Monday, March 9, 2009

Hard times, open hands

People respond to economic hard times in differing ways.

Some become paralyzed by fear. Some tighten their grip on money and possessions. Some focus all their efforts on gaining more, by honorable or dishonorable means.

But some people look beyond their own fear of loss and see something more urgent: the needs of others. So they give more, not less, when a charity or church or neighbor asks for help.

Among them are the admirable people who made Charlotte's Critical Needs Response Fund such a success. An outpouring of donations -- $2.6 million worth -- made life easier for many local residents this winter.

What makes giving possible in the face of uncertainty? Gratitude for what you have been given. Compassion for those who struggle. Awareness that you bear the responsibility of being God's hands in the world. Trust that whatever happens, you are loved.

What is your experience? Have you seen people become more or less generous during this recession? Have you become more or less aware of the needs of others?


Catholic101 said...

Bravo, Jane! I have, indeed, seen more generosity on the part of people since the economic downturn began. It is impossible for the informed conscience to be unaffected by the increasing outcry for the basic necesseties among the displaced, the homeless, the unfortunate. We give until it hurts, really hurts, because thetre are so many luxuries we've grown use to that we can do without.

I use to think it was important to feel good when I gave, but today I feel it is equally important that we are able to feel miserable when we are unable to help for one reason or another. When we can't help and it hurts our souls, that's when we know we're on the right path.

God bless those who give. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall have mercy shown to them.

Anonymous said...

"If Americans halved their salt intake, as many as 150,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year." - Time

Anonymous said...

I just hope people will not start stoning others for working on Sabbath during these hard economic times. Or sell their daughters into slavery. (Not that any of the above would be against the Bible morals.)

Quibbles said...

"The Bible does not show us models for our morality but mirrors for our identity." -- James Sanders

D.J. Williams said...

Actually, Quibbles, I'd contend that the Bible does both. If it doesn't intend to show us models for our morality, then somebody really should have told Jesus.

Soli Deo Gloria

Anonymous said...


To threaten people with eternal burning in hell for not believing in him as the true son of God, is not a particular ethical thing to do by any standard.

The teaching of loving one's enemies seems kind of hollow coming from Jesus, who does not seem to follow this teaching himself.

The moral teachings of the Bible and of Jesus are unethical as the reason for being moral or ethical is the fear of God's punishment and of losing the reward of eternal salvation. The believer is not rewarded for moral and ethical behaviour, but for their blind faith.

Genuine moral end ethical behaviour don't need any motivational promises of rewards, or inhumane sadistic threats of eternal torture.

D.J. Williams said...

Anon said...
"Genuine moral end ethical behaviour don't need any motivational promises of rewards, or inhumane sadistic threats of eternal torture."

On what moral authority do you make that absolute statement? What establishes what is "genuine moral and ethical behaviour?"

I'd like to hear your answer to that question (and not a cut-and-pasted response from this time).

Soli Deo Gloria

Iztok said...

Hm... interesting topic. While I can't state anything for the anonymous I can add my thoughts here.

"On what moral authority do you make that absolute statement?"

I don't see the statement as absolute. Nor I do see any need of any authority is needed when it comes to morals.

"What establishes what is "genuine moral and ethical behaviour?""

Nothing really. There are two choices in this case:

1. Act moral (morals are not absolute as they change in time and space) because you fear consequences or look forward to reward.

2. Act moral just because you want to be good for goodness sake (and expect nothing in return).

In my book #2 is more moral then #1.

So DJ, how about the original paragraph from anonymous? "To threaten people with eternal burning in hell for not believing in him as the true son of God, is not a particular ethical thing to do by any standard."

So is such a threat moral or not moral? When you consider the answer take the neutral stance on Jesus and ask yourself if answer would be the same if the threat would be coming from another god you don't subscribe to. If answer is the same then I would consider it the right answer, if answer would be different then it is biased.

So basically should you hear the exact same threat from another prophet (say Mohammad) or even from another prophet/god pair would you consider it moral?

D.J. Williams said...


I'll wait for anon's reply.

Iztok said...

DJ, while you wait for his/her response. Do you mind telling us if first paragraph anonymous posted is a moral or not moral thing? (threat of eternal damnation for not worshiping)

How about Jesus not living up to his teachings? Sounds two faced to me. You just addressed his/hers last paragraph. Perhaps you are afraid applying the same standard and find your god amoral?

D.J. Williams said...


We've had this discussion before multiple times, and I'm not having it again with you. I can't see it being at all constructive.

Iztok said...

DJ, understood. It must be hard realization that Jesus wasn't very moral person. Admitting it in public must be even harder. Perhaps someday you will be honest enough to yourself and free yourself from the hard burden of following such amoral being.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Iztok has wise blood.

Catholic101 said...

DJ wrotye, "I'd like to hear your answer to that question (and not a cut-and-pasted response from this time)."

Swishhhhhhhhh! Three-pointer.

Catholic102 said...

The essence of truth has nothing to do with how it's revealed.

Bob said...

Relax, Iztok. According to the Ultimate Source of Truth (Wikipedia), "[t]he Church of England's Doctrine Commission reported in February 1995 that Hell is not eternal torment." The report, entitled "The Mystery of Salvation" states, "Christians have professed appalling theologies which made God into a sadistic monster.... Hell is not eternal torment, but it is the final and irrevocable choosing of that which is opposed to God so completely and so absolutely that the only end is total non-being." Doesn't get any better than that, huh? Hot damn!

Catholic101 said...

What a terrible tragedy for the Neeson-Richardson family. I pray God take her home and grant the family strength and peace at this most stressing time.

Catholic102 said...

Truth is found in pop culture. Being the best-selling book of the year, every year (The New Yorker), the Bible is as pop as it gets. God is everywhere.

ann mclaughlin said...

On April 19th I will be walking 300miles to raise money for a wonderful place called Noah's Ark. You can see the link on there web site and read about it at I feel that this is something God wants me to do for this amazing place that saves abused children and animals. They are very deserving, selfless, God loving people and they are suffering through the hard times along with the rest of the world. Donations are down and I am hoping I can help them raise the money they need. If you can help in any way to get a small piece written it could make a diffrence in the amount of money I can raise for them!

Thank you and God bless

Ann McLaughlin

ann mclaughlin said...

Forgot to leave my email address
Ann Mclaughlin

Mary said...

Yes, we should help the abused animals. There are so many of them. Where to start? Stop eating them.

Catholic101 said...

I believe God gave us teeth for a reason. It wasn't so we could eat plants exclusively. Food animals should be treated as ethically as possible in light of their purpose (to provide us food).

Iztok said...

Catholic101, Bible is very clear in Leviticus 11 what you are allowed to eat and what not.

Except idiotic statments about 4 legged flying things. Not to mention the "chewing cud" part which is also retarded. While we are there, bats seem to be birds??? This supposed to be God inspired truth? 4 legged insects?

But then again the perfect book says in some places only plants can be eaten (Genesis), then only certain things can be eaten (Leviticus), followed by everything can be eaten (Romans).

Well I guess we have perfect instructions there. At least perfectly confusing. No wonder Adam and Eve were set to fail.

Iztok said...

Ah, "wonderful" Rick Warren is lying (again). So like Christian leaders of today.

Lie 1: "I was asked a question that made it sound like I equated gay marriage with pedophilia or incest, which I absolutely do not believe."

What he said:

Rick Warren: Not a problem to me. But the issue to me is, I’m not opposed to that as much as I’m opposed to the redefinition of a 5,000-year definition of marriage. I’m opposed to having a brother and sister be together and call that marriage. I’m opposed to an older guy marrying a child and calling that a marriage. I’m opposed to one guy having multiple wives and calling that marriage.

Steven Waldman: Do you think, though, that they are equivalent to having gays getting married?

Rick Warren: Oh I do.

Lie 2: "I never once went to a meeting, I never once issued a statement, I never once even gave an endorsement in the two years Prop 8 was going."

What he really said:

Hm... certainly not just a note.

Lying for Jesus?

Catholic101 said...

If anyone is still reading this blog, I hope you all had a most Blessed and Holy Easter.

Catholic102 said...

And a Happy one, even if not Holy.

Reena said...

You can easily imprint this same peaceful energy at your home or workplace.

Start by dedicating one small area of your home or office as a place to experience "sacred moments" It could be a whole room dedicated to performing yoga, tai chi or some other form of meditation, or it could be one corner of your room where you perform your half hours sitting meditation every day. The important thing here is to practice every day in the same spot for the next thirty days.

What you are doing is imprinting your own feelings of peace and tranquillity into this area. Which means that the more you meditate in this location the easier it will become for you to slip into this special timeless state. Fill this area with beautiful, inspiring artworks and turn “sacred space” into something really special; a temple for your soul.