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Extreme inequality

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Fitzroy-Island-aerial-shot‘The poor you will always have with you.’ Jesus said that. So it’s no surprise if there are poor people and rich people. No scandal. Some will always make good, others will suffer disasters. It happens. C’est la vie…

But now do a thought experiment with me: imagine an island with 100 families on it, and enough food for 100 families. One person on the island steals and hides half the food. He has far, far more than his family needs. Meanwhile 29 other people grab nearly all the rest. They have enough for their fams, and a little to spare. Leaving 70 families to share the leftovers: which turns out to be enough for 3.

Do you think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said you have to expect some poverty?

How do you feel about what happened on the island? Imagine you were in charge there: what would you do?

That island is called planet Earth. Check out this graph.

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On the left is how much money the person owns in assets. In the middle is how many people fall into that category. On the right is the total wealth possessed by that block of people.

So in the dark blue there are 3.3 billion people who own less that US$10K. They are 71% of the world’s adults. That 71% of people owns 3% of the world’s wealth.

Check out the yellow. People who own over US$1 million. They represent 0.7% of the world’s adult population. They own 45% of the wealth.

In other words the top 1% owns more than 50% of the wealth.  They have extreme wealth. The bottom 70% own less than 3%. They face extreme poverty.

What does all this add up to? Extreme inequality.

Let’s go back to the island. Two questions for you.

  1. Are you the one guy who got hold of 50% of the island’s food? Check the pyramid to find out. Are you in or near the yellow segment?
  2. Let me ask you again, if you were in charge of the island, what would you do?

Jesus also said something else about poverty:

There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.  And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores,  who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table. 

You can read how it pans out in Luke 16.

One last question: what does it mean to preach Jesus, if you are the guy who is keeping 50% of the island’s food for yourself and your family?

Today is the day!

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Front page!

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Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 7.50.12 amclick on this link to see the front page!

http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx

and for the full article turn over to page 5.

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Photoshoot

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Some of our Nepalese dancers having a photoshoot today with a newspaper photographer, for a local paper article.

Don’t they look awesome?


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Our Nepalese Festival

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Flyer_Final_eversionWe have so many Nepalese friends here in Canterbury, and they are some of the most beautiful people you will ever meet. But their lives have been darkened recently by the destruction of large areas of Nepal, through the earthquake (actually it was many earthquakes one after the other). Many have family homes destroyed, relatives killed.

As we have heard their stories and shared in their sorrows, it occured to us that we weren’t really sharing in it – not unless we do something about it. Jesus never just stood and watched people in their troubles, he always did something to make a difference. So as a way to stand with our neighbours in their grief, we’re hosting a Nepalese Cultural Festival, called LOVE NEPAL.

Saturday October 10, 6 pm. Free entry, free everything.

It will be a night of gourmet food, dance, live music, traditional costumes, and much more. Everything Nepalese, of course.

And here’s the best bit: on this night we are going to rebuild a school.

Several hundred children at the Shree Sharada public school in Nepal’s Lamsung district cannot go to school because it was destroyed in the quakes. These are some of the poorest children in Nepal, there is no prospect of getting their school back in the next few years. That means no education for years for these needy kids.

Unless they get help.

We are partnering with an awesome charity group called Bridge the Gap Nepal, a group based in Nepal, that has a track record of getting lots done with little. Together we have developed a project to rebuild the Shree Sharada school.

We want to raise $34 000 to rebuild the school. It’s not much, is it. At the school I’ve been working at lately, parents pay about that much each year for each student! But this $34k will get the whole school open and running. Amazing.

How are we going to raise the money? By asking people to make generous donations at the LOVE NEPAL festival.

Everyone around here is pretty excited about Love Nepal. We’ve received support from local community groups. Linda Burney our local state MP is coming. The Mayor of Canterbury, Brian Robson is coming. The local schools are promoting this. Local papers are running articles.

Is this going to be Sydney’s best event this year? I reckon so. It should be an exciting night.

Donations have already started rolling in, as people hear about it and want to contribute, the cause is so worthwhile. What could you spend your money on that’s better than this?

All of this is really our way of saying we belong to Jesus. You know what he said:

A city built on a hill cannot be hid… In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-15

The light? It’s Jesus.

How can you help? Click here for details.

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Loving Nepal

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Here’s me hanging out with some Nepalese friends as we put up the banners for our big LOVE NEPAL night, coming up soon. Looks pretty great, hey?

I guess I’d better tell yall about it very soon!

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