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For now, at least, we are going to wrap up the discussion about charity.  This blog, and the next, will serve as transition points to another topic.  So what is charity?  At its core it is the giving by one individual to another simply out of love – out of our common humanity – the sameness of our nature.  What is needed for that kind of love to exist? 

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Posted in: General
28

If collectivism is an expression of charity, then we should expect to see virtue increase as it would provide a means for helping us fulfill our purpose of becoming good.  The last post ended asserting that virtue should grow in both the giver and receiver where virtues are involved – like charity and justice – if we are on the right path.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer defined the difference between ‘cheap grace’ and real grace being whether an action taken out of love was reciprocated with love.  Real grace is what we are called to, but ‘cheap grace’ is often exhibited through our actions.  Cheap grace is going through the motions without any change.  It is merely form without content.  It is the same with charity and justice.  Cheap charity is merely wealth transfers; true charity is about love and requires the personal involvement of both the giver and receiver.  Cheap justice is merely applying rules because they are the rules of those in power; true justice is about getting what you are due.

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Posted in: Charity
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The last post started to question the basis expressed by collectivists for resolving problems like those we now face at our southern border.  This post broadens that discussion by looking at some of the claims made forming the basis for collectivism.  We’ll look at three areas:  (1) our purpose, and the some ideas that are derived from it, (2) incentives, and (3) economics.  These will not be exhaustive, but will examine some of the more fundamental arguments often put forth.  If the basic arguments are not supported, then none of the extensions relying on them are supported either.  A simple example from the Middle Ages and Renaissance will suffice to show that these three areas are all relevant – or should be in any meaningful discussion.

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Posted in: Charity
26

Over the last several blogs, we’ve been discussing various aspects of charity.  Let’s continue the discussion by looking at the situation at the southern border where a massive number of children are entering the country.  It is a dire situation, which is likely to grow worse, and a case has been presented by some that we have a duty to support and care for all of these children.  Who could argue that it is not right to provide help for another human being?  Many liberals are, of course, demanding that public monies be expended to help them all.  But is this the right action?  Is this what we’ve been called to do?  Is this charity as some have presented it?

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Posted in: Charity
28

A question was posed in the last post.  Are those who choose to live ‘on the dole’ the problem or simply the result of something else?  That is the question we’ll look at this time.  Government sets public policy, but as stated previously the primary role of government is the administration of the virtue of justice.  That can only happen when those who lead do so out of a sense of service to others.  From the book of Mark, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.’  This requires the virtues of humility and righteousness.  But these are not enough.  Leaders must also be oriented toward their society’s fulfilling its purpose as both individuals and a people.  That cannot be found within any form of collectivism as it breeds dependence.

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Posted in: Charity
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Still not convinced by the previous posts?  As stated earlier, welfare payments are viewed as a foundational means of transferring wealth between members of a society by those who believe in collectivism to achieve the goal of social justice.  But what of the fruits of this approach – what does it produce for a society or its people?  Are people made more independent or more dependent?  Dependence serves to decrease ones choices, but it is our making choices which leads to us achieving our purpose.  Therefore, an action which increases independence, or lessens dependence, serves to increase our ability to achieve our purpose.  Let’s take a specific example from today to see how well our current policies align with our purpose.  Jason Greenslate is a twenty-nine year old from San Diego who is pursuing his dream of becoming a rock star.  There is no problem with that in and of itself.  We should all use our talents as they are the means by which we fulfill our purpose.  However, it is not just the goal itself that matters, but also how a goal is achieved matters.  The choices we make in reaching a goal define who we are, and who we become – and whether we achieve our purpose.

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Posted in: Charity
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The previous post started to discuss the inconsistency that collectivists have regarding the use of redistributed wealth by those who receive it – that it will be used for its intended purpose.  One of the main arguments for government forced redistribution is that people who have wealth will not do the right things with it.  On the other hand, collectivists assume that those who receive the redistributions will do the right things with them, or at least will be better stewards of what they receive than those from whom it came.  Why else would a redistribution be warranted unless it were to be used for some greater good?  Otherwise a redistribution is simply legalized theft.  The assertion underlying wealth redistributions implies that virtue among those receiving the redistribution is greater than those whose wealth is redistributed.  During the Middle Ages, the general view was that those who accumulated wealth possessed greater virtues related to physical things (stewardship, frugality, etc.), while those who were poor possessed greater spiritual virtues (piety, humility, etc.).  It was not thought that one group’s virtue was greater than the other; but rather that the virtues they possessed were merely different – neither was better than the other.

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Posted in: Stewardship
04

There is a relationship between the other two points from the previous post:  those around the government’s role in achieving a fair distribution of society’s wealth, and whether people will do the rights things with the redistributed wealth they receive.  At the heart of this matter is the answer to the following question, ‘Who is best able to direct society’s resources, its individuals or its government?’ – for its answer is directly connected to charity.  Historically, until somewhat recently, charity has consisted of providing things such as bread, food, shelter, care for those unable to care for themselves (widows, orphans, aged, and the dying), and debt relief.  Charity is about service and providing sacrificially, simply because another is in need, and throughout the Middle Ages there was a direct connection between the giver and the receiver.

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Posted in: Stewardship
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In the last post we made the point that we often use money as though it is a significant part of a solution.  We throw money at everything from education, to various forms of welfare, to the war on drugs, to developing alternative energy sources.  However, many times it seems that money is more closely related to the problem.  It is spent and there is either no effect or a problem often worsens.  Why?  Take social justice.  The whole idea underlying social justice is the notion that problems will be solved simply by a ‘fairer’ distribution of wealth – accomplished by the transfer of wealth from those who have to those who do not, with the determination of who has and who needs left to the discretion of a ruling elite.  The underlying belief is that it is morally wrong to accumulate wealth for the sake of wealth itself, and there is truth in this notion.  However, money is just a tool.  It is fungible, meaning that it can be used for many things.  It can be used well, or it can be used badly. 

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Posted in: Stewardship
15

As discussed in the last post, stewardship is about using your gifts and abilities well, not only for oneself, but for others as well.  Committing to that kind of stewardship, and acting upon it, is agape – the kind of love that finds its expression in charity.  Charity is about providing to those in need what they need.  This is much broader than the focus we have today on simply providing for the poor.  It is within that broader focus that we find a relationship between stewardship and education.

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Posted in: Stewardship
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About Dan Wolf

Dan WolfMy goal is that my writing will help you to get started on your own journey of discovery, or help you along the way on a journey you may have already begun. Our Founders considered education, religion, morality, and virtue to be the cornerstones for any successful society. Being successful requires understanding both the languages of reason and faith; reason alone is insufficient.