Issue 4 October - December 2009 €3.50
FAITH LIFE REALITY
Fairtrade Why bother?
Ex-offenders seize their second chance
Transforming lives Moving stories from India’s broken people
VOX | Oct - Dec 2009 | 1
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editorial In search of a radical makeover
I’m sure you’ve seen it. A woman appears on TV wearing a shapeless, frumpy outfit with her hair a mess and her face devoid of make-up. Two hours later, with the help of hairdressers, beauticians and fashion experts, she emerges looking 10 years younger. The audience applauds wildly as the woman gasps at her reflection in the mirror. Popular shows like 60-minute Makeover and Pimp my Ride do the same for homes and cars. It seems ideal, but there’s a catch. Makeovers are superficial. The woman who dazzles the TV audience with her new look is still the same age as when she started, no matter how young she appears. Crash diet plans, make-up, paint or gleaming hubcaps are a quick fix, a short term solution. Here at VOX magazine, we’ve been exploring what it takes to see fundamental, inside-out, lasting transformation, whether in an individual or in society. It’s a change that has to start with us (see page 11) but has the power to affect our community, our nation and even the world. It’s a change that has to make an impact on the whole of life, not just one little aspect of our appearance or behaviour. Interestingly, our VOX POP survey (see page 25) shows that many in Ireland are hungry for heart changes rather than cosmetic improvements. Integrity in public life (an end to corruption) and a more caring society were the highest-scoring ‘changes’ people wanted to see, accounting for 60% of our survey responses. Sadly, “religious” or moral answers can be as superficial as the much-loved makeover. Trying to be good or following a set of rules is not the answer. When the focus is on externals (what others see) we will always fall short of real transformation. The prophet Joel called on his people to… “rend your hearts not your garments” (Joel 2:13) or as The Message puts it, “Change your life, not just your clothes.” Are your ready for something radical?
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FAITH LIFE REALITY
October - December 2009, Issue 4 ISSN: 2009-2253 Publisher Solas Publishing Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams email@example.com Advertising Annmarie Miles firstname.lastname@example.org Layout and Operations Jonny Lindsay Directors Tom Slattery (Evangeical Alliance Ireland) Mike Mullins (OM Ireland) Dr. Abimbola Afolabi (Oasis of Love) Subscriptions Ireland (32 counties): €12 for four issues Overseas: €22 for four issues All cheques should be made payable to Solas Publishing. Solas Publishing Ulysses House 22 - 24 Foley Street Dublin 1 Tel: 01 443 4789 email@example.com www.voxmagazine.ie Disclaimer The views expressed in letters and articles are those of the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Solas Publishing. The acceptance of advertising does not indicate endorsement. Print Beulah Print, Dundalk VOX magazine is a quarterly publication, brought to you by Solas Publishing, a joint project of Evangelical Alliance Ireland, OM Ireland and Oasis of Love.
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COVER STORIES Life Renovations – ex-offenders seize their second chance Transforming lives and communities – moving stories from India’s broken people Fairtrade – why bother? VOX VIEWS It all starts here - personal transformation Excuse me. Have you got five minutes to answer a couple of questions...? The Abolition of the Laity – embracing the priesthood of all believers Can Capitalism be Healed? Market Ethics and the Virtue of Thrift - the 2009 CS Lewis lecture Spoilt for choice – using the wealth of Scripture to express our faith VOX SPORT The First Family of Irish Basketball VOX INTERVIEWS Shell Perris – meet the rock chick who is challenging the media’s influence Ronán Johnston – what shaped the new album from Emmaus?
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REGULAR FEATURES VOX: Shorts VOX: World News Your VOX: Letters It’s all Greek to me Worldwatch VOX: POP
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Web Watch VOX: Reviews Readers' Poll Classifieds and Event Listings VOX: P.S.
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Teenagers exploited by Ireland’s sex trade New research shows that teenagers as
Urban Soul – indiscriminate acts of kindness “We usually lock our doors when
we see teenagers around. This week these young people were free to roam in and out of my open door,” shared an elderly woman in Dublin. Her response was mirrored by others as over 180 young people put their faith into action for “Urban Soul” in July. Acts of kindness included cleaning off graffiti from playgrounds, painting the outside of a youth club, creating community gardens, running family fun days and handing out lunches to the homeless. “To hear an elderly lady in sheltered housing express her delight in having young people working nearby was a dream come true,” shared one of the organisers. Find out more at www.urbansoul.eu
young as 15 are being trafficked into Ireland for sexual exploitation. And there are fears that the recession could result in more Irish people turning to prostitution out of desperation. Ruhama is a Dublin-based NGO which works with women involved in prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation, including women who are victims of sex trafficking. Published in September, its Biennial Report for 2007 and 2008 highlighted the cloak of invisibility that surrounds the Irish sex trade. During 2007-2008, Ruhama helped 341 women including 100 women trafficked into Ireland specifically for prostitution (many from Nigeria). There have been 151 investigations by Gardai over the past 18 months into alleged trafficking but, to date, no prosecutions have taken place. Find out more at www.ruhama.ie
Suicide and selfharm
Another drop in the number of suicides last year means Ireland now has the sixth-lowest rate of suicide in the EU. However, we have the fourth-highest rate of youth suicide behind Lithuania, Finland and Estonia. The frequency of suicide in Ireland is now highest among people in their 20s. Men aged 2024 are most at risk. There has been a significant increase in the rate of deliberate self-harm among young men. Official figures show there were 11,700 cases of deliberate self-harm at hospital emergency departments in 2008, involving more than 9,200 individuals.
Big increase in cocaine addiction
The number of people addicted to cocaine has risen sharply since 2002, according to a new report by the Health Research Board. The report claims there was a 177 per cent increase in cocaine addiction treatment in the five years leading up to 2007. One-fifth of all cases treated for problem drug use between 2002 and 2007 reported cocaine as a problem substance, with the numbers rising from 954 in 2002 to 2,643 in 2007. Heroin addiction treatment cases increased by 31 per cent, the Health Research Board also found.
Carrantouhil fundraiser a success!
Ten ACET supporters hiked to the top of Ireland’s highest mountain in August to raise funds for the HIV / AIDS charity. On the same day, another 20 fundraisers walked around the Killarney Lakes. Check out www.acetireland.com
A conversation for young leaders – 5 November 2009
Andy Freeman, 24/7 Prayer leader and co-author of “Punk Monk”, will challenge a gathering of Irish leaders to explore solitude in chaos – ‘the interior life of the leader’. This is the final of a series of four sessions for young leaders. “Emerge” is organised by a partnership between 3Rock Youth, Youth Alive Ireland, Scripture Union and the Church of Ireland Youth Department. Emerge will take place at Carrig Eden in Greystones from 10am – 4pm on Thursday, 5 November 2009 (cost €20). For more information visit www.3rock.net or www.youthaliveireland.com
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Carry the Cross
Five people took to the highways to carry a 12-foot wooden cross from Cork to Roscommon in July. Inspired by the 40th anniversary of crosscarrying Arthur Blessit, OM Ireland director Mike Mullins was joined by a small international team for the trek. “At the heart of the Christian message is Jesus’ death on the cross,” Mike explained. “As an example of supreme sacrificial love, it confounds and confronts the selfishness of the world and presents a radical alternative, calling us to take up our cross and follow Jesus.” The team was amazed by the positive response of people they met en route. To find out more log on to www.ie.om.org
Civil Partnership Bill 2009
Published in June, the Civil Partnership Bill provides a statutory civil partnership registration scheme for same-sex couples and legal protection for long-term cohabiting relationships. Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD, said, “This Bill… reflects the many forms of relationships in modern Irish society. It provides legal protection for cohabiting couples and is an important step, particularly for same-sex couples, whose relationships have not previously been given legal recognition by the State.” The Dublin-based Iona Institute has raised concern that religious freedom could be threatened if the law is used to prevent ‘discrimination’ by those who espouse traditional marriage.
Arthur’s Day – celebrating history or promoting alcohol?
As publicity for the 250th anniversary of Guinness went into over-drive, more than 7,000 Irish Facebook users flocked to join a Guinness campaign to make Arthur’s Day a national holiday. At the same time, a west of Ireland priest called on the government to commemorate “Arthur’s Day” by banning alcohol advertising. Fr Brendan Hoban urged Guinness to resource education programmes to combat addiction and highlight the consequences for individuals and families. Fr Hoban said banning the advertising of drink would be “a good start. It might rain on Arthur’s party but, as we’ve all learned in recent years, partying has its consequences too.”
3 Nights, 3 Cathedrals, 3 Counties
A series of special events will take place in three Irish Cathedrals in December featuring the band “The Rend Collective Experiment”, DJ Sam Stott, gospel choirs and original short films. Greg Fromholz and Scott Evans will speak at the free events, called “Where Nostalgia Becomes Reality”. Friday, 4 December Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Saturday, 5 December Kilkenny Cathedral (tbc) Sunday, 6 December Belfast Cathedral, St Anns For more information visit www.3rock.net
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VOX:WORLD NEWS Forgotten killer
Every day, 5,000 die of poor water, sanitation and hygiene. Almost half the population of the developing world suffers from diseases associated with inadequate water and sanitation. One in two girls who drop out of primary school in Africa have to walk long distances to collect drinking water. Yet, it is predicted that the UN will miss by decades its 2015 target to halve the proportion of people without access to these basic necessities.
Young Christian found dead in Pakistani jail
A Pakistani Christian has been found dead in prison. Robert Danish was arrested and jailed under blasphemy laws for allegedly desecrating the Koran. While authorities say the young man took his own life, relatives believe he was killed. Pakistan Christian Congress (PCC) is strongly condemning the killing of Robert Danish and has demanded the arrest of the killers and justice for Robert’s family.
One billion people going hungry
Food aid is at a 20-year low despite the number of critically hungry people soaring to its highest level. A report by United Nations relief agency predicts that the number of hungry people will pass 1 billion this year for the first time.
Bible Translation Centre for war-ravaged Congo
In response to pleas from local Christians, Wycliffe Associates has announced plans to build a Bible translation centre in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The centre will begin translating the Bible into five new languages, giving 1.6 million people access to the Scriptures in their own language for the first time. Five years of war have left 3 million dead in DRC. Estimates report almost 1,200 people die each day “from conflict-related causes.”
Imprisoned Iranian women refuse to deny Christ
The church in Iran continues to face severe opposition. Maryam Rostampour (27) and Marzieh Amirizadeh (30) have been held at Evin Prison in Teheran without charge for over six months. Neither woman has committed a crime under Iranian or international law. At a hearing at Tehran’s Revolutionary Court in August, both women refused to recant their Christian faith. They were subsequently returned to their cells, where their health is now rapidly deteriorating in the overcrowded conditions. To sign a petition for their release go to www.thepetitionsite.com and hit the “Human Rights” section. 8 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2009
De-baptism on the rise
More than 100,000 former Christians have downloaded “certificates of de-baptism” in a bid to publicly renounce their faith, according to the London-based National Secular Society (NSS). Organisers appear to have struck a chord with atheists and once-devout church members who are leaving churches they see as increasingly out-of-tune with modern life. And the move has proved lucrative for the NSS (each certificate costs £3!!).
Police Bibles for Australia
The police force in New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, has been issued with its own special Police Bible including a ‘police prayer’ and information on police ethics, service and integrity. The new edition was produced by the Bible Society, and 3,000 copies have already been printed.
YOUR VOX letters to the editor In our latest Readers' Poll we asked which world issue most concerned you (see results on page 10). Options included poverty, human trafficking, falling moral standards, HIV, the environment and Fairtrade. A number of people added ‘war’ as a huge issue of concern. This is what you had to say about the issues… Poverty It saddens me that there are so many people suffering from poverty and all that it entails when we in the West have so much. There is also a huge sense in which I feel powerless to make a difference. Sligo (Age 26-35) In response to John the Baptist's call to “bring forth fruit in keeping with your repentance” the people asked, “What should we do?” John replied, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Most of us would have more than one shirt. Most of us have had a meal today. Is it possible that collectively we actually have the resources in our own homes to respond to much of the global need? If we are only willing… Dublin (Age 50+) Moral standards I know it’s probably very “un PC” to be more concerned with morals than poverty. But I believe that all those other things
would be addressed if global morality was higher! Dublin (Age 36-50) Doing unto others...love your neighbour as yourself... If we could truly desire to do that, like Jesus said, all the rest of the laws would be fulfilled and I think we wouldn’t have global poverty, human trafficking, etc. Dublin (Age 36 – 50) Human trafficking I wish there was a Christian organisation that dealt with human trafficking. We hear a lot about it, but not much is done. Carlow (Age 18-25) Ed: The Evangelical Alliance Ireland has a working group tackling Human Trafficking. Email them to find out more firstname.lastname@example.org War What about war? It seems it never ends and all you ever hear about is the war in Iraq. It’s an absolute disgrace and we need to withdraw troops immediately. What’s the deal? There are wars, big and small, all over the world and it would seem that the only way I can hear an opinion on it is turning on the radio or the news (or going to a hippy rally). I never heard Christians really get deep into it. They seem to shy away from the issue in my opinion. Dublin (Age 18-25)
All the above I’m not sure if one of the above is more important than another. As people who are meant to bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven, I believe we are meant to do what we feel God is calling us to. A lot of Christians involved in one of the above, such as Fairtrade, think that their issue is the most important and consequently can have a judgmental attitude towards those who do not sign up for all they are concerned with. It’s not about picking one or the other; it’s about seeking the heart of God for what He wants us to do. I think we have a huge responsibility as Christians, but I think we need to be realistic about how much we can get involved in. Dublin (Age 26 – 35) I think that you could make a good case for any of those issues being vital and pressing and a cause for concern. They are symptoms of the fallen world in which we live. Dublin (Age 36-50) We are delighted to publish short letters or emails. Recommended length: 50 – 150 words. Email: email@example.com with “Your VOX” in the subject line or write to: Your VOX, VOX Magazine, Solas Publishing, Ulysses House, 22-24 Foley Street, Dublin 1
It’s all ελληνικά to me :: Lessons from a Greek Teacher THE PITFALL OF PREDICTABILITY Curtains fade, clothes lose colour with time . . . and words grow dull with use. In the New Testament, there is a family of words that speak of being bought back, ransomed or redeemed (e.g. Mark 10:45; I Corinthians 6:19,20; Galatians 4:5; I Peter 1:18,19). These words, in Greek, in the first century, spoke to the people then of release and liberty from the horrors of being a slave, hopelessly bound through chance, debt or war, condemned to some form of living death. Of special interest is the fact that surviving inscriptions about liberated slaves use the phrase “for freedom… [name] …was set free”, the very same phrase Paul used to open Galatians chapter 5, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”.
But for us these terms have become tame, pious and predictable, the sort of words we expect to hear in a sermon or sing in a hymn. The New Testament writers used these words because they vividly described the freedom Christ brings; they were dramatic pictures of hope, life and salvation. Today, if we will properly understand and use them, they can speak again of release and freedom from any of the enslavements . . . (tick your own box) . . . . of modern living. Warren Nelson, originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth, taught at the Irish Bible School in Co. Tipperary. He now enjoys active retirement and DIY near Tullamore.
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VOX READERS’ POLL
We asked you: “Which world issue concerns you most?” Here is what you said in our online poll:
GLOBAL POVERTY 19% FALLING MORALS 19% HUMAN TRAFFICKING 19% HIV / AIDS PANDEMIC 14%
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES 10% FAIRTRADE 10% WAR 5% ALL OF THE ABOVE 4%
Have your say! Take part in our next online Readers' Poll. It takes just 30 seconds to complete online and you can read the results in the next edition of VOX. Go to www.voxmagazine.ie. and click on the Readers' Poll.
International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Churches across Ireland will mark the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church on Sunday 15 November. In Ireland, Church in Chains is focusing on the Uighur people from Xinjiang province in north-west China. Uighur Christians face opposition from the predominantly Muslim Uighur society and from the Chinese government. The Uighur church is comparatively small but has grown in recent years. The Uighurs are the largest people group in the world (9 million) without a full Bible in their language. Church in Chains has produced prayer cards, an information sheet for those leading prayers and a three minute PowerPoint presentation (on CD) to help churches participate in the day of prayer. Contact Church in Chains for these free resources for your church: PO Box 10447, Glenageary, Co. Dublin or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Employing Hope” devotional for the unemployed
Biblica, formerly International Bible Society-Send The Light, has published online devotionals to help people who have become unemployed in the recession. ‘Employing Hope’ offers 20 short Scripture-based readings, with reflection questions to consider and practical steps to take. The devotionals aim to address the reality of unemployment while giving advice on how people can face their fears and draw near to God. “People need hope and encouragement to remain emotionally and spiritually strong in these tough times,” said Biblica Outreach Director Sues Hyde. Download the free devotionals at www.biblica.com/ outreach/unemployment 10 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2009
ALL STARTS HERE
“Our churches, communities, cities or countries will not be transformed unless it happens at a personal level.”
The theme of transformation and restoration is arguably the greatest theme in the Bible as God moves the universe towards a new heaven and new earth. Christians in today’s world are concerned about transformation in church, community, city and country. However, while these are all areas in which God wants to bring transformation, the key building block is personal transformation and restoration. Our churches, communities, cities or countries will not be transformed unless it happens at a personal level. Personal restoration should not just touch parts of our lives; it is designed to be all-encompassing, affecting our head, heart and hands. Psalm 51 gives a good basis on which to address personal restoration. David becomes aware of his own need for restoration after he is confronted by Nathan concerning his affair with Bathsheba and his part in her husband’s death. While this is an extreme case that will not be experienced by most of us, David’s response gives us useful guidance as we seek to renew our relationship with God through Christ. Restoration always begins with us knowing we are in need of it. In verses 1-6 David is keenly aware of how distant he is from God. He acknowledges that his shameful deeds are always before him (v3), that he has rebelled against God and that God is right in his judgements (v4). David is aware that his need for restoration is not just cosmetic, but stems from the very heart of who he is (v5). However, he is also aware that God has greater desires and plans for him and that God can bring restoration in his inmost place (v6) – his very heart and soul. Bookshops across the country are full of books that promise selfrestoration under the guise of self-help. David rejects this idea because he knows that only God can bring true and lasting restoration. As David’s heart cries out in phrases like, ‘cleanse me and wash me’, ‘create in me and renew in me’, ‘restore to me and grant me’, he is fully aware that the work of restoration must be a work of God and that attempts at self-restoration are doomed to failure. Our inability to change our hearts or how we feel causes us to recognise, with David, that the only response to our rebellion is unconditional surrender to a loving heavenly father. After our minds acknowledge and our hearts believe that we are in need of restoration and that God is the source of our help, only then can we move towards true action. Actions divorced from true knowledge and beliefs are not pleasing to God. He does not delight in sacrifice or burnt offerings (v16); but the true sacrifice that God desires is a restored heart and spirit, one that is broken and repentant (v17). As I write these words, I am looking out at workers restoring Foley Street, and there are a few lessons learned there which may help us on our journey of restoration. Firstly, I find myself frustrated that it is taking longer than I want or think it should. But if we are willing to take the time to dig deep and lay a good foundation, it will take time. Secondly, things appear to get worse before they get better. Right now Foley Street is a mess, but it is being made new. Thirdly, engaging in the process of restoration causes inconveniences and upset for some people. Some are annoyed that they can’t drive down Foley Street or that the footpath is dug up. Likewise as God restores our lives it may disturb some around us. Finally, it is hard work as there are no quick fixes. Restoration is a lifetime of co-operating with God to appropriate the power of His Word and Spirit into our lives so that He can continually transform us through the reality of His risen Son, and then through us transform, our churches, communities, cities and countries. Jacob Reynolds enjoys life with his wife Lori and their four children, Kieran, Ailis, Niamh and Orla. For the past twelve years, he has spent his days working at the Irish Bible Institute as a principal and teacher.
Photo (Foley Street): Caroline Connaughton
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RENOVATIONS T Twelve months of recession have left a bitter legacy for thousands of Irish people. September’s figures show 444,000 people unemployed and thousands more fear for the long-term security of their jobs. While agencies across the country have scrambled to respond, one charity in Dublin is already making a difference. Launched 15 years ago by Paul Mooney and Robin Boles, Jobcare helps long-term unemployed people enter or re-enter the workforce.
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Paul Mooney spoke of Jobcare’s growth: “We started with six people on a FÁS-sponsored Community Employment scheme. Now we have 41 people in community employment. Each person is given work experience, training and personal support as they are helped towards their own career goals.” Paul's Christian faith has motivated him in this work: “Jobcare is about demonstrating Kingdom principles. If Jesus were here, what would He do to help people who are unemployed? It’s not about
bashing people over the head with the Bible, but about displaying Jesus. It is about seeing a life restored. “Anyone can teach the stuff we teach, but when we do it out of this motivation
If Jesus were here, what would He do to help people who are unemployed?
Images: Jonny Pardoe
and heart we see lives changed. Whether it is with an exoffender or a guy who used to work in a highpaying job, we are helping to overcome the obstacles.”
Four years ago Paul started working on a new venture. “At that time I felt God leading me to work with ex-offenders. I was concerned that they are being left without the means to rehabilitate. Full-time occupation is key to arresting the cycle of reoffending, but few employers are prepared to take the chance of giving a job to someone with a criminal record. I felt Jobcare could develop a full-time work programme for ex-offenders”. And so Trasna was born. An Irish word meaning crossing over, Trasna offers a programme of work, training, support and development to men who have recently left prison. Just as Jobcare was launching Trasna, Trinity Church Network in Dublin took over the ownership of an old building in the north inner city. The old Labour Exchange on Gardiner Street needed complete renovation and Jobcare was contracted to assist with the work of restoring the building to its original function – a church. The Trasna crew worked alongside skilled builders and craftsmen – gaining important work and life skills in the process. Trasna is a tough programme. The men work hard and have to stay ‘clean’ – regular drug testing is part of the programme – as well as being held accountable for other life management goals. The physical labour (knocking down walls, plastering, painting, etc.) is combined with certified training courses and mentoring – helping them make real and lasting changes in their lives.
As the renovations of the derelict Labour Exchange building have taken shape, the Trasna programme has been involved in liferenovations.
“Out of the original 15 men on the first year of the programme, one guy is back in prison, but the rest are going straight,” said Paul. “Four start college this autumn, some are in work, two are going back to do their Leaving Cert and one is pursuing a literacy programme. This exceeds expectations.” As the renovations of the derelict Labour Exchange building have taken shape, the Trasna programme has been involved in life-renovations. Here are some of the stories:
“I LOVED TAKING DRUGS”
Karl Kilmartin began messing about with drugs when he was just 13 years old. By 17 he was using heroin daily, and life went rapidly downhill. “I would do anything to get money to feed my heroin addiction. I got worse and worse. When my mother passed away it opened my eyes: I was homeless, dragging myself around the streets, selling drugs, robbing houses. I was down to six stone in weight and my veins were collapsing. You wouldn’t do that to a dog!” Karl battled through treatment and then relapse, trying to stay clean but falling back into old habits again, until he took part in a course taught by John McKeever from Jobcare. “If I had not met John… I don’t know what would have happened to me. I wrote a letter to Jobcare and got an interview just after Christmas.”
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I have stopped hanging around with those people.” This autumn Mark is going back to school to complete his Leaving Certificate. “I don’t want to be a dunce. I left school without any qualifications but now I’ve got a place to do my Leaving Cert. My little girl is going to school and I want to be able to help her with her homework. “Jobcare has really helped me. They are always there for you. I want to look for a good job. I’d love to be in a job for five years or more… I’d love to be a mechanic!” Karl enrolled on the Trasna programme – working on the restoration contract in Gardiner Street. The transformation of the building mirrored the changes that took place in Karl’s life. The 200-year-old building was a wreck. At first there was a lot of heavy work to do: knocking down walls, plastering, putting in ceilings and floors. “The first year was rocky. Last July I had a slip with heroin. I was called into the Jobcare office. It was tough love. They talked about my kids. This was my last chance. I have not used heroin since then.” “They have helped me so much. I was over 30 years old with the maturity of a 14-year-old. I needed help with simple stuff, like opening a bank account.” The final turning point for Karl came
“Now when I get up in the morning I am whistling. last autumn when he joined a Trasna team taking part in the Niall Mellon Township Trust building blitz in Cape Town, South Africa. For someone who had never been outside of Ireland the trip proved life-changing. Working in the townships, Karl was struck by the smiles on the faces of people who have literally nothing. “They brought us into their shacks. We worked putting on the roofs for new houses. On the last day we got to hand them the keys to their new homes. Their faces broke my heart. Before I left, I gave away everything I had with me. “Now when I get up in the morning I am whistling. I spent all my life struggling, but now life is not a struggle. I am 14 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2009
going off to college this autumn to study for a degree in computer technology and business. I want to make a future for my partner and my kids. “I feel comfortable with myself now. People used to look down on me like I was a piece of shit. It is very hard for someone to understand the magnitude of the change. I am so grateful to the people in Jobcare for giving me a chance.” Looking around the almost-completed new church building that has risen from the wreck of the old Labour Exchange Karl smiles. “The guys have done phenomenal work. Everyone should be proud. It is great to see it being used – this is something to be proud of.”
“I don’t want to be a dunce”
Mark Duffy (27) knows that if it wasn’t for Jobcare he would be out on the streets. “I grew up in an area where everyone was robbing cars and I soon got in with the wrong people. I started smoking hash. When my Ma told us she had cancer and had only five months to live, my Da got into smoking heroin. I used to watch him. Eventually I was offered heroin and one day I just took it. I ended up strung-out for nearly two years.” The Trasna programme gave Mark a chance to get his life straightened out. “I have got myself completely clean. All that is around this area is drugs and crime but
My little girl is going to school and I want to be able to help her with her homework.
“I’m going to qualify as an accountant!”
Growing up in Dun Laoghaire, John McCaffrey (24) had everything going for him. He did well in school until he discovered drink and drugs. Four years later he was homeless, sleeping rough in a graveyard, and he eventually ended up in prison for selling drugs. “My partner was on Community Employment in Jobcare when I got locked up and she told me about them. They have looked after me since I got out of prison. “I started off on the Gardiner Street project and worked at making the plaster coving around the ceiling. I was there for seven months but I really wanted to be an accountant – I just love numbers! So now I’m working in the accounts department at Jobcare and getting my training in payroll systems. “From day one, I knew what I wanted and what I was heading towards. It took me a while and things were a bit hectic for me at first. Jobcare is about helping people to move on and make a steady living.” Find out more about Jobcare. Log on to their website at www.jobcare.ie VOX Editor Ruth Garvey-Williams visited Jobcare and the Trasna graduates as the finishing touches were being made to the Trinity Church building this summer.
Excuse me. Have you got five minutes to answer a couple of questions..?
Twice recently I have agreed to fill out a survey; once on the phone (as I was just happy they weren’t trying to sell me broadband) and once online. I don’t often fill them in either, usually ‘cos they want to add me to a million mailing lists. On both occasions at a certain stage of the survey I was told that they had filled their quota of those in my category… thanks but no thanks! First of all, if it’s a survey, how can they decide who they don’t want? Surely the whole idea is to take whatever information they get and work out the results? But my main problem with it is... am I typical? Are there lots of people in my “category”? And what IS my category anyway??? I remember all those categories that came out in the 80s; like the YUPPIES, the DINKs and the DINKYs. I certainly never fitted in to any of those. In fact I don’t remember EVER fitting in, to any gang or group. I’m not sporty, I’m not what you might call pretty, I was never cool, I always thought I was a social outcast! (OK, that was a bit of a dramatic overstatement, but you get my drift.) But now it turns out that my category is filling out every survey available and there are too many of us! It’s a bit tragic really! BUT... look at these verses from Psalm 139: O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. And later…For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. How many babies have been conceived in the world since it began? And these verses apply to each and every one! It turns out that there’s only one category after all… Made by God!
"I don’t remember EVER fitting in, to any gang or group"
Annmarie Miles comes from Tallaght in Dublin and is married to Richard, from Wales. She works for Focus on the Family and loves to cook, sing, read, talk and eat! She has just graduated with a degree in theology from Bangor University in Wales.
ARE YOU STARTING UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE THIS AUTUMN? DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS? Almost every campus in Ireland has a Christian Union – a student run society that exists to see students transformed by encountering Jesus, whether that is by hearing the good news for the first time or growing in their faith. IFES Ireland links the CUs throughout the island and provides training and resources to both individuals and whole CUs. Check out the IFES Ireland website for useful articles and information for Freshers and fill in a link-up form to get in contact with your local CU. You can also request a form by phoning the IFES Ireland office in Belfast: +44 28 90242100.
“Inspiring and equipping students to follow Jesus” www.ifesireland.org email@example.com
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I did become an airline pilot, but in the many long days spent on several continents, I never for a moment ceased to be a priest.
HEN I WAS 12 I HAD THIS IDEA – FOR A VERY SHORT TIME (WELL ACTUALLY JUST FOR A FEW MINUTES) – THAT I WOULD BECOME A CHURCH MINISTER INSTEAD OF AN AIRLINE PILOT OR AN ASTRONAUT OR A MILKMAN. TOUGH CHOICE FOR A 12-YEAR-OLD, BUT THERE IT WAS LIKE A MESSAGE FROM SPACE: M-I-N-I-S-T-E-R.
In our Church we called them ‘clergymen’ (there were no ‘clergywomen’), although for some odd reason in the Prayer Book they were called priests. There were special things only priests could do that the laity definitely couldn’t do – say communion, preach, pronounce the forgiveness of sins, do baptisms, marry and all that stuff, and wear the clerical garments, which I rather liked. Anyway, five years later, kneeling beside my bed in Cabra, I unwittingly became a priest. I thought I was just confessing my sin and asking Jesus to save me, promising to follow Him for the rest of my life, and asking Him to help me give up cursing. That’s all I was doing. I didn’t even include washing the dishes. I wasn’t aware then that I was becoming part of a royal priesthood, ordained in the Holy Spirit for the priestly task of showing others the blessings of God’s amazing kingdom, how to understand God’s word, how to find forgiveness at the cross and how to become part of God’s royal family. The following year, at 18, I did become an airline pilot, but in the many long days spent on several continents, I never for a moment ceased to be a priest. In the days before Jesus you couldn’t just decide to be a priest. You had to belong to a priestly lineage and have no unmentionable bits of you that didn’t work properly or had fallen off. Any of the unordained, the laity, who presumed to do priestly things might get burnt up in a firebolt of divine wrath. Even a king couldn’t trespass on the priestly office without losing his royal anointing. The very notion of a royal priesthood was a contradiction in terms. Imagine the revolution that happened in King Jesus who began a new kind of priesthood altogether, a ‘kingdom’ movement in which every follower of Jesus would also be a priest, and in which the notion of an unordained ‘laity’ of non-ministers would be abolished completely! This was truly radical. With the destruction of the old Temple system, religious privileges that previously attached only to the priests were now extended to royalty – all the King’s children. Religious privileges of men were extended to women. And God’s people, formerly comprised exclusively of Jews, would now include faithful people of every nation. No longer ‘Jew’ and ‘Gentile’ but one New Humanity, no ‘slave’ or ‘free’, no ‘male’ or ‘female’. Everyone in Christ now held priestly office. This does not mean that everyone is a leader in this new Jesus community. God instructs us to recognise our leaders, follow them, respect them, pray for them, and honour them publicly and privately. They are variously called overseers (‘bishops’), elders (’presbyters’), shepherds (‘pastors’), apostles, or just leaders – but they are never called priests. What radical churches we would have if the entire congregation lived in its priestly ordination, servant ministers in Jesus’ kingdom, and nobody settled for the unbiblical office of the ‘unordained’. I’m beginning to wonder now if that incoming message when I was twelve was a true call to ‘ministry’ after all. I just didn’t understand then that God’s destiny for every believer is ordination for Christian ministry. You see, now that we’re all God’s royal priesthood, the old notion of the ‘laity’ just isn’t available to us any more. It’s been abolished.
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transforming lives and communities
“YOU ARE WORTHLESS.”
For 3,000 years millions of people have been classed ‘untouchable’ under India’s caste system. These broken people – the Dalit – are not considered part of human society. Condemned to a life of poverty and oppression, approximately 250 million Indians (25% of the population) are Dalit. Systematic denial of their basic human rights has deprived the Dalit of education, food, healthcare, economic opportunity and justice. “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 Along with other churches and organisations, OM ministries in India responded to pleas for help from the Dalit people with a comprehensive programme that is transforming individual lives and whole communities through education, economic development, healthcare and spiritual development. While practical help is vital, for many of the Dalit people the most profound change comes as they realise God loves and values them.
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“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Isaiah 58:6 EDUCATING - INVESTING IN A NEW FUTURE
Dressed in blue satin caps and gowns, 17 teenagers from the Jeedimetla Dalit Education Centre (DEC) stood with beaming faces as a large crowd of people applauded their accomplishment. This year, almost 50 children emerged as the first successful graduates. Since 2001, 90 new Dalit education centres have been providing a high quality English-medium education for 18,000 children!
Deivanai belongs to a poverty-stricken Dalit family in Tamil Nadu in Southern India. Deivanai’s mother did not appreciate the education Deivanai was receiving at the DEC. Wanting her daughter’s help with household chores, she prevented Deivanai from attending school.
The DEC teachers were aware of Deivanai’s high academic caliber. When she missed school for several days, the principal visited her home. She suggested that Deivanai live in a girls’ boarding facility near the school so she could focus on her education. After much thought, her parents agreed. Deivanai returned to school and thrived in the positive environment. Deivanai worked extremely hard for her final exams, determined to excel. Not surprisingly, she ranked first in her class and scored 92%. Her excellent score immediately earned her a place at a quality junior college. Deivanai hopes to become a government official.
Kanchan comes from a Dalit home in “Pipe Village”, Andhra Pradesh. Kanchan’s parents abandoned her because she was a girl. Like most Indian couples, they only valued sons. Kanchan lived with her grandparents in the converted sewage pipes they called home. Kanchan knew she was unwanted. She tried to earn her family’s love but was rarely rewarded. After much coaxing
from the local DEC staff members, Kanchan’s grandparents allowed her to attend school. Six years ago, when Kanchan stepped into the Jeedimetla DEC for the first time, she found love and acceptance. She also found a new purpose in life.
"Kanchan knew she was unwanted" Kanchan ranked first in her final exams this year. She hopes to become a doctor and serve her community.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND NOW THEIR MONEY GROWS
Hundreds of Dalit women have become successful small-scale business entrepreneurs because of OM India’s Economic Development Initiatives. These women have proven that they have the business acumen and skill to run viable businesses and earn adequate profits to live a dignified life.
Chandpa is the president of a Self Help Group in Gujarat. Today, Chandpa exudes confidence and speaks kindly to new group members. She knows from personal experience the struggles each woman experiences. Chandpa’s family lived in dire poverty. Her husband’s income as a construction worker was insufficient to run the home. Then Chandpa joined a local Self Help Group (SHG). Although Chandpa is illiterate, she excelled in the SHG training and quickly grasped the basic financial concepts. She saved money regularly and made her contribution to the group’s collective fund. In 2008, she became eligible for a loan. With a loan of 10,000 Indian Rupees (€140), Chandpa and her husband
bought a three-wheeled taxi. Almost immediately, her husband began to earn a better income. Chandpa quickly repaid her loan. This year, Chandpa requested another loan. This time she used the money to open her own tailoring shop. Her business is doing extremely well. Today she and her husband are able to send their children to school and have even bought their own home.
HEALTHCARE – MAKING A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
A farmer’s son had been ill for a long time. Medical care was unavailable in the area and it is common practice to visit a black magic doctor for treatment. Anxious to see his son recover, the farmer gave the “doctor” an exorbitant amount of money to perform “healing” rituals. For weeks there was no improvement in the child’s condition. When the father appealed for a second consultation, the doctor demanded a higher fee. In desperation, the farmer contemplated selling his small piece of land knowing this would end the means by which he earned an income. Mercifully, OM India Community Health Worker Rajesh was visiting the village and went to see the son. The boy was suffering with a fever and severe dehydration. Rajesh took the child to a hospital, where he was diagnosed with malaria. After intensive treatment, the boy returned home and is healthy today.
SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT – NEW BELIEVERS CELEBRATE
Under the scorching sun, people navigated the dense forests carrying belongings on their heads. The two-day “Yesu Mahotsav” (Jesus Festival) was organised
by one of the many Good Shepherd Community Churches. No roads or transportation facilities led to the heavily-wooded area but the distance was no deterrent as 300 people flocked to the festival. Despite their poverty, a love for Jesus prompted sacrificial giving. Participants brought rice, plates, spices, firewood and everything required to feed the whole crowd. The conference included singing worship songs, listening to God’s word, and engaging in Bible studies. Everyone sensed the Spirit of God and 15 people made a public declaration of their faith in Christ. After the conference, the Good Shepherd Community Church leadership team dedicated a newly constructed GSCC worship center in a village nearby. The pastor and church members are overjoyed to have their own place to worship God. GSCC leader Roshan Soren says, “It was wonderful to see these first-generation Christians thrilled about their new life. Though they are uneducated, ordinary and simple, their faith in Jesus is strong. They are unaware of deep theological and doctrinal issues, but they are learning more every day. The one thing they know for sure is that Jesus has changed their lives and they want to worship Him.”
HOW CAN I RESPOND?
OM Ireland makes it possible for people in Ireland to support the cause of the Dalits in simple and practical ways. You can: 1. Sponsor a Dalit child for just €21 a month 2. Download the 7-day Prayer Guide 3. Book a multi-media presentation for your church, youth group or meeting. 4. Give a gift for school equipment, to help a Dalit pastor or to provide finance for micro-loans 5. See for yourself through tailor-made trips to India organised by OM Ireland Visit www.ie.om.org for full details. Write to Help the Dalits, OM Ireland, Lacken House, Rahara, Co Roscommon. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact OM Ireland on 090-662-3964. VOX | Oct - Dec 2009 | 19
VOX:INTERVIEW SHELL PERRIS
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ROCK CHICK SHELL PERRIS HAS STORMED INTO THE CHRISTIAN MUSIC SCENE with a message that has captured the imagination of her teenage fans. VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams caught up with Shell at Irish music festival MAD 2009 to ask about her new album “Beautiful Life” (out now) and the message she is trying to share with young people. The new album is all about being who God made you to be. We are made in the image of God. If you look in the mirror and say “I am ugly” you are dissing God’s creation. We compare ourselves to other people, to the people in magazines, and we end up trying to be something that does not exist! The media has such a massive influence. It is so integrated into our culture. We have got to be really careful about what we allow to enter into our minds. I think it is important to keep up with what is going on in the world, but to know your identity in Jesus first and to make sure that it fits with God’s way. I believe that God has called me to be a healer of broken hearts. Whatever it is that you are going through, God can restore you. I want to inspire people and help people to experience God’s love and ultimately challenge people to take that step to be in a relationship with God. It’s about real life issues that are happening to real-life people… not about doing whatever it takes to feel good. In my new song “Nothing’s Gonna Stop the Rain!” I looked at the four main things that hurt people; that need we have to feel someone put their arms around us. It’s about trying not to focus on the situation but being grateful for being alive and living life to the max! Shell returns to Ireland for the “Restored Tour” with Barry Woodward and will be performing in Sligo, Enniskillen and Antrim on 22, 23 and 24 October. Check out full details on www.shellperris.com
VOX:SPORTS 1st FAMILY OF IRISH
A special Westbrook family reunion took place on 15 August at The National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. The Irish national basketball team was hosting Sweden in a European qualifiers match. Michael, Isaac and Aaron – the three oldest Westbrook boys - were representing Ireland on the Irish team. Their family and friends were in the crowd. At least for this night if not more, many would describe their Dad, Jerome Westbrook, as the Father of Basketball in Ireland! Jerome Westbrook, from the USA, was born to play and coach basketball. Over the past 30 years Jerome’s basketball record has spoken for itself. It all started in 1981, when Irishman Mick McCormick spotted Jerome in Chicago and recruited him for Killester of Dublin. Jerome had just graduated from Eureka College in Illinois (same college as President Ronald Reagan). Mick offered him a professional contract in Ireland. Jerome agreed. Playing for Killester during that 1981-82 season fulfilled his dream of playing basketball professionally, and life has never been the same since for the Westbrooks, for Killester and for Irish basketball. Basketball in Ireland is a small market. Jerome was forced to supplement his income by running basketball camps (and still does) and in the beginning as a social worker in the Sean McDermott Street area – he now teaches in Portmarnock Secondary school and coaches basketball. The 80’s were the glamour years in Irish basketball. The peak season was in 1987. That year Jerome was player/coach for Killester with both Kelvin Troy and Mario Elie (later to win 3 NBA title rings) on the National Cup winning squad. That same year Jerome was to begin an amazing journey. One day, while walking home with his wife Lois and three boys, a woman named Sarah Ryan stopped and offered the Westbrooks a ride home. They accepted. The conversation and relationship that followed changed his world forever! Responding to Sarah’s invitation, the family began attending church at FBC (now Trinity Church) where they built their relationship and understanding of God. Through the highs and lows of life, Jerome receives his balance through his faith and his family. Jerome says, “Jesus gives me value, stability. He’s my example to follow. He is there for me and that in turn drives me to be there for others in their time of need. I’m in no way perfect. I have made mistakes and I need the Lord’s mercy as well as His grace.” Today, Jerome is studying at DCU to get his Masters of Education in ELearning and playing with the Intervarsity team. VOX:SPORTS is written by Daniel Tabb. Born in the United States, Daniel moved to Dublin in January 2002. He is the founder and director of “Sports Across Ireland”.
PLAYING CAREER... COACHING CAREER… 1981-84 Killester 1981 St. Fintans in Sutton 1984-86 Trim - team lapsed (13 All Ireland league & cup titles) 1986-88 Killester as player/coach 1988-89 Dungannon 3 straight league & cup titles w/ sons 1989-93 Killester Michael, Isaac & Aaron 1991-96 Irish panel – 26 caps 1993-95 St. Vincents – won league, cup & playoffs 1993 Coach Holy Faith girls 1994 Ireland won small nations cup 1991 Holy Faith in Clontarf Jerome named IOC 19 Player of the Year.” restarted girls basketball programme 1995-00 Dublin Bay Vikings – owned franchise 5 league & cup titles 2000 Killester player / coach 2001 Killester - Won League & Cup w/ son Michael w/ daughter Leah20s teams 2007 Killester - Won league w/ son Isaac, 5+ yrs unbeaten streak (100+ matches) 2007 Evening Herald Coach of the Year 2008 Killester - Won Cup w/son Isaac 2008 DCU intervarsity team 2000 National Coach of the Year
VOX | Oct - Dec 2009 | 21
“helping to change the position of producers from a place of vulnerability to economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and safety, receiving the wage which they have worked for.”
– why bother? WHAT IS FAIRTRADE? Developed in the 1980s, Fairtrade promotes partnerships between developing countries and the western world with the aim of guaranteeing workers a fair wage. Fairtrade helps to ensure economic self-sufficiency, empowerment and safety for producers in the two-thirds world. FAIRTRADE MARK CERTIFIED: ETHICAL GOODS IN IRELAND The FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is how consumers can tell that workers have benefited from Fairtrade standards. Its use on the packaging of food, drink, clothes and toys guarantees that workers have received a fair wage and that there are decent health and safety standards in their place of work. Some goods that do not have the logo may still be ethically traded, such as Created Gifts (formerly Tearcraft). FAIRTRADE AND THE IRISH The last two years have seen major growth for Fairtrade in Ireland. Announcements from global giants like Starbucks (now using 100% Fairtrade coffee beans for all their espresso products) have brought the issue into the limelight. According to the latest research, over 64% of Irish consumers now have an awareness of the Fairtrade Mark and what it means. In July 2009, Cadbury’s Dairy Milk chocolate began carrying the Fairtrade Mark. The iconic chocolate brand is committing to ethical sourcing of its 22 | VOX | Oct - Dec 2009
cocoa beans. According to the director of Fairtrade Ireland, Peter Gaynor, the move sets a new standard. “Many more people in Ireland will be able to help to improve the circumstances of small-scale cocoa farmers and their families in Ghana.” Ireland now has 38 officially recognised Fairtrade towns and another 29 are currently seeking Fairtrade status. Becoming a Fairtrade Town is a shared achievement requiring a partnership between local government, schools, businesses, community organisations and concerned individuals. SHOULD CHRISTIANS BUY FAIRTRADE? Tearfund research consultant Helen Lanes says, “The Scriptures are full of God calling His people to treat others with dignity, justice and love, and that has implications for how we do business.” James (5:4) defends the rights of workers to a just wage: “Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.” Helen acknowledges, “While giving to charity is an important Christian response, buying fairly traded products is a way of acknowledging a person's dignity in work.” Buying Fairtrade goods ensures that the products we enjoy are not at the expense of someone else's exploitation. The Bible speaks clearly against those who make profit through the exploitation of workers. God is “against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow and the orphan” (Malachi 3:5).
‘We don’t for one minute think the solution to all problems in world trade is Fairtrade. What we want to create is a situation where it is no longer acceptable to do nothing, where every company, and every individual, has to do something to make the world fairer.’ Harriet Lamb, Executive Director, Fairtrade Foundation
Pay him his wages each day before sunset, because he is poor and is counting on it. Otherwise he may cry to the Lord against you, and you will be guilty of sin. Deut. 24 v 15
Matthew Matoli, a coffee farmer in Tanzania, explains that, ‘without our co-operative and selling to the Fairtrade market, our life would have been terrible. Fairtrade gives us hope and courage. We are able to earn a higher wage and better provide for our families.’
Useful Websites for more info: www.createdgifts.org www.tearfund.ie/get_ involved (or contact Helen on 085 2792498) www.fairtrade.ie
Ignorance is bliss, but with so much information available online and in supermarkets, we have a duty to do our homework and make sure that what we are buying is not supporting injustice and oppression. Twenty years ago, none of us could have imagined the environmental and social changes consumers could achieve simply by changing their shopping habits. Ordinary people can make a difference! ALWAYS READ THE LABEL Many products claim to be “Fairtrade” but do not have the official Fairtrade Mark. Certain so-called “Fairtrade” items say that wages are given in ‘local context’ terms. This should set alarm bells ringing. If wages are paid at are local level, producers could be receiving as little as a bonded labourer (slave worker) down the road. It is important to pay close attention to the labelling on goods to make sure that they have met the strict standards outlined by companies like Fairtrade Mark Ireland. Roberta von Meding graduated in 2007 from IADT and now works as an Advertising Executive for a trade publication. She lives in Greystones with her husband Joey
10 ways you can promote Fairtrade 1. Hold a Christmas craft stall in church to sell Fairtrade items 2. Buy Fairtrade Christmas gifts 3. Suggest that your church, school, college or workplace switches to Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar 4. Sample different Fairtrade products at your supermarket - they are not always the most expensive products on the shelf 5. Research to find out where products are made and find out companies' policies on ethical trading 6. Lobby local shops and cafés to stock Fairtrade goods 7. Boycott brands that do not place an emphasis on ethical trading 8. Hold a Fairtrade tasting evening 9. Join with others to make your town a Fairtrade town (if not already) 10. Write to local and national newspapers to raise awareness of the issue
My top five... Web Highlights from VOX readers www.blanaid.com Set up by Irish fashion blogger Blanaid Hennessy, this web site is full of lovely pictures of interiors, outfits and art. www.highwaycommunity.com Brilliant podcasts encouraging practical Christianity. www.electricpicnic.com As I write this, I’m packing my wellies for this year’s event. It’s not just a music festival; there are plenty of forums to flex your debating/social action muscles, chill out, and catch up with friends you haven’t seen since last year. www.emergentvillage.com Interesting people having interesting conversations about the Christian faith.
www.charitywater.org One billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. I find this statistic staggering, especially as I look out my window at another downpour. 100% of public donations raised by this charity directly fund water projects. Alison Nulty is from Kilkenny but lives in Kerry, where she works as a journalist. She loves chocolate and hates mushrooms.
Send us your top five web sites with a few details about yourself (editor@voxmagazine. ie). We’ll publish one top five in every VOX magazine and will make more available on our web site www.voxmagazine.ie VOX | Oct - Dec 2009 | 23
CAN CAPITALISM BE HEALED Market Ethics and the Virtue of Thrift Irishman C. S. Lewis became one of the 20th century's best-known writers on faith and social issues. Lewis believed Christianity should be a constant challenge to any society's easy answers or unquestioned assumptions. This annual lecture seeks to honour his memory by continuing the process of asking hard questions on major issues. On 28 September, the Evangelical Alliance Ireland hosted the C.S. Lewis Lecture in Dublin at The Institute of Bankers in Ireland. It was attended by academics, media
The plight of the world’s poor has reached the top of the world’s global political agenda. But this groundswell of concern often ignores the positive potential of business to help in the fight. I’m not suggesting that poverty will be solved by entrepreneurship alone. To really prosper, a nation also needs what social scientists tend to call ‘social capital' – the institutional, relational, moral and spiritual dimensions of life. The current economic crisis appears to confirm the widespread suspicion that the market is the least likely instrument to be an effective carrier of virtue. The economic crunch appears to stem from a deeper institutional, relational, moral and spiritual crunch. And at stake is a habit, a mindset, a ‘virtue’ that, having all four of these dimensions, is foundational to capitalism – by which I mean “thrift”. Capitalism is often considered good for the bottom line but spiritually empty. But enterprise is not only about goods and services. Ethics and enterprise aren’t as much like oil and water as our cynical media tries to convince us. Thrift has specifically to do with saving (from waste), in view of the scriptural notion that God saves human beings
representatives, business and political leaders. Dr Peter Heslam is Director of Transforming Business, a research project at Cambridge University focused on enterprise solutions to poverty (www.transformingbusiness. net). His lecture explored the potential of business and entrepreneurship as agents of positive change. In this edition, VOX magazine brings you a brief summary of some key issues he raised:
from the destructive waste of human waywardness. It stimulates the preservation of resources so that they can meet human needs – saving the environment, for instance, from the destructive wastefulness of carelessness and over-consumption. An ancient story teaches us more about thrift than can be learned from many books. A wealthy man is going away on a journey and leaves one of his servants with five talents, another with two and another with one. The first two servants put the money to work – they ‘traded’ - while the third servant digs a hole and buries it. When the master returns, the first two servants give him back double what he gave them but the third servant has only the one that he was given. Greed and miserliness undermine thrift. In contrast, the two servants who 'put their money to work' reflect a God who inspires the imagination, productivity and risk-taking that characterise the thrift needed to convert the barrenness of money into fruitfulness of capital. In contrast, the lottery has become almost a symbol for such waywardness in the use of money, even though it still presents itself to poor debtors as a means
to future redemption. Decoupled from hard work, [the lottery] attaches reward to chance and fate. Would-be habitual savers and investors are made habitual [gamblers], content only with instant gratification. Opinion formers and policy makers who are increasingly emphasizing the importance of ‘happiness’ could perhaps consider the development of national lottery ticket outlets as places where savings tickets can also be sold with adverts using a slogan like ‘every ticket wins’. Millions of consumers, currently bombarded with gambling and credit options, would be offered a rare opportunity to invest. There are no easy answers to global poverty or to the current [economic] crisis. Thrift is a challenging virtue and entrepreneurship is not a soft career option. However, just as thrift-based entrepreneurship is helping to reduce absolute poverty in many countries around the world, it offers the best hope of bringing our recession to an end. To read or to hear the complete lecture visit www.cslewislecture.ie
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See www.voxmagazine.ie for rates. The deadline for the next issue is 4 December.
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WORLDWATCH a closer look at the big picture
Where To with Lisbon?
TV PRESENTER, COMPOSER, SONGWRITER, VOICE COACH AND RECORD producer Ronán Johnston’s career has spanned more than two decades in the entertainment industry in Ireland and around the world. VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams caught up with Ronán at Ireland’s Christian music festival MAD 2009, where his band Emmaus was performing songs from its new album “Mountaintop”. In our house the economic downturn happened six months early. I had been working away with “You’re a Star” and doing “Rock Rivals”. That finished last February. It was a bit like falling of the edge of a cliff, financially. God said to me: Ronán, have I ever let you down? I found myself sitting down by the piano, playing some songs every morning. I think I thought it was just a message for me, but at a festival in the UK at Easter, we played one of the new songs,“You have never let me down, You have never let me go, never let me fall away, always pursued me…” There were people weeping. It is very hard when something is deeply personal. It was great to be back playing with the guys again. We recorded the whole album at my home. Our previous album, “Songs of Consolation” was like an oil painting. This was like a dozen watercolours – it was done so fast! (“Mountaintop” is out now and available from Ronán's website, www. ronanjohnston.com) What now? Emmaus toured the world (Europe, USA) for years and years. I feel very open about what may happen next. I like what we have just done (at MAD) - it is nice to be able to sing your songs to people. It would be great to know that these songs have blessed people.
United Marriage Encounter Weekend Nov. 20-22, Kingston Hotel, Dun Laoghaire
"Our Weekend…was filled with incredibly unique ideas on how to communicate lovingly with each other. This is… the utmost best investment we have ever made for ourselves, our marriage!" (Feedback from previous weekend)
In his compelling novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, written in 1948, George Orwell explored the consequences of absolute political control to their terrifying extreme. Big Brother was always watching; history was being incessantly rewritten to meet the Party’s objectives; put one foot wrong and you were ‘vaporised’ – from all photographs, records, memory. Thankfully, no system of government so far has ever been as petrifyingly totalitarian as Nineteen Eighty-Four, though Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China came close. Of great interest, however, and perhaps even more relevant today, is Orwell’s depiction of the global configuration of power. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, the world is carved up between three Super States. Oceania comprises the British Isles and the Americas, Eurasia stretches eastwards from western continental Europe, and Eastasia covers the Orient. Oceania is continually at war with either Eurasia or Eastasia, ostensibly for dominion of Africa and the Indian Ocean. By the time this ‘WorldWatch’ is published, we Irish will have decided whether or not to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. Whatever the outcome, I think sooner or later it is historically inevitable that Lisbon will come into effect and the European Union will gain in consolidation, unification and strength, internally and externally. No-one knows what this will lead us to in five or ten years’ time. The United States of America is a superstate exercising power over the rest of the world. China is the richest nation in sheer manpower, while India and Brazil are in impressive ascendance industrially and militarily. Now, with Lisbon, are we inching towards a United States of Europe, which, in population at least, would be significantly greater than the USA? Draw Russia into the equation, and we must wonder whether we are witnessing the rise of five or six superstates. Friction between them is unavoidable; war would devastate the earth as never before. All this puts me in mind of Revelation: the Beast from the earth, the Beast from the sea, the dragon; the mark of the Beast without which you can neither sell nor buy; the kings and the merchants who trade in the ‘bodies and souls of men’. And war: conflagration, destruction, slaughter, terror. Big Brother has never become a reality, but Orwell may be right yet about Super States. Even so, his vision of the conflict between them is a Sunday picnic compared to that of John in Revelation.
Mark Edmund Hutcheson is a poet and teacher.
Contact Ray & Julie Murphy: 01-2833189 email@example.com www.unitedmarriage.org VOX | Oct - Dec 2009 | 25
VOX:REVIEWS “Year Of Grace” Robin Mark (Integrity Music, 2009) Belfast’s Robin Mark occupies a unique position. He’s managed to secure a slot in the marketplace without totally blending in. You won’t find smooth west coast harmonies or lush string arrangements on this new selection. But you’ll find haunting whistles, catchy tunes and full-bodied vocals. His latest live recording, Year Of Grace, upholds the Robin Mark tradition. So his ‘regulars’ won’t be disappointed – and newcomers may get hooked. Still displaying that trademark Celtic sound, the album is intended as a celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Ulster Revival, which transformed Northern Ireland in 1859. Strangely, this set of new material was recorded in New York – rather than at an epicentre of the old awakening back home. Perhaps America’s sizeable Irish community will hear the distant echo of history. The visitation of 1859 certainly left its mark on the ether. I visited a couple of the historic sites in County Antrim recently. Something still lingers in the atmosphere. Robin helps us to taste something of that ancient yearning through his compositions, which are mainly bold declarations of biblical truth. There are no ‘story songs’, which the man is particularly good at writing – and of which there are plenty on past recordings. There is a captivating prayer towards the end, called Rend The Heavens. I could see that catching on all over the place. He’s an established master craftsman of that strange phenomenon we call ‘worship music’. Yet he chooses to write with younger composers like Vicky Beeching on the pop anthem-style One Day and Johnny Parks on the Roger McGuinn-sounding There Is None Like You. The collaborations worked. Those tracks are among the strongest here. A great resource for church musicians. Clive Price is an award-winning writer serving newspapers and magazines in Ireland, the UK and USA. Clive will lead the Write Away retreat for emerging and existing writers at Gweedore, November 6 – 9, 2009 (www. gweedorecourthotel.com).
Film: Inglourious Basterds Rating: 18, Starring: Brad Pitt, Christoph Waltz, Melanie Laurent, Eli Roth As a Christian, reviewing a new Tarantino film is tough! What can I say? It’s rated 18 for good reason - it’s Tarantino and it’s about World War II. It’s vicious, violent and vulgar. It’s also very good. The film is a re-imagining of the end of World War II. Pitt is Lt. Aldo Raines, who leads the titular squad of Jewish soldiers slaughtering Nazi soldiers. Waltz is incredible as Col. Hans Landa, “The Jew-Hunter”, basking in tension as he rounds up Jews in hiding around Europe. Left to their own devices, Pitt and Waltz would make this the standard comedy-gore. The character that takes the film to another level is Shosanna Drefus (Mélanie Laurent), whose family 26 26 || VOX VOX || Oct Oct -- Dec Dec 2009 2009
fall victim to the Jew-Hunter before she escapes to Paris, where she runs a cinema. At this cinema their stories collide during the premiere of a Nazi propaganda film attended by Nazi top brass. As Waltz runs security, Raines sees the opportunity to end the war and Dreyfus gets her chance at vengeance. Here’s my struggle. I’m pretty sure that as a Christian, I wasn’t supposed to like this film... but I did. There are no obvious moral lessons to be learned ... it’s just a fascinating imagining of how things could have been different, of what it would be like as a Jew to go from being a victim to becoming vengeance personified.
There is something sinfully cathartic about watching someone get their own back. And yet, as you are immersed in the tension, fear and violence, a few things become clear. Hatred can’t be controlled; it will always consume you. Anger doesn’t dissipate after you get your revenge. I found myself captivated throughout ... but as with all daydreams of reprisal and retribution, you’re the one who ends up feeling less avenged and more empty. This is not for the faint of heart or easily offended. Scott Evans runs Elemental, a diocesan youth initiative in Cashel, Ossary and Ferns. He bases himself in Kilkenny.
Embracing Grace: a gospel for all of us by Scot McKnight SPCK: London, 2007 This is gem of a book. Embracing Grace is an engaging exploration of what the gospel is. This is a crucial question as the answer will significantly shape our lives and our churches. What follows is a flavour of the book; best to digest the whole meal yourself. The gospel, McKnight proposes, is best understood as a story. It begins with the triune God, who himself is an ‘embrace’ of three persons in an eternal dynamic relationship of mutual love. It is God’s nature to create and to share his image with us (what McKnight, transliterating from the Greek, calls Eikon). Bearing God’s image, we are not individuals but Eikons, created for community with God and with one another. But we are ‘cracked Eikons’. God’s agenda is to heal the broken image and renew creation. God does this through the story of Israel, which finds its fulfilment in the church – the New Testament community of the Kingdom of God. It is through Jesus’ death and resurrection that this new community is formed. While Easter is at the centre of the gospel story, it is not an end in itself. This new community is empowered by the Spirit to love God and to love others. This is the purpose of the ‘missional gospel’, “… in which cracked Eikons are restored through the cross and resurrection and Pentecost to union with God and communion with others for the good of the world.” This ‘big gospel’ holds the whole Bible story together. It places each believer’s experience of God’s grace within the bigger story of God’s purpose for all creation and calls each Christian to mission. That’s good news to get excited about and to share! P.S. Anyone familiar with Scot McKnight’s influential blog Jesus Creed (www.blog.beliefnet. com/jesuscreed) will know that he is a highly creative writer with a gift of bringing theology to life. Scot is coming to Dublin in early June 2010 to speak at IBI’s Summer Institute. More details to follow at www.ibi.ie Patrick Mitchel is Director of Studies and lectures in theology at the Irish Bible Institute.
Are you bursting to tell people about a new book, album or movie? The VOX team is always on the lookout for people willing to pen reviews. If you’re interested, get in touch today! firstname.lastname@example.org
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People from across Ireland participated in our latest VOX POP survey.
If you could change one thing in Ireland, what would you change? I'd stamp out corruption
I'd create a more caring society
I'd clean up our streets and eliminate litter
I'd improve public transport
I'd eliminate hospital waiting lists
If you could change one thing about your life what would you change? My focus - I want to live a more meaningful life
Stop wasting time - I want to live life to the max
Choice and variety are strong selling points - ask any shopper. The attraction of the bigger shop, and the colourful catalogue, is in the amount of choice they offer us. We walk past the shop that only carries one type or brand of item. Yet in the area of our faith and beliefs we quickly settle for one way of expressing what it is to be a believer. Maybe we feel safe with descriptions like ‘saved’ or ‘born again’ or even the more neutral ‘being a follower’, ‘a believer’ or ‘having a fulfilling relationship’. No wonder people soon walk past us; no wonder they soon stop listening to what we want to say. This should not be, because we have in the Bible a wealth of ways to express the privilege and blessings of being a Christian. The authors of Scripture used an abundance of rich and varied ideas to convey the greatness and wonder of their new life. They spoke of being: In Christ; raised with Christ, citizens of heaven, or God’s own. They knew they had passed from death to life; they had been washed and renewed. They described themselves as living stones, heirs and children of God and a new creation. They had realized that God had said “Yes” to them in Christ. And so on . . . . There are dozens of pictures describing our new standing. You could do worse that note them down for yourself as you read the Scriptures, perhaps starting with all the descriptions given in Ephesians chapter 1.
My attitude - I want to be more positive
Each symbol represents 5%
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“Misunderstandings often occur merely because two believers are using different… biblical pictures to describe the same reality.”
If we make an effort to discover what we have, and are, more fully, it will enrich our own faith as we explore our privileges
and responsibilities. It will also help cooperation with other believers, because avoidable misunderstandings often occur merely because two believers are using different, and equally valid, biblical pictures to describe the same reality and experience. Also, getting back to the shopping analogy, our witness will be more attractive. We will be using all the rich and varied resources given to us share our message with others. We should realise that people, being diverse in temperament and interests, will respond differently to ideas or explanations. If one way of telling our story doesn’t work, try another. We are provided with plenty to use. Like Paul, we should be all things to people in order to win some. A carpenter watched as his apprentice, making short, shaky, erratic strokes, tried to saw a piece of wood. Taking the saw, the carpenter soon cut through the wood with long, smooth, confident strokes. Turning to the apprentice, he said, “You bought all of the saw, so use all of it”. We have a storehouse laden with truth in all its shapes, sizes and colours. We should use all of them in the task before us. Warren Nelson, originally from Drogheda, Co. Louth, worked in the linen industry until he took up the challenge to communicate the good news. He now enjoys active retirement and DIY near Tullamore.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION… Do you think Christians have become limited or lazy in the way they describe and express their faith? How does Christian jargon hinder our message? Do you believe that the words and images we use can cause misunderstandings between believers? How do we deal with this challenge? Share your views, comments and questions. Log in to www.voxmagazine.ie and click on The Conversation.
Classifieds Irish Christian Writers’ Fellowship. Literary Evening. On Friday 20th November 2009. 7.30pm to 9pm. Poetry Song Plus At The Carmelite Centre, White Friars’ St. Dublin 8. (Next to Carmelite Church) Admission Free. VOX Researcher Needed We are seeking a volunteer data researcher on a project basis, avg. 3 hrs / week. No qualifications needed, just a keen eye for detail. Contact email@example.com Miles Music www.milesmusic.ie Piano lessons and music theory lessons in your home or ours (Dublin area) Wedding music, exam accompaniment, organ recitals (All areas) Check out our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s happening, where and when?
Emerging Writers Weekend Retreat 30 October - 2nd November Gweedore Court Hotel, Co. Donegal Just €343 covers tuition, food and accommodation. Phone +353 74 953 2900 Relationship and Lifestyle Seminar Saturday, 17 October Newland’s Cross, Dublin www.oasisoflove.ie
Building Blocks Children’s Ministry Conference Saturday,14 November All Hallows College, Drumcondra, Dublin A must for children’s leaders. www.buildingblocks.ie
United Marriage Encounter Weekend 20 - 22 November Kingston Hotel, DunLaoghaire €80 registration. Ph. Ray & Julie Murphy 01-2833189 www.unitedmarriage.org
Ireland in Christmas Praise Friday, 11 December, 7:45pm Ulster Hall, Belfast Featuring New Irish Choir & Orchestra www.waterfront.co.uk +44 28 9033 4455 HAVE YOUR EVENT LISTED HERE! See www.voxmagazine.ie for details.
Got a Classified? It costs just €1 per word! Send your text to the address on page 2 or email@example.com Next deadline is 4 December.
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Focus on the Family is here for you and your family. At Focus on the Family, we’re committed to helping families thrive. You can count on us for uplifting articles, helpful marriage and parenting programmes, quality parenting and marriage events, resources that address a breadth of family concerns, and practical answers to your specific questions. If you’re looking for tools to help you raise great kids, ideas to improve your marriage, inspiration for yourself or assistance for someone you know, we are here for you! Call us on 01 806 6288 or visit our website and online resource shop at www.family.ie - we would love to see you there! Focus on the Family Ireland Unit 11 The Plaza Main Street Blanchardstown Dublin 15 T: 01 806 6288 E: email@example.com W: www.family.ie
Helping Families Thrive
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“I have an IDEA,” says he. “Tell me,” says I. “I’m going to start a campaign to privatise music,” says he. “No chance,” says I. “I’m not a fan and it’s everywhere these days,” says he. “You can’t escape it. But if I have my way, we’ll change all that.” “But why?” says I. “Surely you can see,” says he. “Music stimulates fanaticism, encourages all kinds of weird behaviour. It stops people from thinking clearly, stirs up emotions and passions. “Music is subjective. There’s nothing solid about it, nothing measurable. You can’t analyse it. It’s not real. I know you can measure sound scientifically. But it’s not the sound that people value; it’s those abstract things like melody, rhythm, poetry, sentiment. These are just figments of overactive imaginations.” “So what’s the plan?” says I. “Oh simple,” says he. “It has five parts.” “I know it will take a while but I think it can work. Part one: I find a few people like me. They will think that music is an undesirable force in our society. We’d be better off without it altogether. But since there’s no chance of that, we’ll do the next best thing – we’ll make it a private affair. “I need influential people in various sections of society. We will start talking about how music is a very personal thing so it would be better kept for private places. We won’t criticise music – just point out how people have different tastes in music, different ideas about what is good and what is not. It’s all about preference. So with such a subjective force it’s better to confine it to certain areas and not have it freely available." “Ok,” says I. “I understand part one – but I still don’t see it working.” “Part two,” says he, “is to work with the musicians, the songwriters, the singers. We convince them that their music would be better off played to the real fans, the people who believe in them. Why make it accessible to critics and cynics when you can keep it for those who really loved it?
“Then we convince them that their musical work should focus on... music. We get them to stop writing songs about real things like love, politics, tragedies, triumphs, cheating lovers and second chances. Instead we persuade them only to write songs about music – how good it is, valuable, interesting and so on. Music would begin to turn in on itself. Eventually music and life will be separated. They will be two different and unrelated categories, one real and one imaginary.” “You have me worried,” says I. “What’s next?” “Third,” says he, “we remove music from the academic world. Instead of studying music itself, people will only be able to study about music, the history of music, the different music traditions. In public colleges you would be able to study anything to do with music except music itself. If you want to study music itself you’ll have to go to a private college, a place set up by enthusiasts for one type of music. “Fourth, we would reduce music in the media. You can’t remove it altogether but it should be easy enough to confine it to certain narrow areas. A paper might have a weekly column called “Thinking musically”. Radio or television programmes on music will be at unusual hours. They would be quaint, ethereal or even bizarre – anything but normal. “In time part five will come into play. It will become offensive to play music in public. People who do it will be seen as intolerant and insensitive, imposing their musical tastes on others. People will only discuss music in official “music gatherings” or while visiting a professional musician. Playing music will be confined to private places or specially built halls. No one else will ever go near them. “What do you think?” says he. “Will it work?” “It will,” says I. “It already has.” Sean Mullan has been working in church leadership for many years. He is developing a new project in Dublin City Centre called "Third Space"
Festivals, Camps, Conferences, Courses...
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