"As much as you need" Exodus 16:18

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by junobet, May 1, 2013.

  1. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    First to explain:
    This years Kirchentag will take place from the first to the fifth of May in Hamburg and has a rather inspiring theme. I'm sure we'll see many an interesting discussion:

    http://www.kirchentag.de/en/programme/theme.html

    What are your thoughts? Are we in the West maybe taking more than we need while others don't have enough? Would you be willing to change your lifestyle so that the planet can be sustained and its resources are shared out fairly?
     
  2. prospect

    prospect New Member

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    It's a Divine Idea but easy to say, hard to do. How much of a change are you talking ?
     
  3. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    Sorry for the late answer.
    What’s worse: the answer is that I don’t know how much of a change will be needed.

    But in the face of the challenges Helen Clark outlined in this speech she gave at the Kirchentag, I have an inkling that just buying organic fair trade coffee won’t suffice in the long run: http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en...n-clark-remarks-at-the-34th-kirchentag-2013-/

    If us rich people in the west don’t give up our exploitative capitalistic lifestyles we’re heading for a global disaster. Sometimes I still have hope that eventually humankind will pull itself together. And we may find this change of lifestyle not so bad. A) Because humankind can be rather inventive, B) because we don’t need most of the stuff we consume anyway, we’re just brainwashed into wanting it.

    Unfortunately Clarks optimistic words, how faith can help us developing the necessary attitude for such changes, don’t hold true yet for climate-change denying right-wing US-Christians, who don't bother about their childrens' future because they expect to see Armageddon any time soon. But I pray to God that one day He’ll make even these guys face up to our responsibilities as guardians of His creation.
     
  4. stig42

    stig42 New Member

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    I like the stuff I consume so I don't want to give that up
     
  5. Moishe3rd

    Moishe3rd Member

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    No.
    G-d does, indeed, provide all that we need.
    The question presupposes that if I ate less, others could eat more.
    This is neither true nor does the Torah (or the "old testament") indicate that this would be a good idea.
    G-d provided the manna. He did so precisely so that His People could literally understand that G-d provides us with Everything - not we ourselves.
    There is no spiritual or material profit in using less so that others can have more.

    However, there is always spiritual profit in doing what G-d commands us to do - which is to take care of the needs of others who are unable to take care of themselves.
     
  6. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    I fully agree. And you could help others to care for themselves by paying enough for your food so that those who produce it can make a decent living.

    I believe God commands us to build a fair and just society in which everybody on this beautiful planet can meet their needs, rather than to accept that parts of the world live in opulence while others don’t have enough to meet even the most basic needs.
     
  7. Durandal

    Durandal Well-Known Member Donor

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    Who doesn't take more than they need if the opportunity is present? Through the magic of globalisation, though, I see the west helping the rest of the world to become more like the west, with certain people leading the way and living very comfortably for it. Others just work for them and struggle for a smaller measure of wealth and "bread" according to their own abilities and circumstances.

    This idea of "having enough" is, to me, the struggling class's response to a situation that is otherwise frustrating. What are we to do if we can't earn the big $$$ we'd love to earn? Learn to be content with less, I suppose, and for some reason this message is often attached to religion. I suspect that reason is because people won't accept that kind of thinking without some perceived authority demanding it of them; they'd prefer to be discontented and fight (or complain loudly) to get more for themselves, as this tends to be a stronger desire in people by nature.

    Thus an internal struggle is made an external one..

    - - - Updated - - -

    Does that include caring for others who lie and cheat to get what you'll give instead of working for it?
     
  8. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    People who aren’t governed by senseless greed?

    The circumstances is where the first problem enters. More often than not it is the circumstances rather than a person’s individual abilities and diligence that determine the measure of material wealth this person enjoys.

    The second problem lies in the erroneous assumptions that ‘becoming more like the west’ is a) achievable for a lot of countries by the ‘magic of globalization’ and b) that it would be sustainable for the world if it was achieved. The core problem of capitalism as we know it is that it relies on endless economic growth while this planets resources certainly aren’t endless. If the whole world had our current wasteful western lifestyle the planet would be pretty much (*)(*)(*)(*)ed. Some may hope for more Manna from heaven then, but personally I wouldn’t be surprised if God would just let us just suffer the consequences of our stupid greed.


    You’re forgetting a couple of essential things here:
    A) human beings aren’t merely driven by instincts. We have such a thing as a conscious brain capable of such wondrous things as compassion, foresight and abstract thought.
    B) Some people may indeed not see it as their main aim in life to get filthy rich. In fact I can think of a number of people - both religious and not religious - who denied the opportunity to get rich for the sake of other pleasures and they seem rather happy.
    C) On the other hand – as much as it saddens me - being religious doesn’t automatically stop people from being greedy. Many religious people at all times have quite happily served two Lords and worshipped mammon, finding ample excuses for that.
     
  9. Blackrook

    Blackrook Banned

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    It looks like socialism cloaking itself as Christianity, which is like the wolf wearing a sheepskin to get in among the flock.
     
  10. The Wyrd of Gawd

    The Wyrd of Gawd Well-Known Member

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    What's wrong with socialism?
     
  11. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    LOL, just the other day in another thread I accused the American Christian right of harbouring false priests predicting that their flock would probably happily return the insult at Christians like me and the Catholic Priest who commented on Glenn Becks comments on "social justice" in the Colbert Report:

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-col...xrs=share_copy

    In this show Father James Martin quotes Hélder Câmara, who was Roman Catholic Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, Brazil:

    "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist."

    You just proved Câmara right. So what do you reckon? Is your current Pope (just like James Martin a Jesuit who stands up for the poor) also a "wolf wearing a sheepskin"? Is it about time you left your Church?
     
  12. OverDrive

    OverDrive Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I can see both sides of this issue.

    Going back to the daily manna, God was providing for all their needs (their shoes never wore out), and gathering more than their needs and the manna 'rotting' was God 'regulating' their greed! A type of socialism with 'God in control.'

    However, when man tries socialism, it always fails, as in the Jamestown experiment, where it stated out as community effort and equal shares, but failed as many slacked off while others did the work, and both were equally rewarded. When the colony assigned land shares for individual ownership & responsibility, Jamestown thrived. Regulation became by self, reward or failure.

    No doubt 'materialism' is a drug and 'we' all can get addicted to it. A prosperous society is always looking for the next big thing, the next 'hit' to feed it's lusts. And as a drug, there is never enough! Nothing to regulate it but affordability, yet even credit cards now allow at least temporary affordability.

    But w/o some 'greed', would we have all the helpful drugs for humanity? Business drives economies and economies provide wealth, altho unevenly distributed, still as the tide that raises all boats. When man tries to 'regulate' economics, the drive to get ahead or succeed per the amount of work reqd goes down, and all suffer to some extent in the long run.

    Going back to the OP example, when God provided daily ("Give us this day our daily bread') and the purpose was for the ppl to trust in God for their sustenance et al, even then the ppl complained about 'manna, AGAIN!' And God conceded with quail to eat. Even then ppl werent content with 'free stuff.'

    W/o the Gospel of Christ, greed triumphs and others needs do not get fulfilled, as w/o charity (as in the case of widows, aliens & orphans back then) the greedy prosperous do not share their wealth. An appealing to their humanity and often with shame, or putting their names on charities, causes some to give of their abundance.

    But as scripture also states, "those who will not work should not eat.' The answer to me seems that man needs to be invested in his labors with ownership, a inheritance to pass on to his family, and those who labor with him also share in the production. And as men are different in their motivations, some wealthy will give and some will not...but legislation to give, or regulation to limit or force share the wealth, does stifle the 'enough' factor and ppl end up sitting on their abundance w/o propagating the economic factors that got them there.

    There is no perfect system with 'men' involved, and as Jesus stated, "The poor you will have with you always."
     
  13. thebrucebeat

    thebrucebeat Banned

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    Left out of your consideration Is how the earliest Christians organized their economic house. They pooled all of their resources and distributed them according to need. When the founders of the faith were faced with these questions, they lived communally. God clearly blessed this model as He struck down a husband and wife who lied and were holding back their contributions.
    It doesn't seem to me when studying the teachings of Christ that He's all that interested in the machinery of capitalism.
     
  14. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    Ironically Thessalonians 3:10 became a popular Bible quote among 20th century socialists and apparently was also a motto of those who founded Jamestown (which as far as I know was not exactly a meant as socialist model project, but as a money-making enterprise by the utterly capitalistic Virginia Company): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He_who_does_not_work,_neither_shall_he_eat

    Acts 2:44+45 suggests to me that rather than ripping Thessalonians 3:10 out of context to use it as a lame argument against welfare and charity as many of the Christian right do these days, early Christians would probably have preferred a notion popularized by Karl Marx: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”.

    As for which economic system works best: obviously unregulated Capitalism doesn’t justly provide for people’s needs neither. Rich heirs like Paris Hilton have probably never worked a single day in their life and yet they roll in luxury, whereas other people - such as the Bangladeshi seamstresses for example who make our wonderfully cheap shirts - work their asses off and yet are kept in misery.

    Rather than looking for a better economic system, one may just want to accept the status quo and at best put some charity-plasters on it to make oneself feel better. But remember that Jesus said: "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled".
     
  15. OverDrive

    OverDrive Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Share cropping (personal investment) was around back in Jesus time, and ppl had to work to get $ to provide for their family, and' Godly men' (those led by the H. Spirit) distributed the communal food/bank account. And so, again, God was in control and regulated by blessing or in the case you mentioned, death!

    How does that translate to a modern society of mixed beliefs/unbelief's? Shud Christians take a 'vow of poverty' as many nuns/priests do, and take only for their 'needs?' As Christ said to the Rich young ruler, "To be perfect, sell what you have, give to charity, and come follow Me." The question is, tho many are not considered (or consider themselves) as being 'rich', how many Christians including the OP would do such TODAY?!! It's a tough bullet to bite......and how many have their faith in God to do so?

    And so being 'in the world' but NOT 'of the world' means making a living for self & family, but not falling into it pitfalls of self w/o regards for others. Again, 'self regulation' using the principles of God if one is a Christian.
     
  16. Alfalfa

    Alfalfa Banned

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    God seems to have changed his mind since Joseph in Egypt.
     
  17. OverDrive

    OverDrive Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    FYI: Every survey I've ever seen has those who you mention with a 'sneer' as the 'Christian right' also referred to as the Evangelicals, always show as giving more to charity than any other group...they seem to understand the reality of both giving to the true needy as well as the individual's responsibility of providing for their own.
     
  18. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    I’m not from the USA, so I don’t know what it’s like on your side of the pond, but not all of the Evangelicals I know over here in Germany would necessarily locate themselves on the right side of the political spectrum.

    Giving to charity is a fine thing. But not only do I fear that a lot of the ‘charity’ right wing American Christians give goes to some self-serving mega-church pastors rather than to the poor, I also acknowledge that charity alone, while it may alleviate the poor’s suffering, doesn’t address the root causes of poverty, which need to be eliminated if we want to live in a truly just and righteous society.

    That we should strive for such a society again is implied to me by the words of Christ. In Matthew He finishes the Sermon on the Mount saying that He wants us to put it into practice. Any bank-manager who did that in our current economic system would immediately be fired from his job. So there must be something wrong with the system.
     
  19. OverDrive

    OverDrive Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    I am by no means for glorious mega-churches or the gilded pseudo-temples of the RCC, and give my $ to charities (mostly military with only 2 being Christian). I dont practice (any more!) Tithing, as I see it as OT 'law' and is never mentioned to the Gentiles in the epistles...10% of my income does not belong to God, but 100% and we are to give as needs come across our path as followers of Christ.

    [btw, ever wonder why all these Christian denominations that differ on many things , but they ALL agree on Tithing!!!]

    But this Marxist saying sounds so 'enlightening & benevolent,' but the reality is : Me, who is diligent and has worked hard, educated himself, etc. and therefore has 'ability' from such, is to give to my able-bodied, lazy, B-I-L who lives in a trailer and spends all of his Govt 'enablements' on his 'needs,' aka drugs! And believe me, I have over the years personally, as he used a wife & baby (now both gone!) as leverage to game me!

    And so that 'saying' only goes so far with me and 'reality,' ergo common sense!
     
  20. CKW

    CKW Well-Known Member

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    We should have trust in God to give us what we need and acknowledge the additional blessings God chooses to give us.

    I think what you are talking about here---is putting our trust in government to decide how much we need and how much of what was given to us by God---should be taken by the government to be dispensed to others. Much different then the story of manna.

    Ulimately it would take government to force a lifestyle and salary change. As I don't think my lifestyle hurts the world. Most people don't.
     
  21. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    The reason why most denominations agree on tithing is probably Matthew 23:23:

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”


    As for the charities you give to: it’s of course your choice to which charities you give your money, but personally I prefer charities like this one to any military ones I can possibly think of: http://www.actalliance.org/about/actmembers/bread-for-the-world

    Weirdly enough while this Marxist saying sounds enlightening and benevolent your ‘common sense’ saying here doesn’t even sound Christian to me. Matthew 5:42 reads: “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” It doesn’t add “only if that person isn’t a lazy slacker and pays back this loan with a massive interest” In fact Luke 6: 34-35 adds “34 And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. 35 But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.”


    Instead of stopping to give to a person you perceive as lazy, you ought to do like the Apostles did as described in 2 Thessalonians: lead by example and work hard.
    Mind you, I fully understand your sentiments here, it’s not as if I myself had never fallen prey to similar angry thoughts. But if God is kind to the ungrateful and wicked and if we are to be perfect just as our father in heaven is perfect , we should at least try to rid ourselves from such anger, even though it’s darned hard sometimes and we may not aleays make it.
     
  22. junobet

    junobet New Member

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    As a Christian I don’t put my trust in the government but in God. As a democrat I see it as my job to exert political influence on my government so that it may dispense societies goods wisely and fairly.

    What the Manna story tells us is that God does not approve of greed.

    And I'm afraid it's greed and self-complacency that persuades us to think our lifestyle doesn't hurt the world. Contrary to me you may of course be some Hippie living in the woods with some compost toilet. If that is so I tip my hat to you. But I'm not and I'm painfully aware of how my lifestyle hurts the world in spite of all the fair trade coffee and organic milk I spend an extra penny on. It takes wise governments to change that and wise people to vote such governments in.
     
  23. OverDrive

    OverDrive Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    you find nothing suspicious about all denominations that differ on so many things agreeing on one thing, 'Tithing..which was not taught to the Gentiles (not taught of the Jewish Law) in the many epistles written to them. Tithing being for the priesthood having no inheritance. The apostles were not NT priests, but they did ask for donations during their travels, but never referred to the 'giving' to the ministry as 'tithing.'

    The 'tithing' taught in the Gospels was as those operating in the OT covenant, as Jesus did fulfill and completed. It was referred to as being obedient to the 'Law!' Of which we are no longer under...

    And so enabling druggers is scriptural?! Shud I withhold from those who deserve benevolence to give to the wicked?

    I 'wrote off' my giving to my B-I-L as for the benefit of his wife (at the time) and child, as giving to God...but having been an over-the-road trucker for 10 yrs, I've been hustled by the best and heard every hard-luck 'story' only to see the same ppl showing up over and over again at truck stops. I believe we are called to be "as shrewd as serpents, but as gentle as doves',,my gentleness was to offer them advice in their scams!

    We shud ask for wisdom and discernment in our giving, and not be enablers ...but be responsible & wise stewards of what God has blessed us with!
     
  24. CKW

    CKW Well-Known Member

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    What the manna story tells me is that God took care of His people and we should depend on God for our sustainence. What you are telling me is that government can take care of its citizens and that citizens should depend on government for sustainence and should give control of their property and earnings to a "wise" "good" government.
    Government is inherently corrupt---its a mistake to mix God and Government up.

    A Christian should give willingly according to his or her heart. God is not advocating charity being forced out of someone's bank account.
     
  25. Durandal

    Durandal Well-Known Member Donor

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    I think you're missing my point here. Compassion and all of those good things aside, I'm talking about basic human thought patterns and how they are both externalised and countered. I'm also not concerned with the extreme of "filthy stinking rich" here, but again am talking about taking more than one needs for bare sustenance when possible. We all do that, just in varying measures, and not just as a conscious choice.

    Regarding the developing world, I do feel that businesses from our part of the world take advantage of their situation. They pay people poorly there and work them ragged thanks to a lack of labor laws. They also end up taking away our jobs, and all of this is supported by the politicians they buy off right here at home, say through campaign financing, to support their interests. All of this is driven by basic selfish desires, of course, though they also see it as helping the developing world, hence the very descriptor developing. Arguably, they're doing a good thing there, too, because those countries do in fact develop over time thanks to that business investment. We here suffer job and income losses, that's true, though we also have opportunities to build other kinds of businesses, and to find other ways to keep employed and earn money - perhaps even more than we were before. I might liken it to my own move away from making do with factory jobs to finally earning a degree in German and going into translation. I'm a lot happier and more independent, and of course better paid, having made that transition.

    Everyone can potentially make some improvement. Often it takes a little adversity, a little hardship, to drive them to it, too. You know what gets in the way of that? Charity and welfare, sadly enough. Many will settle for that and fail to advance themselves.
     

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