27 September 2008

Appeal for Zimbabwe

I'm blatently stealing from Olive's post on Octomusing


This is an appeal for Zimbabwe as the aid ban is lifted and nearly 4 million people will go hungry in October if no action is taken

As the ban on aid agencies operating in Zimbabwe is lifted, the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) is supporting an appeal by ACT International that will deliver food and agricultural support to some of the country’s most vulnerable people.

Over 2 million people were in need of urgent food supplies when the Zimbabwean government ordered all aid agencies to suspend their humanitarian and development work on June 4. The ban only worsened an already desperate situation in a country with growing political instability, 85% of the population out of work and inflation levels that were spiralling out of control.

Amanda Norman, MRDF Supporter Relations Director, said: ‘We might think that the financial situation in Britain is grim, but the economic disaster faced by those in Zimbabwe puts things well and truly into perspective. Millions of Zimbabweans have been caught up in this complex humanitarian crisis and it’s hard to know how to even begin to make a difference. This appeal enables us to work with others to alleviate some of the suffering in the short term, and empower people to begin rebuilding their lives.’

It is estimated that nearly 4 million people could go hungry in October, with this number peaking at 5 million between January and March 2009. Now that the ban has been lifted, many will now be able to access much-needed food supplies.

The appeal through Action by Churches Together (ACT) will distribute monthly food rations of maize, cooking oil and beans to over 26,000 people in some of the most vulnerable communities. Farmers will be able to rebuild their livelihoods thanks to the provision of seeds, fertilisers and training in conservation farming that will help them to guard against the impact of drought.

Donations to MRDF’s appeal for Zimbabwe can be made by debit or credit card on 020 7224 4814, or by cheque, payable to “MRDF (Zimbabwe emergency)”, posted to MRDF, Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5JR.

Taxpayers are encouraged to gift aid their donations where possible, adding a value of 28p to every pound they give, at no extra personal cost.

MRDF makes small miracles possible for people living in the world’s poorest communities. For more information, visit www.mrdf.org.uk

Source: Methodist Church News Release 26/09/08

18 September 2008

I am an opinionated catholic

Twice this week online I've encountered the argument that 'liberals' like me - and I put that word in scare-quotes for a reason - allegedly believe that 'all opinions are valid' and so, therefore, we do not have the right to disagree strenuously with conservatives. The argument seems to be that if we're going to argue that all opinions are valid that therefore the conservative opinion is valid as one among many.

What's wrong with this picture? First of all, I don't actually consider myself to be a theological 'liberal'. I
don't hold the view that a person can call themself a Christian and believe just anything. For instance, I do not believe that it is orthodox Christianity to deny the divinity of Christ nor orthodox Christianity to deny the Trinity. Of course, an individual may struggle with these concepts, but - in my opinion - the church community may not deny them.

I do not consider myself a 'liberal', I consider myself a 'catholic'. A catholic Christian believes in the universal
offer of God's salvation to all of creation. We believe that there is no person to whom God omits to offer his salvation: 'All shall be invited to the feast of life! Good news!' I do not know who is damned - if anyone - and I'm glad it's not my decision to make; that decision belongs to God.

I can see where some people might think my view is 'liberal', but it's not about 'anything goes'. It's about 'all are invited'.

This is actually a strongly-held conviction. I don't believe that all opinions are valid. When someone tells me that God excludes some people from his offer of salvation and that human beings can identify these individuals by their wrong ideas, I will disagree strenuously. Because I
don't believe that all opinions are valid.

I am an opinionated catholic and I will disagree with you if I think you are wrong. And I'll try to do so in a civil and cordial manner.

12 September 2008

Non-Apocalyptic Science

A 'real life' friend of mine has posted on the subject of Why the Large Hadron Collider won't destroy the world.

He has tried to write for the general public so that even people like me will understand the article. And I think I pretty much did understand.

As he says in his post, my friend is upset by the news coverage suggesting that the LHC will destroy the world. He says that there is as much chance of that happening as of falling off the edge of the world if you sail to the horizon.

And for those of you who keep lists of Methodist bloggers, my friend is a Local Preacher although I suspect that most of his posts won't be theological.

Apocalyptic Fun

You may be interested to know that, according to The International Earth Destruction Advisory Board that 'as of 7:35:05am UTC on September 10, 2008, the Earth has been destroyed.'

The site gives advice as to what to do in the event of earth-destruction, aka 'geocide'.