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One World Week – what’s the problem?

Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he [God] has made. So they [humankind] are without excuse; for though they knew God [Greek theos], they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him..... Therefore God gave them up in the epithumia [Greek, plural] of their hearts to .......       Romans 1: 20, 21


The week of October 18 this year has been given the designation ‘Hungry for One World’ - by the organisation called ‘One World Week’.  A number of Jersey folk are supporters of this organisation whose aims include enabling ‘diverse global perspectives to be heard, valued and have an impact’.


Behind OWW is a strong desire (a) for ‘global justice’ and (b) to challenge ‘inequality, discrimination and degradation’. Few would dispute such desire.


But what’s the problem? What’s the reason why there is global injustice, inequality, discrimination and the degrading of people?


OWW (rightly) wants ‘diverse global perspectives to be heard’. All such perspectives are valuable – including the Bible’s perspective and (included in that) the perspective of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.


The Bible’s diagnosis of the reason for the present terrible ‘global injustice’ is in bold above – in the closing words, “God gave them up in the epithumia of their hearts to...[do whatever they desired to do]. What is termed ‘global injustice’ is, in fact, that which has been done by the ‘they’ mentioned above and that which is being done by ‘them’. This has arisen through the epithumia in ‘their’ hearts. Those epithumia have given rise to their actions and those actions have resulted in ‘global injustice, inequality, discrimination and degradation’.


What, on earth, are epithumia? Epithumia are desires. Desires of the heart. Almighty God the creator has given humankind up – given them up because they did not wish to acknowledge him as creator – to their own wishes, their own heart’s desires.


How can we see this today in Jersey?


The epithumia of Jersey folk to look after themselves (‘charity begins at home’) mean that we have frozen in real terms our Overseas Aid Budget despite the ravages of the global recession falling more heavily on the poorer countries than on us.


The same epithumia have resulted in Jersey’s per capita alcohol consumption reaching 14.8 litres per year – 25% higher than the UK and France.


Epithumia in the ninth century BC in Israel gave rise to Baal Temples where “the greater the prostitution the greater the crops” was put into practise – as well as the sacrificing boys and girls to increase crops and herds and to gain ‘life style benefits’ or avoid life-style declines. Jersey’s abortion rate is 250 per annum, most for the same reasons.


Also epithumia are very evident in Jersey looking at the top shelf in newsagents. How much more on home laptops?


Are all epithumia in fact addictions? Could it be said that we Jersey folk are imprisoned – especially in our epithumia to be and to stay at the top of world economic success. After all, we deserve it, don’t we? We deserve to have our heart’s epithumia.


So, yes. OWW’s desires for ‘global justice’ is refreshingly right – but OWW needs to address the competing epithumia which are being worked out into global injustice. In fact, we need to address the awesome fact (see bold above) that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given up folk like us to our epithumia.


Why did he do that? So that, perceiving our epithumia we might turn, and hear and receive his good news in Jesus of Nazareth.

‘Desires seduce the heart from the Creator to the creature.’ (A R Fausett, Author and preacher, 1821 - 1910)
‘... you ... have escaped the corruption that is in the world through epithumia...’ (Peter, Apostle and disciple of Jesus, AD 65 writing to Christians)
Richard Syvret

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