About 2600 years ago a man stood up at the gates of a temple and delivered a crazy speech that should have motivated those that were listening to stop doing evil to the poor and vulnerable and to restructure their society so that everyone was dealt with fairly. They didn’t and their country went down the pan.
It kind of reminds me of society today to be honest. Generally, when I talk to people who would probably describe themselves as middle class they admit that they have hardly been affected by the cuts, if at all. Where they are affected it is usually only luxuries they are having to forego. However, if you were to survey the most vulnerable or many of those who haven’t had the privilege of a full education then you would find story after story of people who are being pushed into poverty.
That people are having to resort to using services such as foodbanks is terrible. But what worries me even more are the seeds that are being sown. I heard of an estate where all the Family Support Worker posts were made redundant. These may not be classed as vital services for the community but the good that these professionals bring cannot be measured in a few short term outcomes. If you prevent one family from slipping into poverty and empower their children to complete their education then you are paving the way for health, good relationships, achievement and general well being for generations to come.
We have a responsibility as individuals to live lives that bring justice to one another. And our elected government has a responsibility too. The government’s sneering attitude to the poor has been documented in the media over the Christmas period. I’m really no expert nor informed on the most effective campaigns. However, we can all keep our eye out for petitions etc. and we can all write to our MPs in the run up to crucial votes about policy change that effect social justice. One specific example is to see if your MP is in this list of MPs who voted against investigating why foodbanks are being used so much at the moment. If they are, give them an earful and get your friends and family to do the same!
We can be the change that we want to see.
(You can read what the man referred to at the start of the post said in chapter 7 of the book of Jeremiah in the Bible. I do believe as a society and as individuals that we are complicit in some of the accusations in verse 9.)