I have been trying to live more responsibly for almost 40 years. I have not been as successful in that quest as I would like. Yet, I know it’s a task to which we all need to more fully committed.
Our planet has a finite amount of resources. As a person of faith I need to be a good steward of those resources. That means using less of those resources whenever possible, always being less wasteful, and recognizing that our world is home to far more folks than those here in my country. That means I need to share what I so often take for granted.
A large part of my struggle to live more simply comes from being immersed in a society that seems to live to consume, rather than consume to live. Capitalism, Consumerism, and Wastefulness has become our new trinity.
The words of E.F. Shumacher come to mind. Our current lifestyle of over-consumption and wastefulness is not only a peril to the peace of the world; it’s a peril to the survival of the world.
Name a thing immoral or ugly, soul-destroying or a degradation of man, a peril to the peace of the world or to the well-being of future generations; as long as you have not shown it to be “uneconomic” you have not really questioned its right to exist, grow and prosper.
There was stunning news released by the U.S. Census Bureau today about child hunger. In 2014, there were 16 million children living off food stamp assistance. That is one in every five children in the United States.
The food stamp (SNAP) program gives needy families purchasing power at grocery stores. Since the Great Recession of 2007 the need for SNAP has gone way up. Before 2007 the number of children on food stamps was around 9 million.
High unemployment and low wages has made it hard for families to afford food. The need for SNAP has never been greater. However, Congress reduced the SNAP program starting in late 2013. That move has placed a strain on food banks to make up the difference, which they cannot achieve on their own.
This year the Congress will be crafting a new child nutrition bill. This will tackle issues such as the school lunch, breakfast programs and after school and summer feeding. There are improvements needed to these initiatives. My recent opinion piece, published by the Louisville Courier-Journal, discusses this vital legislation.
With so many children in hunger, and needing food stamps, aid must be increased. The danger is the largest generation of impoverished and hungry children America has ever seen. The consequences will be devastating.
Allowing children to die from hunger is child abuse. It’s murder, pure and simple.
Let’s not kid ourselves. There’s enough food for everyone in the world. Yet our greed, over-consumption, and wastefulness condemns thousands of children to slowly suffer and die every day from hunger and malnutrition.
The murder of millions of children is still murder. Make no mistake. It’s child abuse on a global scale, and it is still a crime.
How is this allowable in the richest, most affluent nation in the history of the world?
The United States spends more on our defense budget than the next five countries combined, but but we cannot insure that kids in our country go to bed with a full stomach. We should all be as angry as we are ashamed.
Am I the only one who feels we have our national priorities wrong?
We might be able to defend our borders and increase our military footprint around the globe, but it is obvious we cannot defend any claim to being moral, or to being just. Such claims are just as spurious as calling ourselves Christian.
There’s a big difference between being powerful and being good. It’s much like the difference between patriotism and faithfulness
This contemporary translation of Matthew by Richard Stearns in The Hole in Our Gospel calls us to look at our lifestyles with new eyes. We take our overly consumptive and wasteful habits for granted, while surrounded by those who are dying for lack of what we mindlessly throw away. Where’s the gospel in that?
The good news for the poor would be that those of us so blessed to have all we need would welcome them just as we proclaim we would welcome the Christ. Hopefully, we would not ignore the King of Kings. Why then do turn a deaf eyes to the cries of “the least of these?” As Stearns points out, our gospel has become far too holey to be any earthly good.
Most gracious and loving Creator, how thankful we are this day for all your blessings. We confess that far too often we live in a way that doesn’t demonstrate our gratitude for your goodness and your mercy. We are not as good stewards of your perfectly created world as we would like to be. We are wasteful of the gifts you have given us and take the beauty that surrounds us for granted. Forgive us.
Help us to be better stewards of all you have entrusted into our care. Grant us the insight to understand how closely we are connected to each other and all living things, and then grant us the wisdom and the grace necessary to live accordingly. Help us to walk more lightly on the earth that sustains us, and help us to share the abundant resources to have given us with all those most in need. And in all our endeavors, both great and small, grant that all we do brings you both glory and praise. Amen
There is a convergence today between the Biblical view of Jesus as Liberator, and the cry of oppressed peoples for liberation. For our own day, to “see the world through eyes other than our own” has simply got to mean seeing it through the eyes of the poor and dispossessed. When the story of Jesus and the story of human oppression are put side by side, they fit. They are simply different versions of the same story.
The cry of the hungry is overwhelming. The cry of the politically and economically exploited is overwhelming. The cry of those in prison and under torture is overwhelming. The cry of parents who know that their children are doomed to stunted and warped lives is overwhelming….
There may have been other emphases needed at other points in Christian history when talking about Jesus as Liberator, but I am persuaded that for this time and this place, the claim of Jesus to bring freedom, and the cry of the oppressed peoples for freedom, converge and cannot be separated. – Robert McAfee Brown
What is true freedom? There are many competing definitions. However, whatever definition we choose, we need to remember that freedom means responsibility. Freedom is not just liberation from something, it’s liberation for something.