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation causes 80% of all sickness and disease, and kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Many people in the developing world, usually women and children, walk more than three hours every day to fetch water that is likely to make them sick. Those hours are crucial, preventing many from working or attending school. Additionally, collecting water puts them at greater risk of sexual harassment and assault. Children are especially vulnerable to the consequences of unsafe water. Of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and a lack of basic sanitation, 90% are children under 5 years old.



One way to help: get involved in charity:water

It’s Not A Game

A friend and I were talking one day last week and got round to thinking about this statement of ‘its not a game’.

I went to a lecture by Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda, two weeks ago today, and the conversation reminded me of it again. Kagame delivered a lecture, entitled ‘Education for Development: African/Rwandan Challenges’, after receiving an honoury degree. It was a very interesting night – his lecture was relatively short, but he stood and answered questions for over an hour off-the-cuff – while his answers were very political (i.e. not very enlightening), I was impressed that he took Q&A for so long, and especially entirely unscripted.

In a news report from last week, Sir Russell Muir (University of Glasgow Principal) is quoted as saying, “Paul Kagame is the central figure in the rebirth of Rwanda and he is one of the most impressive leaders in Africa. He preaches a doctrine of security, guided reconciliation, anti-corruption, and above all a drive toward self-reliance that he hopes will free his country from its heavy dependence on foreign aid.” I’m not so sure what to make of Kagame… he does seem to have been a key figure in the resilience of Rwanda, but does that negate the questions over his past and his involvement in the genocide?

Anyway, back to the point. During Q&A, someone asked Kagame about Rwanda’s involvement in the strife in DRC. It came up a few times before this question, but Kagame’s reaction was very much one of passing the blame. He firmly shifted the focus onto the (rich) Western world and what it’s involvement in DRC is. (On a side note, I think it’s good we think about this – we have a responsibilty too – but I would have been very interested in what Rwanda is actually up to there.)

Cut to: Reading a recent email from Jubilee Debt Campaign about the debt situation in Liberia. Last month Liberia’s debt cancellation was delayed again. Liberia has a massive $4.3 billion debt, mostly built up during 14 years of civil war. IMF shareholders have been discussing how to resolve this issue for more than 18 months. At the IMF’s annual meeting in Washington last month, countries blamed each other for the stalemate. Meanwhile, the people of Liberia, one of the poorest countries in the world, face life expectancy of just 42 years and an average daily income of $0.33.

It’s easy for us to spend months and years debating over the best way to do something, even something good like debt cancellation. But this is not a game to them. It’s life and death. 18 months living on $0.33 a day might mean your kids don’t live through another year. 18 months living on $0.33 a day might mean losing your wife because you can afford to pay for ARV drugs. 18 months living on $0.33 a day might mean both your parents die and you’re left to look after your 4 little brothers and sisters because they couldn’t get clean water.

This is not a game. It’s life and death.

When will we wake up?

Want to help? Check out JDCs website for more information and ways to get involved.

Global Poverty Prayer Week

This is what we’re up to this week…

Tearfund Global Poverty Prayer Week

Tearfund’s Global poverty prayer week (12-18 November 2007) pulls together thousands of Christians hungry to hear God and keen to be part of a miracle. We’re thinking and praying about issues of justice and poverty, and trying to create space to allow God to be working in our hearts and lives to change us and use us to change to world.

Jesus make us your hands and feet in a hurting world.

Urban Expressions

Time to share and expand…

On Monday evening I went to an information evening for Urban Expressions Glasgow, an inner-city church planting initiative. Stuart Murray-Williams spoke a little on what’s different about urban church planting, before we split into a couple of sessions to talk more in depth about either getting involved in UE Glasgow or about more of the theoretical issues of urban church planting. I got incredibly excited about this all. I only really went because Reuben told me I needed to come… I’m glad he did! I love UEs core values… relationship, creativity, and humility. Key issues.

Some things Stuart Murray-Williams shared…

Inner cities are places of marginilaty, and God is in the margins. Mission is not trickle-down, but seep-up.

There is a deep suspicion of incomers. We are not people who just come to “do our project” on them.

Inner-city church planting is multi-faceted – questions if it is church planting or holistic mission?

Suburban heresy: seperating social justice and evangelism.

The idea of a fallow year – a year of being before doing.

Jesus’ whole ministry is framed by food – he starts by turning water into wine, ends with the last supper, followed by a post-resurrection BBQ on the beach.

Towards the end of the evening Doug Gay (who lectures at the University of Glasgow coincidently) read a poem he wrote a while ago, entitled “A New Glasgow“. It is a beautiful picture of what Glasgow could be like if we take seriously our call to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God (as a wiser man than me once said).

It was a privillege to be there and get to talk to so many people in Glasgow who are committed to not only planting churches but to living out lives of justice.

Read Pauls (team leader) blog here…