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About jonbirch

animator, illustrator, character designer, graphic designer. music producer/recording musician. co-owner of PROOST. proost.co.uk
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28 Responses to 560

  1. dennis says:

    Here be grave consequences.

  2. subo says:

    maybe the titles ‘richland’, ‘poorland’ have been switched, like the Home Guards efforts to confuse any landing Germans by rotating road signs, well thats what my Dad told me we did

  3. Stumpy says:

    Shouldn’t the here be treasure notation be under the church? Or is that to idealistic? ;)

  4. Carole says:

    In these days of overspending and credit crunch the lines have become blurred somewhat!

    Is the church, then, the bridge between the two lands, the catalyst for those treasures to exterminate a few of those serpents of poverty?

  5. Clare says:

    That’s a lovely picture Carole. And I’m sure in some places it is really happening that way. But I’m guessing there are probably more where it doesn’t… :-(

  6. Carole says:

    Actually, Clare, I’m probably with Subo on this to a certain extent. Perhaps the signs have been switched. In God’s topsy-turvy kingdom, blessed are the poor with treasures of a different kind. And the burden of material riches is a barrier to the inhabitants of Richland. Or summat like that… :)

  7. Timbo says:

    Nice use of the Welsh dragon there.

    So, the church used to protect the rich from the poor and their attendant evils?

  8. Carole says:

    I think you are being a bit unfair there, Timbo…I know lots of lovely Welsh people… ;)

  9. smudge says:

    I think Timbo has it…
    too often ‘the Church’ is separating the rich from the poor…
    infact watching Jamie Oliver on TV last night I see him doing a better job than some of us at actually listening to, and deeply connecting with, ‘the poor,’ [some of them may be materially richer than me – but they’re definitely poor in spirit].

  10. Caroline Too says:

    I’m not sure that it’s a case of protecting the rich against the poor

    rather, what I stuggle with

    is that living at the stupendous level of wealth that I (and most UK residents ) do… it all just becomes natural, something that I no longer notice…

    riches… become not what I have but what I don’t have… so others are rich… and so Jesus’ words don’t apply to me…

    that is the snare, those are the dragons and serpents… not the nasties we can see but the fearful blindness of not noticing any longer.

  11. Robb says:

    I suspect that this is a slightly outdated view of much of the church. In any aspect of society there are going to be those who abuse whatever system there is. There are possibly still places where this happens. However, since Faith in the City (the cofe sticking it to Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s) the role of the church in urban priority areas has been… erm prioritised ( :D ).

  12. janetp says:

    Isn’t there a danger of a kind of ‘inverse snobbery’ about all this?

    Yes, the West is predominantly wealthy, and yes, there has always been a tendency either to ‘worship’ the wealth or, as Caroline Too suggests, simply cease to see it for what it is – an unfair privilege.

    BUT …

    There is nothing inherently ‘noble’ or ‘spriritual’ about being materially poor – it can make people focus on the ‘important things’ like family, God, but it can also turn them into whining, dependent people who think the world owes them a living … and all shades in between. People are people the world over.

    There are many people in the West who are materially AND spiritually poor, and others who are rich in both.

    It seems to me that the key issue is (as Jon’s cartoon might imply) “where is your treasure?” rather than how much money or material posessions one does or doesn’t have.

  13. janetp says:

    Meant to add that the Gospel appears to me to condemn neither poverty nor riches, in a material sense, but rather where the focus of the individual’s life is, and how that plays out in their relationships with others.

  14. smudge says:

    quote 11.
    However, since Faith in the City (the cofe sticking it to Maggie Thatcher in the 80’s) the role of the church in urban priority areas has been… erm prioritised

    in what way?
    I have lived in a multi-cultural inner city area for 22 years….the Church is still largely separate from the lives of those not in the Church.

    oh yes we ”do things for them,”[occasionally, in hit and run projects]

  15. andy amoss says:

    Hey Janetp,

    I think ‘inverse snobbery’ is a risk in all this, in fact, i think it’s a hope! I think Jesus was an inverse snob; a homeless bum of an inverse snob. The Bible is absolutely shot through with talk of money, wealth and the poor and there’s no way they are all spiritual metaphor.

    Jesus has harsh words and words of caution for the rich, but none so for the poor. There may be an understanding of money as being neutral, but whoever has it is always charged with giving it away.

    I need to say how hypocritical i am in all of this, which is why the last thing i need is the church making excuses for me, saying things like “spiritual poverty is what counts, your possesions, and that of the poor are secondary” or “Of course it’s possible to have lots of stuff, be semi-caught up in materialism and seek treasures in Heaven too”, where it should be challenging me and provoking me to deal seriously with my mass of excess.

    I need to be encouraged into God’s Kingdom by the church, i can maintain the status quo by myself.

  16. janetp says:

    Andy, I’m sorry indeed if your experience of ‘the church’ is that it has dismissed the importance of economic fairness and justice or “made excuses” for financial self-indulgence.
    That has not been my experience, although there has been, I guess, a tacit acceptance on some level of a degree of comfort that many across the world do not have.

    As with many things, though, I think looking at what the Gospel says about material wealth or poverty ONLY in a simplistic, black-and-white, ‘to-have-or-to-have-not’ way is to miss the significance of what Jesus was trying to show, though of course that is EXACTLY what he was saying in some instances.

    Not sure if that makes what I’m trying to say clearer or more complicated! I totally agree that the church should be “challenging” us all and “provoking” us “to deal seriously with [our] mass of excess”, but not as a big shame-inducing trip of power.

  17. andy amoss says:

    Thanks Janet, yeah, that’s clearer.
    Er no, not as a “trip of power”, but that wouldn’t be the case if the church was exemplifying what it was calling me (us) to rather than telling me (us) to do it. And this is my point; the Church as i see it is established according to a system which values my attendance at an event which will claim to meet my spiritual needs first, and then if i have time and energy left, will have me volunteer to be part of a sub-group in the church, and then if i have time and energy left after that, will release me (often in some unfacilitated way) to be alongside and work with the poor.
    Rather than a set up that is geared primarily to provide encounters with the poor or prophetic engagement with government, which acknowledges that i will have spritual needs met in that.

    Essentially, there is still too much of a dualistic view of spirituality and this physical world. And the emphasis is still largely on some kind of existential plain, which isn’t that closely related to the experienced world, but is more about what i believe, my mind and some small supposed eternal part of me.

  18. smudge says:

    Andy – you said what I wanted to – better than I could,
    Having read much from prosperity preachers in the 80’s, they provided certain excuses…such as ”it’s not having money it’s if money has you” etc…

    in one sense, yes, and many rich people do loads for others…but 2 Cor. 8 comes to mind…Paul said ”…so that there would be equality…”

    trouble is, I think there can still be accusations that this is a bit too ‘Communist’ in some evangelical circles :-)

  19. Robb says:

    Smudge – are you talking about a perception or something quantifiable?

  20. Robb says:

    “I think there can still be accusations that this is a bit too ‘Communist’ in some evangelical”

    Oh crap. Don’t read anything Jesus said!! If your brother hasn’t a t-shirt…… (paraphrase)

    Surely THAT is communist (in its purest sense)!

  21. drnixck says:

    Or is (should) the church the bridge between the rich and the poor…

  22. drnixck says:

    just realised that Carole said that right at the beginning, I’m too tired and full of cold to read properly at the moment…

  23. Linus says:

    get well soon doc =]

    Ironic really that communism was so avowedly atheistic when the two fundamental flaws in the system was that it couldn’t change human nature and it couldn’t provide a leader who loved justice, had genuine authority and was prepared to be the servant of all.

    This cartoon reminds me of James Chapter 2: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=james%202&version=51

    Jon i wonder if you have come across this: http://www.standagainstpoverty.org/

    I was thinking it would be cool if we did a virtual stand up here over that weekend.

  24. smudge says:

    Rob 19 & 20
    I’m referring to the actual scripture i mentioned…regarding equality [and that chapter is about finance]

    big swallow for most of us

    it needs to be read, to see…as I can’t post it all here
    [well remember studying that in my 2 years of non-paid mission when I had no toiletries even].

  25. jonbirch says:

    i have that cold too dr nixck. horrid. :-( get well soon. :-)

    linus… like the idea… any thought as to how it could be done?

  26. Linus says:

    thought if you did a cartoon around then about the stand up campaign or the Millenium development goals or just the issue in general, and everyone who wanted to could *stand up* in the comments…?

  27. Scrub out the church and replace with a picture depicting ‘the media’ for a new map of the parish. I’m pretty sure the church, in this new map would have moved to poorland (as insignificantland isn’t shown)

  28. jonbirch says:

    biting satire botticelliwoman! :-)

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