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Give Peace A Chance

Souls should be rejoicing in Dr Muhammad Yunus winning the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. It serves as timely reminder that alleviating poverty and peace are inextricably woven into the fabric of God's vision of a just world.

Yet it seems that some souls have lost touch with God's vision or have not had the interdependencies brought to their attention. Ekklesia reports of a new bible that has just been printed in Netherlands that cuts out the difficult parts relating to economic justice, possessions and money. The chairman of the foundation explains this is because Jesus' comments about money are naive and "He didn't study economics, obviously."

It is also clear that many economists have not studied the bible, either. A recent Economist article suggests that the purpose of the peace prize has become muddled. Mind you, for those who are jockeying for Nobel prizes should be relieved that Yunus won the Nobel peace prize, some commentators were pleasantly surprised that he was given the peace prize as they always thought he would get the economics prize.

What are the benefits or implications from Yunus winning the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize? The benefits are already rippling out as it has drawn souls attention to this model as a way of overcoming poverty. Examples of success come from the coverage that the prize has given to the model, with the consequent interest in how to apply it in the field. For example this excellent lengthy article from Indonesia's Jakarta Post. But there are also other countries affirming the work they have started in this area or looking to explore it further, for example Kenya, the Phillipines and India.

Then there is the spate of dialogue as everyone contemplates the significance, as can be seen by any Google search, which brings up articles from The Guardian The Independent and The Globe and Mail This latter article is interesting because it repeats a theme "Grameen believes that charity is not an answer to poverty... It creates dependency.... Unleashing of energy and creativity in each human being is the answer to poverty." This respect for the humanity and capacity of every human being to be able to actualize if given access to the means to a solution. As previously reported, Bill Clinton raised this same theme at the 16th International AIDS conference held in Canada, where he noted that there is a surprisingly good uptake of medicine and co-operation amongst the poor, when they are given access to the medicines and information...

The victory and respect for this model is also another example where social economics is not bound to the amount of natural resources or capital to hand. As suggested in an earlier article: "Cultural, intellectual and spiritual resources are going to be our best weapons in the struggle to come to grips with AIDS pandemic, overdependence on violent solutions, the end of the oil age, the need to adequate provide and care for the enviroment and world's citizens."

If we are going to overcome conservative voices who advocate that economy and peace are two separate issues then we need people who are prepared to cheer for economic justice as a path to peace (e.g. Christian Science Monitor). We also need to go back to our holy texts and develop the vocabulary that demonstrates the intertwining of wellbeing and peace.

It is shocking that some souls do not yet see that peace can not be found whist tolerating poverty and the causes that keep it perpertuated. To assist those who would dialogue with such souls, a word search for the word "peace" in the bible's Old Testament brought up the following passages, some of which draw out the links between peace and prosperity, and some of which show that famine and war are two sides of the same coin. Jeremiah 29:10-20 Zechariah 1:11-17, which includes with "my towns will again overflow with prosperity"Psalms 122:6-9 Proverbs 3 (re: Wisdom) especially: 3:17-18 Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed. Isaiah 27:4-6 Isaiah 32:15-20 Isaiah 55:8-15 Isaiah 66:10-14

These shorter passages show the inextricable links between poverty and peace:

Psalms 120:6-7 Too long have I lived among those who hate peace. I am a man of peace; but when I speak, they are for war.

Psalms 128:5-6 May the LORD bless you from Zionall the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children.

Psalms 147:12-14 Extol the LORD, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion, for he strengthens the bars of your gates and blesses your people within you. He grants peace to your borders and satisfies you with the finest of wheat.

Proverbs 16:7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.

Proverbs 17:1   Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.

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