Tui Motu | December 2017

Every Child is Precious – He Taonga te MokopunaAnn Gilroy — Dec 1, 2017 Jacinda Ardern is the only contemporary world leader who has taken the elimination of child poverty in the country as a personal responsibility. It is a bold and courageous undertaking. It highlights a new ordering of priorities and a new pro-life emphasis in our country. Yet it is a goal she cannot achieve alone. Fortunately there are already organisations with practice and research to advise her on how to proceed with this transformation, such as the Child Poverty Action Group. And there are enterprises on the ground working to relieve poverty and its flow-on effects through food, shelter and health initiatives, education, mentoring, spirituality and family support endeavours. We will need their concerted effort. Child poverty is a new evil in Aotearoa, one allowed to grow because of the low value children in “underachieving” families have in a monetary-focused political hierarchy. They’re the “collateral damage” of an ideology of personal success. Christianity cannot tolerate the impoverishment of children. Matthew warns about putting a stumbling block before children (Mt 18:6-7) and today we might consider poverty as such a block. The scripture readings through Advent and Christmas encourage us to refocus on God among us. They culminate in the nativity stories in which the inhospitality, poverty and danger surrounding Jesus’ birth are overcome by the Spirit-prompted efforts of his parents and the local community — the shepherds — and the wider community — the magi and Egypt
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