Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sun. Sep. 5, 2010 (Deb Cameron Fawkes)

On Labour Day weekend, Deb Cameron Fawkes was invited to be our guest speaker. She is currently at VST studying how our political and spiritual lives intersect. Both an active member of organized labour and a ‘supply’ preacher for her denomination, her talk focused on social justice as articulated in scriptures and put into practice by Tommy Douglas. Whatever work/labour we do, whether at home, at school, in the store, etc., it has an impact on our “village life”. Even our smallest tasks somehow help society function, and hopefully as Christians we do it with joy (“Love one another”, “as you do this to the least of these”). The prophet Amos—and the main figures in the Old Testament generally—sought to work out a new and more equitable social arrangement. Jesus stood firmly in this tradition. We prefer to think of ourselves as being responsible for ourselves individually, both economically and spiritually, and we therefore tend to read all scriptures solely as guidelines for us as individuals. But the bible repeatedly makes it clear that the ethical and economic issues it discusses are to be followed by society generally, not just a handful of devoted radicals. Amos, for example (5:6-), was exasperated by the ways the wealthy class in Israel misused their land, kicking off the poor who had depended on it for generations, and instead raising cash crops which had to be sold abroad but would bring wealth to the wealthy merchants and landowners. Other landlords rented out essential but expensive farm utensils at high rates, and loaned essential money for farmers needing to buy seed for new crops, but charged interest rates of 100% and even 170%, loans which could never be repaid. The bible was also deeply concerned that the able-bodied were so often unemployed, in spite of doing all they could to find work. These biblical issues were similar to issues Tommy Douglas sought to alleviate as a minister of God, and then as a politician, ultimately bequeathing ideas to Canadian society which have put into action at least some of the principles laid out for society in scripture. [JEK] Listen to the sermon audio MP3 recording from Sunday, September 5th, 2010 using your browser's preferred media player.



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