Archive for the ‘god of compassion’ Tag

Can Increasing Inequality Be a Steady State?   1 comment

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The equity of people is a basic tenet of all major, world-wide faith groups.

In the United Church of Canada, a Christian denomination, all of God’s children are welcome at the communion table. All are served the same bread and wine; the symbolism of unity in God’s presence matters. This is not so in the secular, political world of some governments today.

PressProgress summarizes the findings of an important OECD study on incomes in Canada, Australia and the United States of America. They report that:

“Increasing levels of economic inequality are the “new normal” and we can expect them to get worse, not better.

That’s the key takeaway from a recent study on long-run levels of income growth in Canada, Australia and the United States published by the OECD.

The study highlights the explosive rise of incomes in the top 1% over the last 30 years, and their growing share as compared to the bottom 90% and 99%. Authored by eminent Canadian economist and Broadbent Fellow Lars Osberg, it argues “there is no natural upper bound to the real incomes of the top 1% and thus no natural upper bound to their income gap with median households.”

Similar to the findings of French economist Thomas Piketty and the OECD, Osberg suggests that the balanced growth of the post-World War II era, which produced a more stable and fairer income distribution, bucked a broader trend in which inequality accumulates and deepens over generations.”

 The full report from PressProgress is available at: http://www.pressprogress.ca/en/post/rising-income-inequality-new-normal-study

For people of faith, reports such as these are worthy of deep reflection. What is it that our faith calls us to DO in these circumstances?

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Unconditional Love   Leave a comment

IMG_0587This week I was a part of a group that began our time together by reflecting on the following poem by Joyce Rupp – it is published in her book, “Fragments of your Ancient Name”.

 For people of a variety of faith traditions, it is in God where we experience true love. God’s love is a love that is beyond human understanding. 

However, in this poem Joyce Rupp attempts to bridge our limited human understanding of love, and  God’s love that has a depth that is so far beyond our imagination.

Even in the midst of winter snow, there is a love waiting for us to return.

 

Unconditional Love – 

A poem by Joyce Rupp

You are Love like no other.

Love so large you contain our smallness.

Love so deep you accept our shallowness.

Love so strong you carry our weakness.

Love so wide you enclose our wandering.

Love so tender you experience our hurting.

Love so tolerable you outlive our apathy.

Love so ardent you thaw our coldness.

Love so true you endure our betrayals.

Love so patient you wait for our returning.

Posted February 9, 2013 by allanbaker in Christian Faith

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Advent Love   Leave a comment

Love in Advent

Christmas 2012
(The Divine Unfolding)

Through your own incarnation, my God,
All matter is henceforth incarnate
Teilhard de Chardin

Christmas melts the coldest hearts
The shortest day and the longest night
Dancing, feasting, fires and tarts
moves our inner axis to the cause of right.

The old Romans scoured the sky
for the first signs of lenghtening day
missed the babe emerging from the sty
and a deeper clue to the life-giving way.

Those clever folk of yore wisely scanned the stars above
filaments of mystery in a cosmos  frightening
missed the miracle of Word made flesh. Love
incarnate, a new creation, the deepest truth of things.

Winter solstice, December 21 and four days later on
Lo the renewal of light, the naked eye espied
The very birth day of Sol Invictus,Unconquerable Sun
“We’ll take it for the risen one” we cried.

We continue to gather two millenia now, an Advent gestating
We have seen something fresh, a new way of being
The  mystery of Christ, new patterns unfolding
The  Galilean points to a new way of seeing.

Wassail and rejoice; Hope has bought us gifts galore
Reconcilaition, forgiveness, compassion beyond compare
Tears, kindness, justice, peace and much much more
A heart attuned to the stars and grace, grace everywhere.

Ted Schmidt

Seeds of Hope   Leave a comment

Ched Myers was in Toronto on September 26 / 27, 2012; teaching at a United Church of Canada event called, “Growing Justice”. Ched is a member of the Bartimaeus cooperative; a biblical scholar, and a teacher who lives his Christian faith – one who walks the talk.

During his time with us, Ched planted many seeds of hope.  For example, during our study of a parable of Jesus (Mark 4: 1 – 25), Ched shared the following wisdom:

“You can count the beans in the pod,

but you cannot count the pods in the bean.”

This proverb contains seeds of wisdom that provide hope for all of God’s children who are involved in the struggle for social justice in God’s world. To me, this proverb provides an assurance that:

Every hope-filled action;

every act of compassion;

every confrontation of the injustices of the world

is like one of those beans.

Loving, hopeful and optimistic   Leave a comment

Loving, hopeful and optimistic

On August 20, 2011 Jack Layton wrote an inspiring letter that, after his death, was shared with all Canadians, and even people beyond the artificial borders of this country. A year later, many of us are still remembering Jack’s words, and our souls are still being fed by their positiveness.

The concluding paragraph of Jack’s letter was an example of how Jack elevated the tone of political debate in Canada. He wrote:

“My friends, love is better than anger.

Hope is better than fear.

Optimism is better than despair.

So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.”

NDP leader Jack Layton speaks with the media during  a round table discussion in Brampton, Ontario on Saturday.   (Matthew Little/The Epoch Times)

Credit: (Matthew Little/The Epoch Times)

Posted August 30, 2012 by allanbaker in Inspiration

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The Reverend of Newtonbrook United hangs up his collar   Leave a comment

Spring time at Newtonbrook United Church

On July 25, 2012, in The Toronto Star, columnist Joe Fiorito wrote about his “exit interview” with Rev. Allan Baker. What was his, “call”; passion?

You can read the whole column at: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/1231040–fiorito-the-reverend-of-newtonbrook-united-hangs-up-his-collar

Church and Politics   Leave a comment

On June 18, 2012 the CBC radio program “As It Happens” interviewed the Moderator of the United Church of Canada. Mardi Tindal, the Moderator, was responding to Senator Eaton’s remark that churches should NOT have the right to speak on public policy. To listen to this interview, and Senator Eaton’e comments, go to:

http://www.cbc.ca/asithappens/episode/2012/06/08/the-friday-edition-32/