July 22, 2014

spending our way to Hell

Starvation is the characteristic of some people not having enough food to eat. It is not the characteristic of there not being enough food to eat.Amartya Sen

We know there is enough food in the world to feed everyone. We do not need to produce more food to end hunger in our lifetime. All that is necessary to end hunger is simply better distribution  of the food already being produced.

Achieving better distribution is currently hindered by the immorality of those of us with the power to stand up for the hungry and undernourished of world. The lack of true global community which arises from our superficial and spurious spirituality is directly related to the unnecessary deaths of 25,000 of our sisters and brothers every single day.

This generation has the awesome opportunity to end hunger in our lifetime, yet we are too morally bankrupt to even care. We are far to busy mindlessly spending our way to Hell.

 

July 20, 2014

forgive us

For the sin we have committed by ignoring the poor….

And for the sin we have committed by not respecting God’s image in every human being….

 And for the sin we have committed by not allowing others to become what they could be….

And for the sin we have committed by keeping silent in the face of evil….

For all these sins, O God of forgiveness, forgive us, pardon us, and grant us atonement.

Robert Hammer, Jack Riemer, and Jules Harlow in Yearnings: Prayer and Meditation for the Days of Awe published in 1968

July 18, 2014

poverty is not natural

Today is Mandela Day, and around the world caring people are honoring the memory of Nelson Mandela with 67 minutes of service. I pray that all the service given touches the lives of those most in need and that with every minute of service given we all more deeply realize that we have the power to change our world forever.

Like slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is manmade and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. — Nelson Mandela

Imagine a world without poverty and hunger. We could make it happen in our lifetime.

July 17, 2014

living more gently

It’s been a long time since I’ve read Coleridge. How many of us first encountered him in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner?  Written in 1798, the poem still has a truth we need to hear today.

We are all connected in a beautiful web of life that includes everything, not just our human family. Remembering that should help us walk more slowly and live more gently.

He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

 

July 14, 2014

the lacquer of respectibility

The church allows people to believe that they can be good Christians and yet draw dividends from armament factories, can be good Christians and yet imperil the well-being of their fellows by speculating in stocks and shares. can be good Christians and yet be imperialists, yet participate in war. All that is required of the good Christian is chastity and a modicum of charity in immediate personal relations.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) “Education,” Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization, 1937

Was this really written in 1937? It could have just as easily been written yesterday.

Look no further for the roots of the church’s demise in the developed world. We have accepted a false gospel of cheap grace heavily glossed with the lacquer of respectability, and then we have the audacity to call it discipleship.

The church has become nothing more than a thermometer of society’s values. We have allowed ourselves to become fully domesticated. We snuggle in the lap of luxury while ignoring the Gospel’s demand for faithfulness.

Jesus validated his ministry by his care for the poor, the despised, and the outcast.  The church gives ministry with the poor lip service while working overtime to bolster a decaying institution. Following Jesus is not the same as attending church.

The church calls us to come and be respectable. Jesus calls us to come and die.

 

July 12, 2014

“mirror, mirror, on the wall…”

Poverty is not wholly a personal failure. It also represents the failure of an economic system. And the remedy is not wholly one of charity, but of political and economic action. Poverty is a reflection also on those who are not poor.

This 1951 quote from Once Around the Sun by Brooks Atkinson is more true today than when it was originally penned. The growing poverty we see, especially in the United States, is more a reflection on those of us who have the power and the voice to repair the failures of a broken system than those trapped and buried alive by it.

“Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fairest…” Maybe we should turn away before we see the truth. Complicity casts a ugly reflection.

July 10, 2014

justly accountable

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an English philosopher and political economist. He was an influential contributor to both social and political theory. He wrote that:

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.

If we agree with Mill’s statement then it follows that we must hold ourselves just accountable for the death of another 25,000 of our human family who we allowed to die in the past 24 hours due to our inaction. We know we can end hunger in our lifetime, yet we allow it to continue causing untold evil and unnecessary suffering on the poor and hungry.

When will we align our actions with our professions of faith? When will our lifestyles begin to match the lip service we give to being moral and caring people?

 

July 8, 2014

the first 1,000 days revisited

My June 3rd post, 1,000 days to change the future, focused on the need to address undernutrition during critical window between conception and a child’s second birthday. Focusing on this first critical 1,000 days of a child’s life can not only spell the difference between life and death, it can be the deciding factor for a child’s health and well-being for the rest of his or her life.

Investing in improved nutrition during a child’s first 1,000 days is vital for enabling children to live healthier and more productive lives. Studies have demonstrated that providing proper nutrition for children during this 1,000 day window can accomplish more than we can even begin to imagine. Providing proper nutrition during this window can:

  • save more than 1,000,000 lives every year
  • significantly reduce the burden of major diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS
  • reduce the risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and other chronic conditions later in life
  • improve an individual’s educational and earning potential.

There is also evidence that shows providing proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life can increase a county’s GDP by at least 2-3 percent annually.

The first 1,000 days of a child’s life are critical for providing a healthier and more prosperous future.  Proper nutrition during this period is one of the best investment of resources we can make, and solutions to make this happen are readily available. These solutions are both affordable and cost-effective. Simple solutions include:

  • Ensuring mothers and infants get the necessary vitamins and minerals they need
  • Promoting good nutritional practices (such as breastfeeding), and appropriate foods that are healthy for infants
  • providing special therapeutic foods for malnourished infants

Addressing a child’s nutritional needs during the first 1,000 days of life is a simple, yet powerful way to change the future. Ensuring proper nutrition for children during their first 1,000 days is an investment toward achieving lasting progress toward global health…and a world without hunger.