July 27, 2014

a prayer for bread in abundance

Prayer for Bread in Abundance

By: Education for Justice

We give you thanks,
God of Abundant Life,
for bread and friendship and hope.
With these gifts of Your grace we are nourished.
With these signs of Your presence we are able
to stand in solidarity with those across the globe
who struggle for their daily bread.
Continue then to nourish us,
inspire us and call us
that we might help make Your reign more of a reality in our day.  Amen.

July 26, 2014

war and famine in South Sudan

This article by William Lambers is one more warning of the impending famine in South Sudan. Due to the seriousness of the situation I have taken the liberty to reprint it in its entirety.  Four million people are facing starvation. The global community needs to act now.

Kerry warns of mass starvation in South Sudan

July 25, 2014

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry today warned that South Sudan is on the brink of famine. War between the South Sudanese government and opposition forces has destroyed food supplies, threatening millions with starvation.

Kerry is urging the two sides to build peace before it’s too late. In a statement today Kerry said,

This is not a crisis caused by drought or flood: it is a calamity created by conflict. Unless the fighting ends and a peace agreement is concluded, the number of those at risk of starvation — now as many as 3.9 million people, fully one-third of the population – will reach even more catastrophic levels.”

Since the war erupted, over 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes. Many have lost their livelihoods in the process. With farmers unable to plant because of the fighting, hunger in the country has dramatically escalated. This is hardest on small children, who suffer lasting physical and mental damage, or death from malnutrition.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF are leading the hunger relief mission. The two agencies, and their partners, are low on funding. Wars in Syria, Iraq and the Central African Republic have demanded humanitarian resources, making it harder to focus on the South Sudan emergency. In fact, there are more refugees globally now than any time since World War II. Humanitarian agencies need a huge influx of funding to contend with famine threats in South Sudan and other areas.

WFP’s director, Ertharin Cousin, today pleaded for more support. Cousin stated,

“WFP, UNICEF and our partners here on the ground have been working tirelessly to bring assistance to those suffering the consequences of this conflict and we are ready to do more and to reach more. But if we are to rapidly expand our operations and save more lives, then we need more resources, and the international community has to act now.”

Both WFP and UNICEF rely on voluntary donations. WFP has set up a South Sudan relief fund. UNICEF USA also has a donation page to help.

July 24, 2014

if any man is hungry

If any man is hungry, this is both a religious and a political concern, and out of a religious concern for one created in God’s image, political means must be devised for ensuring that everyone gets enough bread — which is a suitable definition of the art of politics. –  Robert McAfee Brown The Spirit of Protestantism 1961

Brown writes that hunger is a religious concern. I think it if far more a spiritual concern. How we deal with hunger determines the depth of our discipleship and is a real indicator of just how vital our spirituality actually is. If there is no real care, compassion and ministry with those of our family lacking their daily bread, then our spirituality must be treated as suspect and is superficial at best, and at worst, a total sham.

However, Brown is absolutely correct that we must ensure the political will to empower the poor and hungry with the basic right to provide themselves food. The lack of political will  among global leaders to seriously address ending hunger is one of the single greatest obstacles to ending hunger in our lifetime.

 

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.