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Thirty Pieces of Silver – Lent Studies Remind Us of Corruption and Injustice

March 4, 2014

Christians are being challenged to look afresh at Lent events in relation to corruption in a new reflection released today by the Bible Society. Thirty Pieces of Silver, written by theologian Dr Paula Gooder, shows God’s stance on corruption, bribery and justice by looking at a number of biblical case studies.

The pamphlet name is inspired by Judas’ well-known decision to betray Jesus for a bribe of 30 pieces of silver and supports the EXPOSED campaign, a coalition of Christian organisations and churches which aims to challenge the global Church, business and government to tackle corruption in all its forms.

Dr Gooder, Theologian in Residence for the Bible Society looks at the issue of corruption and bribery through stories such as Adam and Eve's self-interest; Samuel’s outspoken attack on kingship; Zacchaeus; and culminates in Jesus’ own betrayal.

She says, “The more we read and reflect on the Bible, the clearer it becomes that the topic of corruption is not something that we can split away from our worship of God and leave on one side.”

The pamphlet calls for Christians to look at the “catastrophic consequences of corruption” in their own lives and that of their church along with institutions like local councils; national governments; and global bodies such as the European Union and the G20.

Every year well over US$1 TRILLION goes missing through mismanagement, illicit business practices and poor governance[i]. 30 Pieces of Silver seeks to put this selfishness and greed into a Christian context and does not shy away from corruption that exists in churches and Christian organisations. ‘

‘Ecclesiastical crime’ – across all faiths – is on the increase. In 1900, an estimated US$300,000 went missing from religious coffers. In 2010 that figure rose to US$32b and is projected to be US$60b by 2025.’[ii]

EXPOSED International Coordinator, Joel Edwards says, “Sadly, corruption is not something the Church is immune from, and yet we say so little about it. That's why, together with our Bible Society partners across the world, we're launching Thirty Pieces of Silver.”

The pamphlet does not seek only to inform. Each section has questions for reflection designed to encourage readers whether they are in Accra or Aberdeen to see Easter through the lens of corruption.

The EXPOSED campaign wants to bring a hopeful message that while corruption is complex and pervasive, integrity is possible. “God’s words are powerful and sometimes controversial but they contain a recipe for change for all of us”, says Joel Edwards

30 Pieces of Silver helps the call for integrity by asking Christians to take practical actions during Lent, such as signing the EXPOSED Call at www.exposedcampaign.com and challenges church leaders to evaluate the transparency and prioritisation of their church finances.

Dr Paula Gooder, has said, ‘”Tracing the themes of corruption, bribery, transparency and integrity through the biblical narrative offers us a rich re-reading of Jesus' kingship. By writing Thirty Pieces of Silver, I have been personally challenged to engage afresh with the issues represented by the EXPOSED campaign”.


[i] David Kaufman, Global Governance Director, World Bank Institute, 2004

[ii] ‘The Status of Global Missions’ report, 2010

- ENDS -

NOTES TO EDITORS

For more information about EXPOSED, including stories and photos, and to sign the Global Call to End Corruption www.exposedcampaign.com

*The EXPOSED logo is available for use

MEDIA CONTACTS

For interviews on this subject please contact:

- Amanda Jackson, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Micah Challenge - amanda@micahchallenge.org  Tel: +44 (0) 7545 351956

- Joel Edwards, International Director, Micah Challenge -               vikki@micahchallenge.org  Tel: +44 (0)20 7367 6571

The pamphlet will be available to view from Weds 5th March at: biblesociety.org.uk/exposed

The release of 30 Pieces of Silver coincides with the launch of a new 3-minute video on corruption by EXPOSED which is designed for schools, churches and study groups (www.exposedcampaign.com/videos)

About EXPOSED

EXPOSED is a coalition of Christian Organisations that aims to challenge the global Church, business and governments to highlight the impact of corruption on the poorest of the poor.

Founding Steering Group - American Bible Society, USA; Association for a more Just Society (AJS), Honduras; British and Foreign Bible Society, UK; Evangelical Association of the Caribbean; Heads of Denominations, Zimbabwe; Micah Challenge International; The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission; Unashamedly Ethical; World Evangelical Alliance; 24-7 Prayer, South Africa

Other partners include -  Advocates International; ALARM; ANAJURE, Brazil; CANOPI, Malaysia; Digni, Norway; Europartners; Evangelical Alliance UK; Intercessory Prayer Ministry Intl; Micah Network; Paz y Esperanza, Peru; The Leprosy Mission; Ame A Verdade, Brasil; Tearfund UK; World Council of Churches