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Tom Harflett: Sometimes we are called to act against common sense

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: December 07, 2013

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LAST week I was talking to Mike Adams, a Frome resident, who has just returned from setting up an emergency radio station in Tacloban, one of the cities worst hit by typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

He graphically described the experience of trying to get into Tacloban in a small plane, when everyone else was trying to get out and were warning him of how terrible the destruction and breakdown of order was.

This story made me think that God does sometimes call us to swim against the current of common sense and cultural norms.

The Jubilee Dept Campaign is an example of this. They have been lobbying since 2000 for the rich world to write off the crippling debts of some of the poorer countries.

This was inspired by the Old Testament idea of Jubilee where every 50 years, debts would be written off and land returned.

This seems like an early acknowledgement that, if the gap between rich and poor becomes too great, the poor can never catch up and wealth siphons up rather than trickling down.

JDC say that the Philippines is spending £13.4 million a day servicing global debts, much of which was incurred in the Marcos era.

It is fantastic that the UK has raised around £68 million so far for disaster relief, but this represents just five days of debt expenditure.

JDC is encouraging people to lobby the World Bank and other lenders.

Perhaps the Old Testament has something radical to say to this 21st-century issue.

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