Friday, July 01, 2005

Make Poverty History
...the long walk to justice?

Tomorrow marks the twentieth anniversary of Live Aid/Band Aid and features the latest effort by Pop music's finest to address the very important issue of world hunger/poverty called "LIVE8-The Long Walk to Justice." You can listen to the five concert venues simultaneously on the internet from all over the world at AOL Music.com Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, and Philadelphia were the original concert sites. But now they have added as well Tokyo, Moscow, Barrie and Johannesburg.

The concerts are designed to bring awareness and put further pressure on the world leaders gathered at the G8 Summit next week in Gleneagles, Scotland. The cause: make poverty history. How? Forgive all the debt on the world's poorest countries so that the funds that were ear-marked to repay the debt can now be redirected to the most needy within those same nations. Though I disagree that that kind of scenario has real merit either politically or humanitarianly; it is a noble cause to help bring clean water, food, medical supplies and care, and in some cases shelter, to those living in the worst impoverished countries of the world. For several years, many of us as Christian artists have been spokespersons to help raise support through "adopt a village programs" and "individual child sponsorships" through Para-church ministries who partner with local churches to bring this relief so desperately needed. In the midst of that Christ-centered work is also the wonderful opportunity to share the gospel of grace as well.

However, the question that is on everyone's mind is how do you guarantee that the funds and food will not be misused again (like they were squandered from LIVEAID/BANDAID in the mid 1980's) and from falling into the hands of many of the corrupt governments that could use those resources to further promote terror and insidious cruelty against their own people again? BONO and Bob Geldof, the leading spokesmen for this event, says that there are now "different channels set up this time to prohibit such activity from happening again." I would like to believe them and they seem sincere, but we all need to see "the plan" and not just blindly trust artistic sentimentality again. It will take a lot more ladies and gentlemen than several pop icons singng around the world tomorrow to make a dent in world poverty--let alone end it. Are their efforts the real deal or just another Peter Pan fantasy/cause of the moment? Time and truth will reveal this soon enough.

However, I am not a wide-eyed skeptic. (I spearheaded and organized THE CAUSE project - the Christian response to LIVEAID in 1985; produced and co-wrote our theme song, "Do Something Now", with Phil Madera and we had over 120 artists participate--the largest of any of the "We Are The World" efforts. Bob Geldof and I were the only two recipients of the President's Merit Award that year for our work with the poor. A command performance at the Royal Alber Hall for Princess Anne and the Royal Family followed to benefit her organization, "Feed the Children." And I have been involved with several outreaches to people with AIDS and have done many benefits for Crisis Pregnancy Centers to offer hope from abortion.) I only mention that to say that though these kind of events provide awareness and an emotional "booster shot" to encourage people to get involved--it is a short lived "charity" at best. LIVE8 has to go way beyond the stage to the profound practical issues these nations face every day if lasting change and impact is going to occur.

So with that said, I do encourage you to please tune in and watch the broadcast, stay informed--(but please do not give them any money whatsoever, they are unproven and have not corrected the past mishandling of funds with LIVEAID/BANDAID). Let's see if a "plan with teeth" is going to come from the heads of state at the G8 Summit to deal with this profound issue of world poverty and the subsequent out-workings between the IMF, World Bank's, the United States and the other G8 Summit nations; and the third world nations being "forgiven" of their debt.

As a Christian, it is part of our faith to "remember the poor" and help those in need. Since the early church, Christians have continually, without fanfare or sought after media praise, have cared for the poor. Either loving our neighbor; loving our enemy; or even being a Good Samaritan to a stranger in need is not at all foreign from biblical Christianity--but central to it. Therefore, in spite of what occurs at LIVE8's event this weekend, may I encourage you to get involved with some proven and credible outlets to serve hurting people around the world. Let me recommend a two of them to you that I have been privileged to serve the Lord with throughout my twenty-seven years of music ministry: Food for the Hungry; Compassion International. These are Christian organizations dedicated to the Word of God, the local church, training nationals to serve in their own country, and to bringing food, water, medical supplies, as well as education, developing trade/jobs and the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are doing a profound work and are excellent financial stewards of your resources as well with over 80 cents of every dollar going directly to the children, villages and child related programs in those nations hurting around world. When the fanfare from LIVE8 fades (and it will quickly), consider these two ministries--you won't be disappointed.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve Camp
Galatians 2:10

7 comments:

Derek Simmons said...

Steve:

Thank you for expanding your reach for Him by starting a blog in addition to your AudienceOne presence. You have ministered to me through song since you accompanied me on long jungle walks in 1995-97 with Mercy in the Wilderness.

Your Brother in Christ,
Derek Simmons

HIS AGENDA said...

WE SHOULD NOT TAKE THE WORLD SERIIOUS AT ALL. THE WORLD WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF. WHAT DOES GOD SAY ABOUT IT? THOSE THAT ARE LEAD BY MY SPIRIT ARE MY SONS. DONT MIX UP HUMAN COMPASSION WITH THE WILL OF GOD. GODS' AGENDA IS THE ONLY ONE THAT COUNTS NOT OUR AGENDA.

Jeremy Weaver said...

His Agenda,
WE SHOULD NOT TAKE THE WORLD SERIIOUS AT ALL. THE WORLD WILL TAKE CARE OF ITSELF.

God takes the world seriously. The world does not take care of itself, God does. As God's servants that are led by His Spirit, we should be concerned with the future of the world, not only in an eschatalogical sense but also in awareness of present human suffering. Christ Himself gave us this example as He healed the sick while He was here on earth.
DONT MIX UP HUMAN COMPASSION WITH THE WILL OF GOD.
It is God's will that we be compassionate people, not only to our fellow believers, but to the world at large. And the world at large is suffering. We realize that this world suffers because of the presence of sin and that the only real, lasting remedy is the Gospel of Christ, but it is wrong to say then that we should abandon people to their circumstances. We are to be Salt and Light.
I agree with Steve that fighting world poverty and AIDS is a good cause. A cause that is not only fitting for Christians, but tailor-made for Christians.

loren said...

Hi Jeremy,

I agree with you. I think that 'his agenda' has his own agenda, because he sure doesn't seem to recognize God's.

Actually, It would not surprise me if that remark really came from some person who just trying to give Christians a bad name, by masquerading as one of us. Like one of those 'audience members' who asks the pastor on the talk show if God hears the prayers of Jews.

The real purpose was to stir up strife, so I'm glad you set that straight.

I also just wanted to say that Compassion International, mentioned in this posting, is a great cause. Since Christians must choose where to send their limited resources in charity, they should choose organizations like this one that not only serve mankind, but promote the knowledge of the Lord.

jc said...

Dear Steve, thanks for your post. I just find your blog recently. Um, I would like to hear the "Do Something now" song. Do you have an MP3 of that song available on the internet. Thanks.

nigel said...

as someone who is a part of a group who run an Aids project thru the local church in Zambia i to am very sceptical about live 8 and whether it will achieve anything, for me the answer is to work thru the local church and not governments but i am happy to plunder Egypt as it were and to take money from government agencies

Derek Simmons said...

Steve:

Because the ONE campaign to end poverty in our time has everything going against it except popular opinion and "good feelings", I am always interested in others who might see it as perhaps "right-hearted" but definitely wrong-headed. I just found another such person in David Smith who is writing a series of the folly of ONE. I am pasting in what I discovered this morning as his July 4th gift to us:

Monday, July 04, 2005
Contrarian View From the Pew: Fertilizer
Quiz: If I want a healthier and greener lawn, I can pray for a greener lawn, or I can pray for a greener lawn and apply fertilizer and water to my lawn, or I can just apply fertilizer and water to my lawn. Two of my possible solutions work every time. Which of my solutions is not guaranteed to work?

I hate to disappoint any of the believers out there, but the prayer only solution is the worst of the three solutions and probably won’t even work at all. The reason prayer alone won’t make my grass greener is because God has already provided a solution for the problem of brown lawns in the summer. Gods solution is fertilizer and water. Fertilizer and water don’t solve very many problems, but both water and fertilizer are perfect for brown lawns.

Likewise, someone who has been diagnosed with cancer can sit at home and pray for healing or they can get their butt down to the clinic and start chemotherapy. Due to the nature of chemotherapy, I would recommend both prayer and medicine, but I wouldn’t expect the healing of cancer without modern medical methods.

We have no way of knowing how many of our problems or how many of our blessings are because of God’s active will or because of his passive will. I suspect God allows some things to happen and he causes other things to happen. However, from our human perspective, almost all of our problems and all of our blessings come from God through other humans to us.

Africa and Africans need our prayers, but they also need the right human solution. I wouldn’t be as passionate about opposing the ONE Campaign if the proponents were just a bunch of clueless secularists. The reason I am so troubled by the ONE Campaign is the number of Christians and Christian leaders who are advocating a solution that will not work. I can claim with confidence that the forced redistribution of personal resources will not work just like it never has worked because it is against human nature and the laws of God. I can also claim with confidence that there is a human solution that will work because it has always worked and it is consistent with the laws of God.

Private property rights, obedience to the laws of God, and voluntary charity, are the human solutions to all of the problems in Africa. The ONE Campaign solution of using the force of law to take from some and give to others really is a bunch of fertilizer.

posted by David M. Smith at 10:34 AM at http://metalofheaven.blogspot.com/