The rapid rise in the number of people depending on food banks is the most significant social development in the UK over the last few years.
Hope+ Food Bank in Liverpool has published statistics showing why people are driven there to beg for food. Up to 200 people a week depend on it, sometimes more. The three main causes of hardship are ‘benefit delay’, ‘benefit change’ and ‘benefit sanctions’, in that order. This explains the recent rise in dependency: all three of these are recent Government innovations.
This is about the sense of having a distinctive role. It is inspired by the television series Rev, with its vicar Adam Smallbone. I rarely watch television, but to me Rev was special. At last the BBC has produced a series about the clergy that tells it the way it is.
Some considered it unrealistic. From my retirement, on the other hand, watching it brought back lively memories. With my background in inner-city ministry and anglo-catholicism I was reminded time and again of things that happened to Marguerite and I, things that you may consider incredible if you have never lived in an inner city vicarage.
I was ripped off. The chap at the laptop shop owes me £40 for a deposit on a repair.
There’s no point in warning you not to go to that shop, as it won’t be re-opening. He’s in prison now. Apparently I wasn’t the only one.
It made me angry. But I wasn’t angry the way I used to be, back in the 1970s. In those days I was a student, then a curate, and every penny counted. A car was out of the question. My only way of getting around to do my job – and come to that my only way of getting away from it – was my bicycle. I had four bicycles stolen. The losses had a major effect each time. I was furious. If I could have got hold of the people who did it, I would have… well you get the idea. Adrenalin splashed around.
In an article printed in the Church Times on 17th April 2014, Prime Minister David Cameron writes:
The Christian values of responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, and love are shared by people of every faith and none – and we should be confident in standing up to defend them.
Religious leaders have let him get away with it. They should not have. This is a far more serious attack on Christian values than any number of gay marriages.
In theory Easter is the biggest festival in the Church’s year. How it works out in practice is another matter.
Today the main issue is that it’s impossible. Nobody rises from the dead. Some people conclude that Christianity is wrong, others that the whole point of Christianity is that God made something impossible happen. Cue science against religion debate.