Living Social Justice

A blog about responding to poverty and injustice, everyday and in all sorts of ways

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Giving It All Up

By Nathalie Koenig

As Christ-followers, something we often think about and grapple with is giving. What should we give? How much should we give? When should we give? How should we feel when we give? These are all great things to grapple with, but here’s another spin on giving: While it’s important to think about what we give, it’s also important to think about what we could and should give up. And often, in order to ‘freely give’, we have to give up some things first…

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Grappling with Gratitude

By Lindsay Carlin

Take a moment and think of all the blessings you’ve received over the entire course of your life. Yes, your entire life. Go back, far back. You could even start with that award you received in primary school and move on from there. Perhaps to this blessings list you add the fact that you have a roof over your head to protect you from the winter rains, or food on the table every night. Maybe you have clothing to choose from in the morning, or a car that will get you to work on time. You may actually have a job to go to every day. If you’re blessed enough to have friends or family to share your life with, don’t forget to add them. I bet the list in your head is getting pretty long, because the simple truth is that most of us have many reasons to be grateful. Why then is being grateful just so hard at times?

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Who are ‘the poor’?

– A message from the Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry team

Often Jesus would spend time with the poor. In the Gospel, He also stressed great importance on giving to the poor and loving the poor.  We, as the Common Ground Street and Shelter ministry team, have come across many problems in trying to give freely and generously to the poor and destitute. Our prayer has been for the Lord to give us discernment in the way we love the poor and the way in which we give generously.

Most South Africans have a general view of the poor as being people that are unemployed and unable to get a job. Although many people living in poverty are unemployed, there are many different reasons for unemployment and loss of dignity in each case.

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Moving into Manenberg

By Sam Rawson

Pete and Jonathan at The Warehouse

Moving into a community that is notorious for its high levels of crime, gangsterism and substance abuse is a challenge few people are willing to take on. But in May 2010, after a year of doing community work in the area, Pete Portal, a 26-year-old from London, made a three-bedroomed house in Manenberg his permanent home – and a 19-year-old recovering heroin addict his digs mate.

If you’re from Cape Town, your jaw is likely hitting the floor. The area, created by the apartheid government as part of the Group Areas Act, has had a difficult time shrugging off its reputation as the gangland of the Western Cape.

And you don’t have to look far for evidence. Gang slogans and symbols are graphically spray-painted onto walls throughout the area, forming a constant reminder of the dangerous powers at play. So what would inspire someone not originally from the community to move into this area?

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Relinquishing power

By Deborah Hancox

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­A while ago, I heard about a well-meaning group from another land who visited a rural community in South Africa. They saw that the women were taking their laundry down to the river and would sit there for considerable lengths of time doing their washing. The visiting group quickly hatched and executed a plan to erect a water tower, and lay water pipes to the village houses to enable the women to do their washing in their own homes.

A while later, members of the group returned to find the water tower and associated piping in disrepair and the women once again doing their washing at the river. Surprised and somewhat annoyed, they asked a local woman what had happened. “Well, it’s like this…” she said. “We started using the piped water to do our washing in our own homes, but the women became lonely and frustrated. You see, when we go to the river together, and while doing our washing, we talk about our problems, our families, anything we are struggling with. So we decided to continue the practice of doing our washing together as this is a time when we listen to each other, and offer support.”

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