Archives for posts with tag: poor

Last week I write about my recent visit to Cuba and my plans to return in October (you are welcome to join me). I spoke of the enjoyment of the experience and mentioned a few of the places we visited.

I could expand on the sites and people. There is much that could be said about the economic condition of the island nation just 90 miles from the United States. The pros and cons of the U.S. embargo could easily provide fodder for a long political discussion. I could compare and contrast the economies and governments of the two countries.

Instead, I want to share something which spoke to me about poverty and wealth and transcends the understanding of these two particular cultures.

image of worship - priest and worship at the catholic altar - JPG

On Sunday morning group leaders on the ship provided worship experiences for both Protestants and Catholics. Although attendance was voluntary, I am glad that I went. While Father Damien celebrated mass with the Catholics on board the ship, Rev. Bob Brown, one of the Protestant ministers, led a worship service in which we were introduced to a new song.

Cuando el Pobre (When the Poor Ones) is a Latin American hymn from 1971 written by J. A. Olivar and Miguel Manzano.  The English translation is by George Lockwood.

Bible

The hymn is a meditation on Matthew 25: 31-46, the parable of the great judgment, focusing on verses 34-36: “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’” (NIV).

The United Methodist Hymnal editor Carlton Young notes: “The central teaching (of the hymn) is the classic liberation motif that God in Christ is seen and experienced in the plight of the rejected of society: the homeless, the poor, and the parentless. In life’s journey, we are closer to God when we love them and share from our abundance of food, clothing, and shelter. Those who choose the alternative—greed, hate, and war—will ‘go away into eternal punishment’” (Matthew 25:46a).

CUANDO EL POBRE (UMH #434)

When the poor ones who have nothing share with strangers,

When the thirsty water give unto us all,

When the crippled in their weakness strengthen others,

[Refrain]

Then we know that God still goes that road with us,

Then we know that God still goes that road with us.

When at last all those who suffer find their comfort,

When they hope though even hope seems hopelessness,

When we love though hate at times seems all around us,

[Refrain]

Then we know that God still goes that road with us,

Then we know that God still goes that road with us.

When our joy fills up our cup to overflowing,

When our lips can speak no words other than true,

When we know that love for simple things is better,

[Refrain]

Then we know that God still goes that road with us,

Then we know that God still goes that road with us.

When our homes are filled with goodness in abundance,

When we learn how to make peace instead of war,

When each stranger that we meet is called a neighbor,

[Refrain]

Then we know that God still goes that road with us,

Then we know that God still goes that road with us.

 
Jamie Jenkins

 

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Did you know that

  • President Obama signed an executive order to remove the phrase “under God” from the U.S. pledge of allegiance.
  • a Republican lawmaker has proposed a saliva test to determine that poor people are actually hungry before they can use food stamps.
  • the Zika virus is being spread by genetically modified mosquitoes.
  • It has been discovered that solar panels are draining the sun of its energy
  • a Nazi submarine has been spotted in the Great Lakes.
  • Miami, Florida has introduced new texting-friendly expressway lanes complete with “safety bumpers” along the sides.
  • the United States has banned the popular game Pokemon Go.

Actually, none of the above statements are true. All of them are fabricated and false.These are just a few examples of “fake news.”

I remember a college classmate showing his innocence or ignorance by declaring, “If it wasn’t true, they wouldn’t put it in the newspaper.” With the proliferation of social media it has become so easy to spread rumors, gossip, and untruths but many people accept them as factual. I suspect my college friend would be one of those to whom the fake news websites would cater.

Image result for IMAGES OF FAKE NEWS

According to one source as much of 60% of the links shared on social media are shared based on the title alone, with the sharer not actually reading the article itself.

Hoaxes, misinformation, and propaganda are routinely and deliberately published. They seek to mislead rather than entertain for financial gain or other reasons. One news source “described the proliferation of fake news as a form of psychological warfare.”

False information is also shared at times through respected media sources, albeit not intentional. At 7:55 PM EST last Friday the Washington Post sparked a wave of fear when it ran the headline “Russian hackers penetrated U.S. electricity grid through a utility in Vermont, U.S. officials say.”

About an hour and a half later the utility company itself issued a formal statement rejecting the Post’s claims: “We detected the malware in a single Burlington Electric Department laptop not connected to our organization’s grid systems. We took immediate action to isolate the laptop and alerted federal officials of this finding.”

Almost a full hour more the Post finally updated its article and changed the headline. Finally more than a half day later the newspaper added an editorial note at the very bottom of the article acknowledging that the earlier story was incorrect. By that time thousands of people had read and believed that Russian hackers has breached the U.S. electricity grid.

All fake news is not the result of some well-conceived conspiracy produced purposely or some news outlet failing to verify the facts. Ordinary people often post or tweet false information that is then seized on and spread through the internet. One example is 35 year-old Eric Tucker from Austin, Texas. He had about 40 followers on Twitter but during the presidential election campaign he posted that paid protesters were being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald Trump.

Mr. Tucker’s post was shared at least 16,000 times on Twitter and more than 350,000 times on Facebook. The problem is that Mr. Tucker got it wrong. There were no such buses packed with paid protesters. But that didn’t matter. The firestorm had already begun.

There is enough real bad news in the world without fake news causing unnecessary anxiety and harm.

In contrast to fake news or bad news, God taking on human form and becoming one of us is incredibly Good News. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16, The Message).

Jamie Jenkins

 

Last Sunday I saw a friend that I had not seen for a long time. He was an energetic young adult with a pleasant and positive personality Then he had an accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. The accident changed his body but it has not changed his upbeat attitude. He is a loving husband and father who has a deep faith in God.

This amazing young man told me that he had recently been on a couple of work missions. One of them was to the Gulf Coast to help people whose homes had been flooded. One house had to have the lower four feet of drywall removed due to water damage. He was excited that he had been able to replace the sheetrock because he could work at that level from his wheelchair.

Another project in his own community afforded him the opportunity to build a wheelchair ramp for an older resident. He smiled as he told me he had never built a ramp before so he gave it a test run to be sure it could accommodate the older woman who would use it.

CARING PEOPLE CHANGE THE WORLD

I recently met a man who has established an ongoing mission in one of the poor communities in Nicaragua. While building much needed medical clinics in this rural area, he realized that many of the local young people were intelligent and industrious but could not afford to go to school. So he has created a fund to provide for the education of promising young people of that region with the expectation that their lives will be changed and they will in turn give themselves to improve the lives of others.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” He believed it was our responsibility to help change the world.

I am currently involved with Imagine No Malaria, an effort to end death and suffering from malaria. If you are thinking that malaria was eliminated in this country over 60 years ago, you are right. But this year over 650,000 people in Africa will die from malaria, more than Ebola and AIDs combined. Two-thirds of these deaths are children under the age of five and pregnant women. Although malaria is fully preventable and fully treatable, a child dies every 60 seconds from this killer disease.

The good news is we know how to stop death and suffering from malaria. In fact the death rate has been cut almost in half in the past 7 years. Imagine No Malaria provides insecticide treated bed nets, educates people on symptoms of the disease, the proper use of bed nets, and other preventive measures. In addition, early diagnostic kits as well as affordable and accessible medication and treatment in over 300 hospitals and clinics have made a very positive difference. And all of that can be provided for only $10. Only $10 to save a life!

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You can help save lives by texting MALARIA NGC to 27722 (be sure to leave a space before NGC) and $10 will be donated to Imagine No Malaria. Or you can send a check for any amount to Imagine No Malaria, North Georgia Conference, 4511 Jones Bridge Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. Learn more about Imagine No Malaria at http://www.imaginenomalaria.org.

INM TtEXT TO GIVE

There are many ways for caring people to change the world. Imagine No Malaria is one effort that I have chosen to support. I invite you to join me in the fight against malaria. If this doesn’t strike a chord with you, I encourage you to find ways that you have passion for and give yourself to it.

Together we can do more than imagine no malaria. And we can do more than imagine a better world. Together we can make it a reality.

“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed that’s all who ever have.”

Jamie Jenkins