Thinking Out Loud

December 29, 2009

A Different Kind of Charity

A couple of days ago I linked to a piece my wife wrote which is clearly worthy of more readers than the number who clicked on it.    So I’m reprinting it here in full.



There’s been some discussion around here (at my house and on the ‘net in general) about the hugely popular “shoebox” giving program.

If you’re not familiar with this, the system is that a charity organization distributes thousands upon thousands of cardboard “shoeboxes” to schools, churches and other groups. Members of those groups fill the boxes with small gifts, selected for a boy or girl in a particular age group. The boxes get collected and shipped to other parts of the world where needs are great, and handed out to children there.

The program is promoted by slick and very moving videos and glossy ads. Some critics point out the difference between “charity giving” and “the pursuit of justice” and question the relative value and importance of each.

I’m not going to get into the whole debate here, but on one of the church based websites engaging the discussion I found this:

It’s an interesting side by side comparison. “Charity” is limited, short-sighted. “Justice” is broad-scoped and forward looking.

And the title is provocative. “Moving from… to…”. Obviously, to the author, one is inferior to the other. One is where we are, the other is where we want to be.

Charity bad, justice good.

But what strikes me about this chart is its incompleteness. Something’s missing. (more…)

December 25, 2009

The President’s Not So Politically Correct Christmas Message

…No, not that President; Ronald Regan in 1981.   The blog One Man’s Thoughts reminds us what life was like 28 years ago.  Though you still have to go a long way to match Charles Schulz scripting the speech Linus gives in the first Peanuts Christmas special.

The scary thing about the woman who attacked the Pope on Christmas Eve isn’t that she tried the same thing the year before, but that she was wearing the same outfit.  Especially when you think she could have been doing something creative, like the Bowen Beer Bottle Band did.  Then again, when it comes to Christmas and beer bottles, it would be hard to beat this Chinese project.

A more nobler project however, is the kind Nashville pastor Pete Wilson heard about while watching the news last week, only to discover the people showing kindness were from his own church!

But when it comes to doing good, it’s easy to not see the big picture, have wrong motives, or misplaced priorities.   Jumping into the Shoebox debate with what I believe is one of her best blog posts ever, Ruth Wilkinson (who may be related) discusses charity vs. justice and introduces a third possibility — presence — into the mix.

Sadly though, sometimes those who give themselves to the service of others pay the ultimate price.  Pray for the family of Little Rock, Arkansas Salvation Army Major Philip Wise who was shot and killed — in front of his three young children — in a Christmas Eve robbery.

And while you’re praying remember blogger Michael Spencer, the Internet Monk, and proprietor of Boars Head Tavern –two of the most popular Christian blogs — as he faces some uncertain health challenges;  blogger and pastor Matt Chandler facing a battle with cancer; Canadian blogger and former sports chaplain David Fisher; and Stephen Weber, writer of the Daily Encouragement devotional site recovering from hernia surgery.

See ya back here in 24 hours, Lord willing.




Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.