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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.
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…)
Feeling depressed about all the wars, poverty, corruption, terrorism, famines and natural disasters in SSA? There sure is a lot to pray for and work against, but praise God – it’s getting better! Here’s some statistics from ONE:
Now of course there are regional differences; and even though things are generally getting better, the social, economic and political status of SSA countries are still very low compared to many other parts of the world. But we should never lose hope, change is possible! Let’s pray and work for more development, peace and revival on the beautiful African continent!
Some time ago I was having lunch with the leader of the Swedish Pentecostal movement. I had contacted him in order to share my vision of combining signs and wonders with peace and justice, and he offered to meet me. When we sat there I explained how important it was to eradicate poverty, fight climate change and work for peace, and then I remarked that I had to leave the lunch a bit early since I was going to participate in an act of civil disobedience in a detention center not far away, where the police would deport people to Iraq the same night. He looked at me and said “I really share your conviction that these issues are very important, but please reflect upon how much the ordinary believer is obliged to do.”
I got his point. Most Christians aren’t willing to lay so much time on activism as I do; in fact, for many of them “activist” is a quite alien term. And I agree with that there are different functions in the body of Christ – some focus on activism, others on preaching, others on evangelism and so on.
Still, just as the presence of preachers doesn’t mean that everyone else shouldn’t know any theology, every believer should care for peace and justice to some extent. The question is: what extent? Well, when we look at the Scriptures, it is striking that many of the commandments to all believers are very radical when it comes to peace and justice: