it annoying? You’re
sitting watching a good film – and just at the crucial moment the
guy in front of you gets up to use the bathroom blocking half the
what makes it most annoying is you’re not even in the cinema –
you’re watching it on a pirated DVD in your own living room.
I’ve seen one or two of them.
If they weren’t so bad they’d be hilarious.
there’s an even sadder side to it then the slightly fuzzy picture
and the poor sound. According
to Interpol, the high profits and low risks of DVD piracy means that
1kg of pirated disks is now worth more than the same amount of
cannabis resin. And that
means that terrorist groups and organised criminals are turning to
video piracy as the new money maker.
There is even some indication that illegal immigrants in some
western countries are being forced to sell pirate DVD’s to pay human
traffickers for the journey.
story of human traffickers is a sad one – and the African asylum
seekers trapped on a German cargo ship of
these last few weeks seem to be a part of that picture.
The asylum-seekers had claimed to be fleeing the conflict in
's Darfur region but, according to BBC
on-line, the Italian authorities now say they appear to be from
. They’ve no doubt paid large sums of money for the privilege of
almost drowning in a dingy mid-Mediterranean.
makes you wonder what a human life is worth – and what cost to
improve it. That kind of
argument even comes within the church.
The synod – or governing body – of the Church of England
has been meeting this last week and have rejected a call for all
clergy to be paid the same. Currently,
the head of the Church of England, and figurehead of the World-Wide
Anglican communion, the Archbishop of Canterbury, earns 62 and a half
thousand pounds a year (roughly $US120,000) while a parish priest
lives on 18 and a half thousand (34,000US$). Amidst much talk of
labourers being worthy of their hire and Bible parables such as the
workers in the vineyards the Rev Chris Lilley asked, “Can we say
that the burden is greater on the Bishop, dean or archdeacon than on
the country parson looking after a dozen tiny rural parishes?”
course, that begs the whole question as to what a minister is worth,
and that is a debate that has gone on in many denominations.
My church likes to talk about a sacrificial wage – enough to
live on – but, valuing limited resources, trying to use the money
wisely to have sufficient clergy to serve the local churches
been a lot of debate on the issue in the last couple of years, and it
seems that 21st century clergy find it more difficult to
live on a sacrificial wage then they did back 50 years ago.
also hard to define what is meant by sacrificial as most of us live in
a situation where we think we could always use just a little bit more.
sacrifice we do see in many areas – parents, struggling to help
their children survive, students, working long hours to finance their
often no easy answer – although there are those who offer the
promise of quick riches for some internet scam or pyramid scheme.
My motto is, if it looks like a scam, it probably is.
you, I was delighted this week to come across a group, calling them
who spend their spare time fighting back at those wonderful email
spammers who daily offer me millions of dollars if I will share my
bank account details to them. Sadly
those who have done have been conned out of lots of money and some
have ended bankrupt or even in jail.
419eater.com – named after a section of the Nigerian legal
code – works to get back at the scammers and has even succeeded in
getting some money out of them. I
wish them luck.
let’s put it in a context. The
apostle Paul writes that “the love of money is the root of all
evil” (1 Timothy 6:10) -- pointing out that our priorities should be
on more important things. Money
is a useful tool – but that is all – and is best used, like with
the Good Samaritan, to help others.
Malachi even puts it a better way, challenging us to trust God
with our money and that he will then open the storehouses of heaven
daughter gave me a key ring yesterday.
The quote on it: “Money
isn’t everything but it keeps the kids in touch”.
And even though she gave it as a joke – it’s not a bad
thing – using the resources God gave us to help others, and to make
the world a better place.