Study 4
The impact on the Poor

Reading for this study:     Chapter 9 and Chapter 10 of CTE
Key point: This study is a brief outline of the biblical teaching on justice.

Preparation
Find some newspaper or web articles about natural disasters in the Global South. This may be floods in Indonesia or droughts in Africa or ice melt in the Himalayas. There are plenty of articles to be found on the subject. There is also information on the Tearfund and Christian Aid websites.

Opening discussion
What is the current global impact of climate change?
What other environmental problems are there for people in the Global South?

Read  Isaiah 5:8 and 10:1-3
1.     What were the social problems in Isaiah’s day?
2.     Why is justice for the poor a biblical issue?

Read Leviticus 25 and Luke 4:14-30
The “Year of the Lord’s Favour” is known at the Jubilee.
3.     What is the biblical response to poverty?
4.     What are the implications for us?

Read Ephesians 2:14-22
5.     How can we demonstrate our unity in Christ in the light of the global environmental problems?

Discussion
Last week we discussed climate change and what response we might make. This week we have investigated this in the light of biblical teaching on justice. It is clear that many factors are working together. We have identified four: climate change, biodiversity loss, human population and resource depletion (especially oil and water). Discuss whether these are separate issues or whether they each impact on the others? What are the implications of this?

Practical action
Decide on some practical ways in which you can be “one body” with fellow Christians in the Global South. You might like to consider supporting a specific project with both a human and environmental dimension. If you started a carbon fast last week you could donate the money saved.
Possible ideas are: A Rocha and Tearfund

Points to consider
The Christian Church is a worldwide organisation with most members in the poorer parts of the world. Together churches make up the largest “NGO” world wide. The church is strong at grass roots level and connected to wider local communities – yet also has high level influence.
Discuss why this might be strategic for tackling global problems this century. Do we have a key role to play? How might this be worked out?

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Forward to Study 5