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Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

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Seven Deadly Sins of Europe 3: Environmental Gluttony 

As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates. 

The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia describes gluttony as “the excessive indulgence in food and drink. The moral deformity discernible in this vice lies in its defiance of the order postulated by reason, which prescribes necessity as the measure of indulgence in eating and drinking.” It is opposite of contentment and fasting. Gluttony is exetremely common in Europe and the rest of the so called Western world, not only in its original food sense but also when it comes to consuming other goods. In fact, consumerism is the defining social end economic order in modern Europe.

Consumerism is caused by the economic envy of Europe which sees endless economic growth as the main political goal, and it is because of this consumerism we see the horrible greedy neo-colonisalism where Europe enslaves poor workers in Asia and Africa. But not only does consumerism oppress poor workers, it also destroys the environment. It becomes increasingly clear that the world’s climate, water, forests, air, flora, fauna and more get polluted and destroyed by sinful humanity. The environment is a broad topic so let me just focus on the main environmental issue of our time: climate change.

I don’t want to spend so much time refusing climate skeptic’s arguments since that has already been done by others – check this website to find good replies to what they say. We have to agree that man-made climate change is a fact, and that it is caused by inequality and injustice. As the video above shows, it is mostly rich countries that has caused climate change due to their industrial pollutions while it is the poor countries that will suffer the most from climate change’s consequences. Climate change is thus not just one of the biggest market failures, but also one of the biggest neo-colonial strikes against the global south. Europe gets rich through pollution and let the poor countries pay the expensive, life-costing bill.

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Seven Deadly Sins of Europe 2: Neo-Colonial Greed

As the election to the European Parliament gets closer, I want to highlight some of the biggest European sins that unfortunately are not very present in the political debates. 

money-1428594_1920

Greed, or avarice, is acoording to the New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia the inordinate love for riches. Its special malice, broadly speaking, lies in that it makes the getting and keeping of money, possessions, and the like, a purpose in itself to live for… In so far asavarice is an incentive to injustice in acquiring and retaining of wealth, it is frequently a grievous sin.” Greed is of course the natural consequence of the economic envy that I see in Europe today. And its consequences are enormous, brutal and extremely sinful.

We’ve all heard about colonialism; how Europe took control of territories all around the world and exploited the indigenous people, took their resources and ruled their societies. And many think this is something that lies in the past. But let me introduce you to the neo-colonialism that Europe (together with other rich countries like the US, Australia and China) are practicing again to gain wealth and influence in a very greedy fashion. There are many types of neo-colonialism, involving politics, culture and even religion, but since we’re discussing greed here we will focus on economics.

1. The use of cheap, exploited labour in the globalized economy. It is no secret that the big, multinational companies of the West use cheap labour in the majority world – our coffee is made in Ghana, our toys in China, our clothes in Bangladesh, etc. There are countless examples of how workers in the supply chains for these companies are suffering due to horrible working conditions; mimimal wage, forced labour, long working days, health risks and environmental destruction. There are even examples of child labour, slavery, and child slavery. Surprisingly, it’s totally legal to sell goods in Europe that has been produced during horrible working conditions, slavery and by child labour, even if those practices are illegal within Europe. Furthermore, even if the working conditions would be decent the whole system of hiring cheap labour while enjoying big profits in the West only promotes global inequality and injustice. (more…)

Seven Deadly Sins of Europe 1: Economic Envy

At the end of this month the people of the European Union will elect its members for the European Parliament, and I would like to take this opportunity to discuss European politics. Europe has a tragic, sinful history of war, racism, colonialism, oppression and imperialism – and even though the EU thankfully has made its member countries less prone to wage war against each other there are still many sins present in the European society. In a blog series I would like to cover what I see as the seven deadly sins of Europe that we Europeans have to deal with.

The seven deadly sins has its origins among the monastic desert fathers in the fourth century. As the monks and nuns escaped civilization and were lonely with God in prayer, they discovered the darkness of their own soul as their hearts made them lust for evil. The seven deadly sins are emotions rather than actions, since the desert fathers discovered that they unfortunately continued to sin even as they were not doing very much except praying and weave baskets. The seven deadly sins are thus not the most harmful sins – and hardly the deadly sins John talks about in 1 Jn 5:16-17 – but the sins that according to the desert fathers are the hardest to cure.

One of these sins is envy, or jealousy. The New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia defines it as: “a sorrow which one entertains at another’s well-being because of a view that one’s own excellence is in consequence lessened. Its distinctive malice comes from the opposition it implies to the supreme virtue of charity.” A loving person rejoices when it goes well for one’s brother or sister; a jealous person is, well, jealous. Envy requires egoism and a desire for success and possessions.

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Imperialist Russia vs. Neo-Nazi Ukraine vs. The Kingdom of God

So if it wasn’t bad enough that we almost got a new war in Europe – something that thankfully looks less probable today compared to last weekend – for the first time since World War Two there are Nazis in a European government. And because of the enormous threat of mother Russia this has been so supressed in the media flow that many people don’t even know that Ukraine’s temporary government include five neo-Nazis, that for instance occupy the ministry of defense. Not to say that the threat from mother Russia is something to play with, but the same is true for neo-Nazis who control the Ukrainian army, and I think we need a broader picture fo the situation to condemn violence and stupidity from both parties.

During the Soviet era millions of Ukrainians starved to death because of Joseph Stalin’s agricultural reforms. Stalin also made sure that Russians migrated to Ukraine and other satellite republics in the USSR to control them. Today, around one third of Ukrainians speak Russian and 17 % identify themselves as ethnically Russian, most of them living in eastern Ukraine or on Crimea.

After the fall of Soviet Ukraine has been one of those countries that has had a hard decision in choosing to be either Western or Eastern, or neither, or both, or in-between. Generally, people in western Ukraine likes to be Western, and vice versa. As we all know, the guy who used to be president until a week ago, Viktor Janukovych, was pro-Russian and declined to sign a treaty with the EU, which made pro-Western citizens in Kiev very angry and they protested aggresively, the police answered violently, people died and finally Janukovych fled to mother Russia.

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Pray for Moldova

The poverty is devastating in Moldava. It is one of the poorest countries in Europe. You can help easily.

This video is made by “Serve East”, founded by brothers and sisters from the Vineyard in Bern, Switzerland. They pour out their hearts and lifes into this country.

Pray for the people of Moldova to encounter a God who gives them hope, acceptance, justice and restoration.

Visit “Serve East” here: http://www.serve-east.ch/
or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stepout.goeast

The Rise of Neo-Nazism in Greece

The far right is on the rise in Europe. Xenophobic, islamophibic and racist parties and movements have gain ground dramatically the past decade, probably fueled by the economic crisis.

In Switzerland, the Schweizerische Volkspartei, the country’s biggest party, depict immigrants as black sheep that needs to be kicked out, and they have succeeded with banning minarets.  In Hungary, the third-biggest party Jobbik has formed a paramilitary Hungarian Guard that marches in romani areas, and a Jobbik member of parliament recently said that it was time to “assess how many MPs and government members are of Jewish origin and who presents a national security risk to Hungary”. But the most worrying far-right movement in Europe is, I would say, the Greek party Golden Dawn.

Golden Dawn Symbol

Golden Dawn Symbol

Golden Dawn is the first Nazi party to occupy seats in a European parliament since the second world war. The party themselves denies being neo-Nazi, however, the evidence that Nazi ideology is an inspiration to them is enormous. Their party symbol, an ancient Greek meander, is often depicted black on a burgundy coloured background, which makes it strikingly similar to the Nazi swastika. On numerous occasions members of the party have given the Roman sallute, widely used by the Nazis, and one Golden Dawn MP has “Sieg Heil” tattooed on his arm.

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The Problems with a European Pope

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Peter Turkson, possibly the next pope

Yesterday, world news was dominated by the announced retirement of Pope Benedict XVI. After having been amazed by the fact that he is the first pope to resign in almost 600 years, the global media started to speculate about who would become the next bishop of Rome. Many think or hope that he will come from Latin America or Africa.

Since I’m not a Catholic, and especially not a cardinal, it could be argued that I shouldn’t express views on pope elections. But as a Christian with love for all of Christ’s church, across denominations as well as nations, I still want to question the European dominion over the Holy See.

I respect Catholic’s conviction that all popes are elected through the prophetic guidance of the Holy Spirit; still all prophecy should be tested (1 Th 5:19-20). Was it really the will of God that during the last 500 years when Catholicism has expanded across the globe, especially in Latin America, all popes have been European? In fact, before John Paul II, every single one was Italian. Apart from a few North Africans and Syrians, and S:t Peter himself of course, all popes have been white Europeans during all of church history.

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