Monday, December 25, 2006

$2,200 = Rich. Half the world lives on less than $2

After giving and receiving some lovely gifts. It's important to also remember the poor on Christmas day. MSN.Com ran a Marketwatch article today that was really interesting. Here's the opening paragraphs:

The richest 2% of the world's population owns more than half of the world's household wealth.
You may believe you've heard this statistic before, but you haven't: For the first time, personal wealth -- not income -- has been measured around the world. The findings may be surprising, for what makes people "wealthy" across the world spectrum is a relatively low bar.
The research indicates that assets of just $2,200 per adult place a household in the top half of the world's wealthiest. To be among the richest 10% of adults in the world, just $61,000 in assets is needed. If you have more than $500,000, you're part of the richest 1%, the United Nations study says. Indeed, 37 million people now belong in that category.
Half live on less than $2 a day

Sure, you can now be proud that you're rich. But take a moment to think about it, and you'll probably come to realize that the meaning behind these numbers is harrowing. For if it takes just a couple of thousand dollars to qualify as rich in this world, imagine what it means to be poor. Half the world, nearly 3 billion people, live on less than $2 a day. The three richest people in the world –- Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett and Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim HelĂș -- have more money than the poorest 48 nations combined.
Even relatively developed nations have low thresholds of per person capital. For example, people in India have per capita assets of $1,100. In Indonesia, capital amounts to $1,400 per person.

Here's a link to the full article:

They don't list the per capita income of Peru. I know that 25% of Peru (roughly 8 million people) live on less than $1 per day. That's poor! People ask me what the cause is. I don't know enough about the country to answer conclusively, but I do think that dishonesty in the culture is a big contributor. A lack of natural resources and education are other factors. Natural resources is an ironic thing to list, since Peru has a lot of gold and silver. Unfortunately, only 3% of the land is farmable. Gold is pretty, but it's hard to eat.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Willy said...

Willy loves the old Keith Green worship song, "You put this love in my heart." He was singing it this morning.

Lena asked, "Who put the love in your heart?"

Willy said, "Jesus!"

"Yes, but how did he put the love in your heart?"

Willy replied, "Because he's MAGIC!"

Lena and I burst out laughing--mostly because of the way he said, "MAGIC!" As conservative Christians we tend to avoid the word magic, preferring the word supernatural (which doesn't have the same occultic overtones). Ironically, we get the English word magic from the word "magi"--as in the three wise men. The main difference for us is who or what is the source of power. If Jesus is the one putting the love in your heart, then it doesn't matter if you call it magic, supernatural or miraculous. If Jesus is the source, it's good.

Nearly 2000 years ago, a virgin became pregnant. It was a miraculous sign, promised long before by our heavenly Father. He gave us the promise so that we would know that the one who miraculously put Jesus into Mary, would be the same One who would put love in our hearts.

This Christmas don't forget to take time to enjoy the MAGIC!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Merry Little Christmas

We're moving on Dec 26--the day after Christmas. As such, our decorating has been kept to a minimum. Our tree is a 2' tall sprig in a pot. It is very reminiscent of Charlie Brown's tree on that classic Christmas show. We've added to the festive atmosphere with window sticker snowflakes. The house now looks like a shell and most of the boxes are marked with phrases like "Bill's books--theology, leadership & Far Side." In spite of the decorating dearth, our spirits are high as we anticipate a wonderful adventure in Costa Rica and Peru. We're also very grateful to the Son of God, who became a missionary to earth so that we could live forever! So...

Have yourself a merry little Christmas!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That which was lost...

Today, I was looking for some receipts that I needed to close out some important financial reports. I was shuffling papers around my desk in frustration. Exasperated, I said, "O God, I need your help!" At that moment, I realized that the receipts were in my left hand! Did I have them in my hand all along or did they appear there when I prayed? I don't know. But I do know one thing--I have often found something that was lost, only after I prayed. I don't know how people live without the Lord. He has bailed me out thousands of times. I am well aware of how I stumble through life like an accident waiting to happen. But the Lord doesn't let the accident happen. He lifts me up, lest I trip (Psalm 91:11-12).

Like the widow is Luke 15:9, I say, "Rejoice with me; I have found my lost ... receipts!"

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Willy said...

The other day, Willy said, "Dad, I'm sorry for all the bad things I did. I promise, I'm not going to do any more bad things ... right now."
He likes the "Bob the Builder" TV show, even though he's only seen it twice. He goes around shouting Bob's theme, which is "Can we build it? Yes we can!" Sometimes Bob says, "Can we fix it? Yes we can!" Willy's version is more philosophical. Willy shouts, "Should we build it? Yes we can!" It reminds me of scientists who are involved in ethically questionable work (like stem cell research). Just because you can build it, doesn't mean you should. I'm not about to tell Willy that ... right now.