Tag Archives: Poverty

Conference Announcement: Poverty in the Early Church and Now

Engaging with Poverty in the Early Church and Today

Engaging with Poverty in the Early Church and Today
4-5 December 2015
at St Mary’s University, Twickenham (London)

You are warmly invited to our innovative and important conference about poverty in the Centre for Social-Scientific Study of the Bible at St Mary’s University, organised in collaboration with the Christian relief agencies Tearfund and Caritas (Diocese of Westminster).

We’re putting together a collection of top-notch biblical scholars with experts in modern engagement with poverty to explore the issues. Each session will feature a presentation by a biblical scholar and a paper by a ‘modern world’ expert on the same theme, followed by half an hour for conversation about the theme. We shall listen well to what Christian engagement with poverty looks like in both ancient and modern settings, so that we learn about the complex ways in which early Christian ideas and practices relate to modern ideas and practices and vice versa. In other words, the conference aims to address both continuities and discontinuities between the ancient world and today. We are most interested in coming to grips with the full complexity of the matter, in order to inform reflection and action to alleviate poverty today.

The conference is aimed at church leaders, those working in NGOs concerned with poverty, and other thoughtful people. The presentations will draw on deep scholarship and understanding, and will be presented in an accessible way for this audience—this will be a high quality conference!

The speakers are outstanding, and include: John Barclay (University of Durham), Lynn Cohick (Wheaton College), Bruce Longenecker (Baylor University), Myrto Theocharous (Greek Bible College, Athens), Katie Harrison (Tearfund), John Coleby (Caritas), Helen Hekel (Tearfund), Ellie Hughes (Riverbank Trust), Fiona Gregson (Birmingham), Virginia Luckett (Tearfund), the Rt Hon Stephen Timms, MP (Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary), Christopher Hays (Colombia), Francis Campbell (Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham), Hannah Swithinbank (Tearfund), Craig Blomberg (Denver Seminary), Francis Davis (St Mary’s University, Twickenham), and Steve Walton (St Mary’s University, Twickenham).

More details and registration link here: http://www.stmarys.ac.uk/news/events/event/christian-engagement-with-poverty/

How To Give the Poor a 9% Raise, Instantly

Tell them to stop wasting their money on the false hope provided by the method of gambling called ‘the lottery’, for which they spend – on average – 9% of their income, according to Business Insider.

The Mega Millions jackpot has inspired much media babble about lottery winners, losers, and what to do if you actually win. But how about the effect of lotteries on the poor?

Apparently, it’s a killer “hidden tax”—because households banking less than $13,000 a year spend 9% of their annual income on lottery tickets. Business Insider found the shocking statistic in a PBS interview, and says it raises serious questions—like, are the poor too dumb to avoid odds 17 times worse than your chance of being hit by falling airplane parts? The likely answer: No, they’re just grabbing at any chance to improve their circumstances. Looking behind the numbers, Business Insider also asks: If the poor are receiving tax breaks, welfare, etc., is that money going straight into lottery tickets? Wouldn’t it be better just to tax them? Or, in this tax-averse nation, is it better to raise all tax revenue through lotteries? While you chew on that, consider that some experts disagree with the 9% estimate, and say the poor only throw away 2% to 3% of their income on lottery tickets.

Given the fact that I’ve personally seen folk below the poverty line buying $30-$50 worth of tickets at a time when they get their monthly check, the lower range of 2-3% seems exceedingly low and the 9% does too.

If you could give yourself, though, even a 3% raise right now, wouldn’t you?

Sometimes the Truth Really Hurts

If We Continue At This Pace, We Americans Too Will Be Members of the Third World

From CNN

More Americans fell below the poverty line last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Tuesday.  The nation’s poverty rate rose to 15.1% in 2010, up from 14.3% in 2009 and to its highest level since 1993.  Last year marked the third year in a row the rate increased. All told, 46.2 million people are considered in need. In addition, real median household income last year was $49,445, a 2.3% decline, the Census Bureau reported.

So while the rich continue to get richer (thanks, Republicans!), the poor are getting poorer and there are more of them.  Pretty soon we can be Somalia.  Thanks Greed!

America’s Disgraceful Poverty Rate

Potentially so rich, practically extremely poor

A victim of American policies

Disgraceful is a fitting word for what’s happened in America. While the wealthy have been bailed out and enjoy booming times- they’re doing it at the expense of the poor. And there are a lot more poor now than there were in the past for them to exploit.

The number of people living in poverty has climbed to 14.3 percent of Americans, with the ranks of working-age poor reaching the highest level since at least 1965. The Census Bureau says that about 43.6 million people, or 1 in 7, were in poverty last year. That’s up from 39.8 million, or 13.2 percent, in 2008. The number of people lacking health insurance rose from 46.3 million to 50.7 million, due mostly to the loss of employer-provided health insurance during the recession. Congress passed a health overhaul earlier this year to extend coverage to more people.

So while our feckless politicians fiddle, our wood and cardboard houses are burning.  And while Iraq and Afghanistan are being rebuilt, our own cities are falling to rack and ruination.  We’re reaping what we’ve sown.  And our greed has come home to roost.  It’s just roosting at the wrong coop.