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Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

Micael Grenholm, a Swedish charismactivist, apologist and author.

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How Nationalism and Inequality Makes the Coronavirus Pandemic Even Worse

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Originally posted at PCPJ.

As the new coronavirus spreads across the world there is a big risk of it killing tens of thousands if not millions of people. The complaint of the World Health Organization is that many countries are ill-prepared for handling this.

It’s not hard to see why.

Two things are crucial for stopping a pandemic: international cooperation and universal health care of good quality. When these are missing, the likelihood of certain areas around the world becoming infection hubs increases, which in turn spreads the disease uncontrollably. (more…)

God vs. Billionaires

Originally posted at PCPJ.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam has released a devastating report that unveils the extreme economic inequality of our world today. The report shows, among other things:

  • The 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
  • Women and girls put in 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day —a contribution to the global economy of at least $10.8 trillion a year, more than three times the size of the global tech industry.
  • Getting the richest one percent to pay just 0.5 percent extra tax on their wealth over the next 10 years would equal the investment needed to create 117 million jobs in sectors such as elderly and childcare, education and health.

Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar commented on the report by saying:

“Women and girls are among those who benefit least from today’s economic system. They spend billions of hours cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Unpaid care work is the ‘hidden engine’ that keeps the wheels of our economies, businesses and societies moving. It is driven by women who often have little time to get an education, earn a decent living or have a say in how our societies are run, and who are therefore trapped at the bottom of the economy.

“Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women. No wonder people are starting to question whether billionaires should even exist”.

(more…)

Why Churches Should Abandon Stage Lights and Fog Machines

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Are there any reasons to believe that colourful stage lights and fog machines are anything else than the toys of Christian stage technicians and a compensation for lack of Biblical revival? No. The global trend of churches investing billions of dollars in superfluous show equipment has increased dramatically over just the last few decades, but not many have asked themselves why we do it and what happens to church when we do it.

Of course, if someone dares to question this unbiblical practice that person is easily dismissed as someone who doesn’t understand young people or who isn’t into culturally relevant evangelism. So hi, I’m a young evangelist, and I hate stage lights. And fog machines, those horrible, stupid fog machines! How painfully obvious isn’t it that modern, Western churches lack God when they literally try to fabricate something which the Scriptures describes as a manifestation of the Lord’s presence?

As I’ve explained in my God vs Wealth series, Jesus doesn’t want us to be rich but live as simply as possible so that we can give as much to the poor as possible. This applies not just to individual disciples but to churches as well. There are hundreds of millions of Christians around the world living in poverty. If we truly think that they are our brothers and sisters, we can’t ignore their suffering by spending loads of money on superfluities.

As John puts it: “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?” (1 Jn 3:17) (more…)

Is Costa Rica Heaven on Earth?

My dear friend Andreas Lundström who helped me make my new E-book God vs Inequality also made this video for me. It’s based on this blog post about how Costa Rica is a good example of a country that combines a long life expectancy with a small ecological foot print. Most people are quite happy to live there, and they are managing to do so wighou destroying the environment very much. Also, their GDP per capita is about the same as the gross world product per capita: 13,000 dollars a year. If everybody lived like the average Costa Rican, wealth would be evenly distributed, while if everybody lived like the average American, we would need five planets.

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As I have shown people this clip, some have been skeptical. They dig up facts about inequality within Costa Rica, or its horrible sex tourism, or its crima rate, and argue “look Micael, Costa Rica isn’t much of a paradise, is it?” And of course I’m not arguing that it is a sinless state, because such do not exist – the only perfect country is the Kingdom of Heaven. But you can’t get away from the fact that Costa Rica disproves the idea that you need to be rich to have a long happy life, or that it’s impossible to enjoy life without trashing the planet. This is also the case with Kerala in India, a state that combines good health care and education with very low GDP per capita.

The point of the video is that rich countries must get poorer and give away much more of their money to create a fair and sustainable world. Many rich people don’t like this biblical idea because the love for money is a root to all evil (1 Tim 6:10), but Costa Rica show us that low GDP doesn’t mean that you’ll die when your 40 – Costa Rica has a longer life expectancy than the United States! So if you want a fair and sustainable world, live on less than 13 000 dollars a year and give the rest of your money to the poor. God bless you.

Free E-Book: God vs Inequality

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My blog series God vs Wealth has been quite popular, partly because it’s a bit controverisal, partly because I think many share my ideas about economic equality. In a world where the richer get richer while the poor are dying, many Christians realize that Jesus was critical towards the rich and modeled something that would both abolish poverty and wealth, since the two are dependent upon each other. I have returned to this topic several times on this blog, and a couple of weeks ago I got the idea that I perhaps should collect these texts in one volume. Today, I can present to you my first e-book ever: God vs Inequality!

You can download the whole book as a PDF right here: God vs Inequality. It contains all ten parts in the God vs Wealth series, as well as its sequal God vs Poverty and several other texts published on this blog like Should Christians Wear “Formal” in Church?, It’s Time for All Christians to Become Vegetarians and Seven Reasons Why Inequality Sucks. Everything is illustrated by some beautiful photos I captured when I was in South Africa last year (or, to be honest, random stuff I’ve taken from Google Images) and put into an amazing layout by my dear friend Andreas Lundström.

Feel free to spread the document on, print it out and copy-and-paste, I claim no copyright. If you want it in iBook-format, which is what Andreas used to create it with, just send me an e-mail to micael.grenholm(a)gmail.com. If you discover some typos or have general comments about the content, feel free to comment below.

Also I’m very excited about the “real” book A Living Alternative that I have co-authored together with my MennoNerd friends, which will be released this fall. For now though, enjoy God vs Inequality!