Tag Archives: awareness

good, but troubling, information

I, being an official member of the older adult category, cannot let information such as this get away without a comment or two. This information isn’t new to me, but I feel it might be for some.

Having recently concluded three years as a pastor of an elderly congregation (average age of 83), I have seen this firsthand. It’s not a pretty picture.

All of us would do well to pay attention to the seniors in our lives. They are many small things we can do to help ease their struggles, but it starts with awareness.

Care and respect for the elderly among us is a tradition most of believe in, and rightfully so. What can you do to ease the hardship of an older friend or family member during this Christmas season?

Ostrichitis

Ostrichitis is the common disease of sticking one’s head in the sand to avoid seeing or dealing with unpleasant, ugly, or dangerous situations. It can be fatal if not treated. Hiding from the reality of the present political situation is one of the first symptoms.

Sometimes outrage is just a sign of getting our heads out of the sand. Never in my lifetime has there been a greater need to become aware and to become involved.

if you are not outraged…

I am not sure that Thurber’s quote is entirely appropriate for the situation in which we now find ourselves. Looking around with any degree of true awareness, fear and anger will almost certainly be two of the first emotions that come to mind.

I once had a bumper sticker that read, “IF YOU ARE NOT OUTRAGED YOU ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION! Sadly, it has gone the way of all old bumper stickers.

How I wish I had that bumper sticker now. Never has it been more relevant.

I am paying attention. And I am outraged. I am disgusted with the lies and the slander and all the deceit in the current Presidential campaign. But, I am more outraged that all of us who so loudly proclaim to live by Christian values don’t.

I am tired of all of us who play church, but do not live in love, who refuse to be peacemakers, and who really worship at the altars of wealth and power. When I look around in awareness I am saddened to realize that we actually have the government and the leaders we deserve.

using hunger to help solve hunger

[This post is reprinted from the Stop Hunger Now blog page]

Going Hungry to Solve Hunger

Guest post written by Kara Cloud, a student at St. Joseph High School in Trumbull, Connecticut, and participant in this year’s 30 Hour Famine at St. Philip Church.

Inmy first year participating in St. Philip’s 30 Hour Famine, I was initially most struck by the diversity of the people who joined together to fight hunger — young and old, poor and wealthy, religious and nonreligious, parents, high school and elementary school students. All people, all participants in the 2015 30 Hour Famine, were there because they wanted to be.

That’s what intrigued me: who would want to give up four meals, do some physical labor, and spend 30 hours not eating with kids of all ages whom they had never met before? I was interested to the point where I had to figure out what it was all about. I entered with curiosity — I had no expectations seeing as I had not partaken in any event like this before. And I had no idea what a life-changing experience I was about to have.

Typically, people are brought together over meals: holiday celebrations, cooking with parents, meeting up with friends for a dinner out. Yet, nothing has ever made me feel such a bond with others as voluntarily giving up our food for thirty hours to raise awareness for world hunger and poverty. How does your hunger help keep those thousands of miles away from being hungry? I’ve grown up asking myself the same question.

When I was in elementary school, the people working in the cafeteria would always scold the students who threw away their uneaten meals saying, “There are children starving in Africa!” However, it was never explained to us what we should do to help them — because clearly stuffing myself wasn’t going to make them less hungry and there was no efficient way to donate the excess food on my lunch tray to those in need.

It took until my sophomore year in high school before someone gave me an alternative that made sense to me: instead of taking what we have for granted, learn to live without and by doing so, learn to appreciate our privilege and do something with it.

We are lucky to be a nation that has to force ourselves to eat less, because we have the excess food at our fingertips. We are lucky to be able to deny our children dessert, because we have that dessert to deny. Why should we, who are only given these opportunities by chance, not feel some sort of responsibility to give others the same chance to eat a wholesome meal?

Going hungry is not the same as being hungry, and all of the participants at 30 Hour Famine were well aware of their privilege as they came together to package 20,000 meals for the hungry in Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in the world located in West Africa. We were all thankful that in 30 hours we would be guaranteed a meal, that the hunger we felt would pass. It made the experience more bearable, easing the grumbles in our stomachs.

However, while my feeling of hunger was pacified by knowing I could eat soon, my feeling of guilt at how lucky I am to be in the small portion of the world’s population that is guaranteed a meal at every breakfast, lunch, and dinner break was not as easily forgotten. We all were united with this recognition of our privilege and worked to grant others the same assurance of another meal, an escape from hunger, by taking donations at supermarkets, packing lunches, and making economical and substantial food through Stop Hunger Now and Catholic Relief Services in a system that uses basic ingredients to provide sustenance for a family of six for one meal.

Everything I learned — the hunger facts, the importance of unity, numerous causes to raise money for, greater appreciation for my privilege — is evident in my smile, my composure, my thoughts. I came to the 30 Hour Famine a blank slate ready to be changed — and I did change. I became more aware, more appreciative, and more global-minded. The most important thing for one’s first Famine experience is to come ready to be changed, and then to go inspire change in the world. Use the fuel given by the food are you are lucky enough to eat, and go fuel some change.

To learn more about the 30 Hour Famine and how you can participate, please visit http://stphilipnorwalk.weebly.com/30-hour-famine.html.

This article originally appeared on The Hour.

living wrong?

None of us can do everything. But all of us can do something.

Each of us are constantly presented with opportunities to touch someone’s life in a special way. The question is how do we make ourselves more aware of these opportunities.

Once we see a way to make someone’s life better we need to make sure we “just do it.” Good intentions are not enough. We need to make it happen.

We will be happier, and the world will be a far better place.

keep us busy, Lord

O Powerful Father,
Please make me a diligent worker in your Kingdom. Help me not to be lazy or selfish with my time, energy and money. You are a God of action and intervention in the problems and troubles of people. Help us to pattern our lives after your example and become involved in the struggles of our neighbors. Give us the heart to walk into difficult situations, and make a difference for hurting people. And make us fully aware of your presence with us at all times. We know that we are weak and ineffective on our own, Lord, but with your help and power behind us, we can move mountains in your service. Keep us busy in the joyful labors of mercy and justice.  Amen

a prayer taken from For They Shall Be Fed, edited by Ronald J. Sider.

keep us busy, Lord

O Powerful Father,

Please make me a diligent worker in your Kingdom.  Help me not to be lazy or selfish with my time, energy and money.  You are a God of action and intervention in the problems and troubles of people.  Help us to pattern our lives after your example and become involved in the struggles of our neighbors.  Give us the heart to walk into difficult situations and make a difference for hurting people.  And make us fully aware of your presence with us at all times.  We know that we are weak and ineffective on our own Lord, but with your help and power behind us, we can move mountains in your service.  Keep us busy in the joyful labors of mercy and justice. Amen.

A prayer from For They Shall Be Fed, edited by Ronald J Sider