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.
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.