|Pen and Ink Reflections
‘You’re Fired!’ No, this homily is not centred on Donald Trump, but on Jesus’ words in today’s lectionary story. Yet that famous declaration is very relevant. For ‘You’re Fired!” is not only catchphrase of one of the more successful Donald Trump initiatives, in the highly rated TV series ‘The Apprentice’. ‘You’re Fired!’ is also effectively the punchline of today’s Gospel passage (Matthew 25, verses 14-30). Indeed, in that story we find that the least successful money entrepreneur is not only fired, as by Donald Trump in ‘The Apprentice’. They, in the Gospel, are also ‘thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth’. Now what kind of ‘good news’ is that? And how on earth does it sit with today’s Brisbane Pride Month emphasis on celebration and the joys of affirming God in one another, irrespective of who we are or what we have achieved? Maybe we need to look again with a ‘queer eye’?!...
by Jon Inkpin for Sunday 16 November 2014
There are, sadly, many reasons why I dislike the current owner of Newcastle United Football Club. Sometimes it seems as if he deliberately seeks to offend. Maybe it is too easy. After all, Newcastle United fans are among the most passionate you will ever find. We tend to wear out hearts on our sleeves and, consequently, we suffer the consequences when we are abused. Of everything Mike Ashley has done however, the most offensive, for me, is the selling of of the Newcastle shirt. For Wonga, the main sponsor’s name on the shirt, is the name of a British payday loan company: a moneylender, which, to be quite blunt, rips off the poor. Wonga has thus often wreaked havoc in the lives of many people in Newcastle upon Tyne and its surrounding area, the poorest region of England. As a ‘short-term, high-cost credit’ moneylender, Wonga indeed quickly became a by-word for exploitation. Its interest charged can sometimes equate to an annual percentage rate of more than 5000%. For this reason, not for nothing did the Archbishop of Canterbury not so long ago launch an Anglican campaign against such moneylenders, offering Church of England facilities to community-organised credit unions as a constructive alternative. In doing so, Justin Welby was following the example of Jesus, and, arguably, though perhaps surprisingly to some, embodying the parable we have just heard. For he was addressing the great, usually forgotten, sin of usury: a vital issue for us all, not least at this time of the G20 meeting in Brisbane…