Ice Bucket Challenges and St Augustine

Ice bucket challenges have raised awareness of, and funds for, an illness that comparatively few people know much about, but I have to admit they leave me cold (no pun intended). I think that is because I believe one should help others whenever one can with ‘time, treasure or talent’, as the case may be. I don’t see why one shouldn’t have fun into the bargain, but wasting fresh water and energy to make ice does strike me as a little daft. St Augustine, whose feast we keep today, had some wise things to say about being charitable. For example,

Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.

or this

Find out how much God has given you and from it take what you need; the remainder is needed by others.

If, like me, you are averse to the notion of having icy water poured over your head, you could take to heart these two sentences of St Augustine and give as much as you can to as many as you can, starting with the needy around you. It isn’t always a material need that has to be met, but a spiritual, intellectual or emotional one. Scope for all!

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8 thoughts on “Ice Bucket Challenges and St Augustine”

  1. I was nominated but haven’t done the icy water; seems to me a bit like a chain letter, smacks of blackmail. I’ve done other good things so will stop there!

  2. I absolutely agree. I am on my way to help at the foodbank now, and there I see so much sadness and need. Makes me much more aware of not indulging when I do my own food shopping, and even clothes shopping. I only need what I need, and no more!

  3. I totally agree with you and the other commentators here.

    Fine for those who want to do it, but to virtually bully others into it by publically nominating them on social media or otherwise isn’t in my view charitable, just pure wrong mindedness.

    People can make their own decisions giving either money, time or talents, they don’t need to be pushed into it.

  4. I totally disagree with this line of argument. I haven’t poured ice water on myself either, but a lot of (younger) friends and relatives have. Not only did they have a lot of fun, but by their performances have publicized and emphasized a collective responsibility for social concerns. It’s a modern version of “witnessing to your faith”.
    Wasting water and energy? Really? We waste more than that every single time we take a shower! And yes, I do believe people need to be “nudged” (not bullied) into recognizing their responsibilities.
    I congratulate the ALS marketing team for a brilliant fundraising and awareness campaign.

  5. Raising awareness of a charity is fine, good even but I remain to be convinced that the ice bucket challenge is the way to do it.

    Thank you Sister for your voice of reason and sense.

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