Archive for November, 2008

Possible Cause of Recessions & World Poverty

November 30, 2008

I received a video recently about the history and development of the World Banking system.  It was very interesting and intriguing because it states the  belief that the root causes of depressions and recessions throughout history are due to the decisions of a handful of profiteering individuals who control the world banking system.  They do this by expanding or contracting the money supply accessible to the population.

The video was made in 1996 predicting this future world financial crisis.   It may be worth watching and considering since our economy is in a present crisis.   However if it offers a possible solution to this World Financial Crisis and possibly Third World Poverty as well,  it could be worth investing that amount of time.  At the end of the video is a strategic plan for banking reform.  Even though these reforms pertain mainly to the USA the same principals could also apply to the main central bank in all other countries in the world.

After you watch it, why not it pass  onto your friends, especially those who may have an economics background to see what their opinion is.

You can watch this video entitled “The Money Masters” on You Tube at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-515319560256183936.  You can also purchase your own copy at http://www.themoneymasters.com

If you feel the arguments are sound , the suggested solutions could be worth praying for.  Below are bible verses which give some biblical principals for possible banking reform.

The Bible on Usury

Definition of Usury: the taking of iniquitous or illegal interest on a loan.

Definition of Iniquitous:  unjust , scandalously unreasonable,  wicked


1.  Leviticus 25:35-37
    35 ” ‘If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest of any kind [a] from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.

Footnotes: Leviticus 25:36 Or take excessive interest ; similarly in verse 37

2.  Exodus 22:25-27
25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest. 26 If you take your neighbor’s cloak as a pledge, return it by sunset, 27 because that cloak is the only covering your neighbor has. What else can your neighbor sleep in? When he cries out to me, I will hear, for I am compassionate.

3.  Nehemiah 5:9-19   especially v 10-11
 I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop! . Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the interest you are charging them-one percent of the money, grain, new wine and olive oil.”

4.  Ezekial 18: 5,8,9   
5 “Suppose there is a righteous man who does what is just and right…….

7 He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

8 He does not lend at usury or take excessive interest He withholds his hand from doing wrong and judges fairly between two parties.

9 He follows my decrees  and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD.

1. The Year for Cancelling DebtsDuring the history of the Israelite people,  God commanded the  landowners and those in power to cancel the debts of all their subjects every seven years.  This was a common principal and practice,  so that the poorer members of society would not be enslaved by a yoke of debt. This was a reflection of God’s compassion mercy and justice to the less fortunate in God’s kingdom.1. Deuteronomy 15:1-2 1 At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. 2 This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel the loan he has made to his fellow Israelite. He shall not require payment from his fellow Israelite or brother, because the LORD’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.2.  Nehemiah 10:3131 “When the neighboring peoples bring merchandise or grain to sell on the Sabbath, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on any holy day. Every seventh year we will forgo working the land and will cancel all debts.

3.  Luke 7:41-42 – 41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, [a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

—oOo—

Action to Prevent Recesssions : Perhaps we could pray and write a letter for world leaders to get together to support Barack Obarma to help him instigate essential legislation for banking reform of the Federal Reserve to succesfully get approved by Congress.  You can submit your opinions or suggestions to Kevin Rudd through his new website http://www.kevinpm.com.au/  Just scroll to the red section at the bottom of the home page.

Action:  To solve the Root Cause of Third World Poverty:  according to this economics video the root cause of Third World Poverty is that they are enslaved by insurmountable debt owing to a handful of  greedy corrupt individuals who control the  World Bank and the Banks of rich nations.  The reason that these banks have become so wealthy is that they create wealth by  being given the power by Congress, to make book entries out of thin air to create wealth for themselves.  They are also allowed to print and create legal tender -money and do this for a profit by being having a monopoly over this service.  They are not creating true value in any way.  This is ridiculous.  Hence a solution could be that all world leaders could band together to agree and legislate for the cancellation of Third World Debt.  This would be based on the biblical principal of cancelling debts every 7 years.  These poorer nations could then use their income to build up the infrastructure of their own economies.  After this time perhaps every 7 years any insurmountable debt incurred after a certain level should be cancelled.  This would continue to occur until their economy and living standards of the people reach a civilised level.  The rock singer Bono has already succeeded in lobbying the USA government to cancel a certain level of debt owing from poorer nations.   Why don’t we pray about the details of such a solution and in so doing we may be able to totally eradicate Third World Poverty.

 

Song about the Stolen Generation

November 26, 2008

I recently attended a seminar and church service run by Geoff Bullock.  He is the songwriter who wrote the worship songs like Power of Your Love and The Great Southland.  It was inspiring to hear him perform many of his songs that I grew to love in my early years.  Songs like -The Heavens Shall Declare , You Rescued Me,  Just Let Me Say and The Power of Your Love.  He has also written some new songs and has a new CD available which has a more stripped back acoustic flavour.  He has also written a new third verse to Power of Your Love to reflect his growing relationship to the Lord. 

I remember many years ago I was asked to do an  impromptu performance of “Power of Your Love” with a full band, at a church I was visiting .  I had never even met the band before but they were skilled enough to follow me as I sang the words.  It was a heavenly experience which I ‘ve never really had again.  It is nice to sing with a full band, because then the music is able to expand and become bigger than it’s original form  if done well.

A song on Geoff’s new album which touched me deeply is “Eden’s Lonely Child” which is about the Stolen Generation.  I found this very moving .  You may need to listen to it a few times to understand the meaning of the lyrics. To purchase his new self titled album “Geoff Bullock” you can email him at :-contact@geoffbullock.com

To listen to his song “Eden’s Lonely Child” :-

1. Click on the following link http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=525135

2. Scroll down to Song 32 on the media player at the top of the page.

Here are the lyrics you can follow as well :-

Eden’s Lonely Child
Words and Music by Geoff Bullock
(c) Geoff Bullock 2008

Who am I ? A mother’s daughter, cherished child
Who am I ? A father’s son, his strength and pride
Inside of me,  A story fails to tell its tale
Alone am I,   Eden’s lonely child

Who am I ? Look beneath my coloured frame
Who Am I ? Now that history’s lost my name
I walk alone,  An Eve and Adam’s empty past
The garden’s gone

Chorus
And yet the parish books are full of fathers and their sons
Passengers and ships who sailed across the seas
But why is Eden’s child outside the garden walls
Her heritage unknown?

Who am I? Can your wisdom dull my pain?
Who am I?  While this land ignores its shame?
My family tree , a ghostly wood,  forgotten dreams
The forests gone,  Eden’s banished child

Chorus
And yet the parish books are full of fathers and their sons
Passengers and ships who sailed across the seas
But why is Eden’s child outside the garden walls
Her heritage unknown?

Bridge
Has Terra Australis become terra nullus,  this nation with no past?

Who am I? I am this land’s forgotten child
Who am I? Why must my pain be so reviled?
Our broken past,  we all must own this nation’s pain
The garden’s ours,  And all are Eden’s child
The garden’s ours,  And all are Eden’s child
So Who am I,  Who am I,  Who am I

Social Businesses

November 17, 2008

I attended a seminar a few weeks ago on the topic of Social Businesses which proved very interesting.  A Social Business is started by a Social Entrepreuneur who sees a social gap in society and seeks to provide for it.  Examples could be the lack of adequate public transport for disabled people or  a lack of health assistance for aboriginal children.  The aim of these businesses is to add to the social environment of society . 

This form of social businesses are already operating successfully in the UK. These businesses have grown from considering many of the negative social impacts of deregulated free markets.  The UK has been especially open to this new and innovative concept. This  probably stems from their long social history of wealthy individuals having philanthropic foundations and the large number of charities they have founded. 

An example of this is that in the UK at present there exists a Charity Bank.  This is a Bank especially dedicated to customers who operate on the basis that they are a charity.  This is where the Bank itself focuses on customers who put their primary importance on the Social Economy and advancing the social benefits of society .  Linked with this is the advancement of ethical consumerism such as providing “Fair Trade” products.  These are products that do not use workers from third world countries who are forced to work in appalling conditions and are badly treated.

The speaker also stated her belief that the huge Credit Crisis can be traced back to massive demutualisation of many banks and companies.  Demutualisation is where institutions  are coverted into companies owned by shareholders.  For instance recently in the UK most building societies and insurance companies have demutualised.  The argument against demutualisation, is that these newly formed companies will then run more for the benefit of the shareholders rather than their customers.

Social businesses on the other hand are owned by the employees or the community as distinct from private shareholders.  They are more collaborative in nature and any profits are reinvested to further it’s good cause.   Needless to say that their Social Goals are central to it’s aims rather than primarily seeking  a healthy monetary bottom line.

Included in this idea of a Social Business is the “Quadruple Bottom Line”  as a more complete measurement of success.   This involves a measurement of benefits in the following  areas:-

1.   Economic   2. Social  3.  Environmental  &  4.  Cultural

The speaker stated that all these factors should be considered to assess the effectiveness of a business and should be the way of the future.  The business world can no longer be motivated by greed alone.  If not the search for monetary profit only , may ultimately lead to the social environmental and cultural decay of our society as a whole.

This concept is still in it’s early stages of development.  Naturally there are many questions and possible holes that still need to be filled,  in it’s operation and survival.  A university course is at present being developed to flesh out this new concept and it’s operation in greater depth called the “Graduate Diploma of Social Impact”.  More information about this can be found at the Centre for Social Business (CSI)  – www.csi.edu.au.  Cheryl Kernot has been one of the main researchers, proponets and developers for this course.  She will also be running a workshop for people who have a viable concept or idea for starting a social business.

Climate Change- A Genius Solution

November 17, 2008

I saw an interesting documentary on Monday night 13 October 2008 on the ABC.   It was about a clever man called Dorjee Sun who established his own “Social Business”, to solve the problem of carbon emissions, to help eradicate the pressing problem of climate change.  From what I gathered from the program here is how it works :-

 1.  The main problem associated with climate change is the excess production of carbon into the atmosphere especially from industries, corporations motor vehicles and our general everyday lifestyle.

2.  A way to reduce these carbon emissions is by planting more trees or large forests which actually need carbon to survive and can hence absorb all these dangerous carbon emissions.

3.  Hence the aim of Dorjee’s company is to:-

a)  Protect existing forests in the world eg.  By employing actual staff like Rangers to watch over the forest to help maintain it    and

b)  Clear unused vacant land in different countries to plant new forests of a large size.

4.  To help fund these projects he has secured the assistance of the finance company Merryl Lynch to provide business loans to start undertaking this important work.

5.  A large part of Dorjee’s pioneering work is to negotiate with governments and communities for permission to eg.

a)  Stop the abolition of existing forests around the world

b)  Provide manpower like Rangers to protect and maintain existing forests

c)  Clear unused vacant land to build new forests

d)  Acquiring necessary scientific research to find out how much forest must be created to absorb a significant amount of carbon emissions so that climate change can be effectively reduced or eradicated.

6.  Costs of this business would include:-

a)  Costs to apply for government and community permission

b)  Bulldozers to clear vacant land to be ready for forest planting

c)  Good soil to plant new trees

d)  Tree seedlings

e)  Manpower to maintain and grow the new forests

f)  Cost of Rangers to monitor and oversee existing forests

g)  Repayments of loans to Merryl Lynch    and so on

7.  Revenue of the Business is generated by approaching large corporations especially in Western Countries.  These companies would show how much carbon emissions they release into the atmosphere per year as a result of their production.  In order for them to offset the effect of these carbon emissions ( to satisfy Government requirements which have been ratified by the Kyoto Agreement),  they would be given the opportunity to purchase from Dorjee’s Company, (not shares)  but “Carbon Credits”  for a certain amount of money.

8.  These Carbon Credits would represent a certain amount of money (represented by a certificate etc)  which would go directly into :-

a)  Establishing more huge forests all around the world – this is already taking place in Indonesia   and

b)  Maintaining existing forests

9.  A Profit can still be made by Dorjee Sun’s Carbon Emissions Company via the following calculation:-

a) Cost of the Business    ( from Point 6 )          minus  

b) Revenue of the Business  ( from Point 7) 
where companies purchase their own “Carbon Credits”      equals

c)  Profit Margin  

10.  Dorjee clearly states that these Profits would then be reinvested into the company to build more forests around the world to continue to offset carbon emissions until climate change can be eradicated.

Some journalists have criticized Dorjee’s idea saying it may just be another scheme to capitalize on an environmental problem to make profits for an already successful businessman.    It is true that Dorjee Sun is a business millionaire.   However the fact that Dorjee has already become a millionaire through his other businesses,  can point to the fact that he doesn’t really need to benefit from the profits of his new Carbon Trading Company to sustain himself.  Instead this new Carbon Trading Company may truly be a philanthropic exercise to address a very current and pressing problem that is facing our world. 

Corporations, organizations and individuals may see paying for carbon credits as an annoying extra expense for their already tight budgets.  After all there does not seem to be any tangible monetary return like shares have.  However perhaps it is helpful to reframe our attitude to paying for carbon credits.  We could see it more as a donation or contribution to our environment, the world, our community.  God also states in Luke 6:38 “Give and it will be given to you.  A good measure pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you”.  This law works for non believers as well as believers.  It says that if we give with a cheerful and generous heart without expecting anything in return God will bless us tenfold in even greater abundance.

 It could be a good idea for  industries corporations and governments to check out  Dorjee Sun’s new idea out,  so it will help them fulfill  their responsibility  to the environment and hence our whole planet.

Asylum Seekers-Their Silent Removal

November 5, 2008

Dear All
 
There is a documentary on SBS on Wednesday 19 November at 8.30pm that I invite you all to watch and to encourage all your friends, family and colleagues to watch.  A Well-Founded Fear was filmed following reports of death, disappearance, imprisonment and torture, of fear-filled lives spent in hiding, privation and despair have filtered back to Australia about some people Australia has removed after disallowing their claims for protection on refugee or humanitarian grounds.
 
Disquiet about this situation was expressed to the 2000 Senate Committee by bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, the Australian Refugee Council and various legal aid and trauma treatment organisations. Following significant disquiet, the Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice commenced an investigation into the fate of asylum seekers deported from Australia.  The results are disturbing and force us to confront the impact of decisions made by the Howard Government.  While the tide is turning with more humane protection of asylum seekers and a cultural shift within the department of immigration, before a new future for those claiming asylum here can emerge, we must first take responsibility for what we have caused.
 

I invite you to watch this documentary so you can be informed and can, with so many Australians, ensure we not let this happen again.
Community Services & Outreach Co-ordinator
Salvation  Army
 

 

 

Making a Difference in Our World

November 3, 2008


I picked up the following pamphlet from a church a few years ago.  It is published by the NSW Council of Churches.  It gives some practical steps about how Christians can make a difference in our world.  I thought this may be of interest to some readers.  Click on the image to enlarge for easy reading.

Natural Disasters – God’s Call for Repentance?

November 3, 2008

I read a book the other day called “Nature Out of Control – When God breaks His silence”  by M Basilea Schilink.  In this book she states her belief that the severe natural disasters  in recent times represent God’s judgement for people to repent of their sinful lives and turn their hearts to Him.

Natural disasters have dramatically increased in recent times, according to a Swiss insurance company who has monitored the damage caused by these catastrophes for the past 20 years.  Examples of this are:-

– tornadoes and hurricanes in Central America and the United States
– record sub zero temperatures with masses of snow in America’s Mid-West and East bringing life to a standstill
–  extensive forest fires in Italy Spain and France
–  a major earthquake in India previously unprone to earthquakes
–  storms,  flooding and earthquakes in Japan sending tremors as far as Russia and Korea
–  severe flooding, landslides & mudslides in India, Nepal and Bangladesh leaving about 7 million homeless
–  catastrophic flooding in southern Switzerland,  North Italy ,South France, Germany & Holland.
– swarms of locusts destroying all vegetation in Africa & the Arabian Peninsula
–  a massive invasion of gypsy moth caterpillars destroying wooded regions in central Europe
–  a butterfly plague in Venezuala causing rashes and fever.

These natural disasters can be very humbling as we realise that we can feel totally helpless, when God allows these events to occur.  It is painful yet awe inspiring as it reveals the sheer power of the Almighty God.

The author goes on to say that the particular areas affected are often targeted for a particular reason.  For instance she noted that the Blue Mountains in Australia, which has a long tradition of witchcraft and occultism has been, in the past, ravaged by bushfires.

An even more obvious example occurred in Northbridge California in the San Fernando Valley,  where an unexpected earthquake erupted.  As a result nearly 70 companies which produced 95% of the pornographic videos for the USA,  were severely hit.  Expensive equipment and archives were buried under the rubble.  Apparently a helicopter pilot was staggered by this devastation and the Northbridge area was described as a ghost town during this time.

It shows that God cannot be mocked.  As many individuals choose to build wealth and store up riches for themselves and continue to lead a sinful life,  God can suddenly destroy everything  in an instant.  It is like  the passage in Luke 12:15-21 where a rich farmer chose to store up his crops in large barns so that he could take life easy to eat drink and be merry.  But God said to him ” You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you .  Then you will get what you have prepared for yourself”.

During the Northbridge tragedy a Californian Minister wrote an article about God’s call for repentance signified by this natural disaster.  The tragedy is that many involved in the sins of immorality and pornography still chose to harden their hearts from their evil ways.

The author goes on to say that during times of natural disasters christians must pray for the ungodly and unsaved that they may repent of their sins such as violence, occultism, adultery, promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality and the abolition of bible teaching within schools.  We must pray instead that people will turn their hearts to the Lord so they can receive his forgiveness &  strength,  to experience his salvation and eternal life.  As Christians we must also check our own hearts to repent of apathy or lukewarmness which can inherently allow this moral landslide to occur in our society.  These natural disasters can be seen as God’s discipline,  encouraging people to have a reverential and healthy fear of God to motivate them to live their lives according to his ways in His Word.

Despite the harshness of these natural calamities,  God also shows his mercy as well.  For instance during severe fire storms people marveled at the supernatural way many were protected or saved just moments from death.  Although property was damaged many thousands were still able to escape with their lives, as in the case of the severe fires in the Blue Mountains. In California , Los Angeles, the earthquake came on a public holiday at 4.31am in the morning when hardly anyone was on the roads.  This enabled many lives to be saved even though property and roads were damaged.  God also miraculously protected  his own Christian believers as they prayed to him for help.  As a result many christian homes,  christian ministry centres and a christian radio station escaped unscathed.

God also showed his compassion for the weak.  For instance during the severe earthquake in Northbridge California,  most buildings at the university there were totally devastated.  However one building containing 250 disabled students and 2 Christian professors were spared since God had pity on them.

This is evidence of the truth found in Lamentations 3:22-33 which says:-The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,  his mercies never come to and end; they are new every morning; great is thy faithfulness… The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him… Though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not willingly afflict or grieve the sons of men.

Conversely it could be said that if people in a nation do follow God’s principals, than that nation will experience more of the blessings of the Lord.  I noticed for instance that around the same time that the apology to the stolen generation occurred by the Australian government,  that the rains came pouring down to fill the dams to 60% capacity for the first time in 10 years, which was able to partly alleviate many drought stricken areas.  Perhaps if more progress is made to better the conditions of aboriginal people,  then perhaps all of the drought affected areas would be saved and the whole economy would also thrive.

In conclusion whether we believe that natural disasters are a judgment from God or not ,  we can still pray that during such times, unbelievers will develop a renewed respect and awe of the Almighty God so they will repent of their sinful ways and turn their hearts to him to receive his forgiveness and salvation in their time of need.

NB.  I do believe that God does often demonstrate a special protection for those who devote their lives to him.  I  can give an example of this from my own life.  Many years ago I previously worked in a branch of a bank which dealt directly with everyday customers.  The tellers worked downstairs and the loans section was situated upstairs.  Since I was undergoing the graduate training program I was rotated to all different functions of the branch.  One particular day I was upstairs trying to reorganise the whole store room and minding my own business.  I believe I was one of the only people working upstairs.  Later in the day I was told that during this time their was a “hold up”  of the entire downstairs branch by a group of bank robbers.  A number of senior and junior staff had to undergo counselling afterwards after facing gun point.  I believe God protected me by allowing me to escape this serious danger by situating me in a back room upstairs away from harm.  People may think this was just a coincidence but I truly believe this was God’s hand of protection .

Comedy Corner:  If you think nobody cares,  try missing a few payments