Author: Michael Bogart

The Poverty of Riches

Would you like to be rich?  A great many people would answer “Yes!” to this question without a moment’s hesitation.  To some, riches are the ultimate goal in life because they are the ticket to all of the things people enjoy – fine food, designer clothing, spacious homes, hot cars, vacations, and all the toys that go with the “good life”. Getting rich is a mania with us.  How else do we account for the success of the lottery, the TV game shows or the fixation with the lifestyles of the rich and famous?  At this point I’m not really speaking of those who dabble in gambling or the money games.  What I am here concerned with is the unabashed striving for wealth for its own sake.  I think of a young man I once knew whose goal after finishing college was to begin making $85,000 a year in sales.  This is the love of money in its most obvious form. There are all sorts of arguments for why having wealth is a good idea.  For one, “Just think how much happier I would be and how much better off my family would be.  We could do all those little extras that make such a difference.”  Or how about, “If I had money, I could be generous in my contributions to charitable organizations.” The truth of the matter, however,...

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Opinions About God

From time to time, various magazines and television channels tackle the perennial question, “Who is God?”.   Much space is devoted to  personal views of a cross-section of people concerning who, or what, God might be.  Well-known personalities are interviewed as well as other lesser-known people from around the world, including professed Christians of different varieties, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, agnostics and free thinkers. As a student of world religion and Christian leader I find such inquiries to be intensely fascinating because they give us the pulse of what people are thinking in our wider world.  For example, a Hindu beggar from Benares, India, reverences a variety of deities and wonders why he has been stricken with leprosy.  He suggests that it may be because he is being punished by Brahma for bad karma in previous lives. A California woman was raised in an Orthodox synagogue but says she can’t connect with God or with being Jewish anymore.  The idea of God as she has understood it simply doesn’t connect in her life experience.  A British biologist views God as the “ultimate reality” and believes that the destiny of individuals is to be absorbed into this supreme truth. A Columbian hit man describes life as a dark experience in which God makes each person pay for the evil they commit.  Yet he goes on to say , “God pardons everyone who seeks him, so pretty much you can do what...

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July, 2006 Article in “The Vessel”

PRETORIA USA Christians make a real difference Teams of Christian volunteers of different denominations – many of them young people – are making a meaningful difference to the South African rural communities they are working in, under the auspices of Jaron Ministries International of Fresno, California. JARON Ministries, International of the United States sends four such teams a year and The Vessel was fortunate to be able to conduct an interview with a group of eight of these visitors when they passed through Pretoria on their way to Giyani in the Northern Province. Another 20 of their group were to have arrived a couple of days later from the USA. They spent about a week networking with various projects in and around Pretoria, including the Wolmer Community Project and a project at Soshanguve and were hosted during that time by the energetic André Bronkhorst, a well-known organiser of Christian youth camps for Eksderde. Pastor Michael Bogart, Director of the Jaron Bible Institute, explained that a Shangaan Tribal Chief had donated 30 hectares of land at Giyani for the development of a youth camp some five years ago and that it was to this on-going project to which his group was headed. He noted that Jaron was also involved in another youth camp development at Cape Town. “We are not only here to contribute our assistance, we are also here...

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