Tag: hunger

Write your senator and representative

Somalia drought and famineBread for the World has announced its 2014 Offering of Letters to United States senators and representatives. Bread does not send these letters; Bread encourages and empowers individual Christians to conduct this annual letter-writing campaign, and this often occurs through churches.

This year’s effort asks lawmakers to reform United States food aid in times of crisis and to foster long-term solutions to hunger. Specifically, it asks for legislation to pursue three goals:

1) Improve efficiency in international crisis aid by allowing more food to be bought in or near the country where it is needed and by reducing sales of American-grown food in developing countries and instead funding local projects that can provide more sustainable anti-hunger efforts.

2) Enhance the nutritional quality of food aid and better target it to vulnerable people, such as women and children in the first 1,000 days of life.

3) Protect funding for emergency and development food aid.

Bread, which is supported by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, provides a wide variety of helpful resources to help people understand the issues related to U.S. aid and to help churches organize letter-writing campaigns. It’s a great way to lay a foundation of concern for hunger and poverty in the world, and this concern is firmly rooted in the gospel message of Jesus.

(This post originally appeared on the texasbaptists.org site.)

Too much hunger

(Originally posted on Facebook.)

The USDA report reveals that almost one in five Texas households (18.8 percent, or 1.7 million households) were food insecure between 2008 and 2010, compared to 14.6 percent of households nationwide. Over one-third of these households (6.9 percent) are classified as having very low food security—the more severe condition associated with food insecurity—compared to 5.6 percent of U.S. households. Texas ranks second in the nation for the highest percentage of food insecure households, and is tied

www.ers.usda.gov

In 2010, 14.5 percent of U.S. households were food insecure. The percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure had increased sharply in 2008 and remained at that high level in 2009 and 2010the highest recorded percentage since national monitoring of food security began in 1995.

‘Such as these’ 7 – Joel Hunter

Joel Hunter

We’ve got this universal, evocative cause that is biblically mandated. YOU give them something to eat. This “you” is plural in Mark 6.

Joel Hunter, pastor of Northland: A Church Distributed in Longwood, Florida, spoke suring the “… such as these” conference. The message was great, but I only took a few notes, paraphrased here:

My heart is for the spiritual maturity of my congregation. … Many of us have come to think of church as therapy, as self-actuallization exercsies, as a place where we are gratified and affirmed in our own path. … 

I have great fears for my church, for my country. … “How much of my money can I keep.” … 

The church needs the weight of the weak. The weight of the weak will save the strong.

Hunter spoke during a May 24-25, 2011, conference titled, “…such as these…”: An Evangelical Advocacy Response to Global Childhood Hunger. The event was held at Dallas Baptist University and sponsored by Bread for the World, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, National Association of Evangelicals, Micah Challenge, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and DBU.

‘Such as these’ 4 – Scott Todd

NOTES (These are paraphrases, not direct quotes from Scott’s address at the “… such as these” gathering in Dallas, May 24.)

“Fast Living: How the Church Will End Extreme Poverty”

By Scott Todd, Compassion International

It’s possible to end extreme hunger in our generation.

In college I saw a sign, “Change the Life of a Child.” I was skeptical, thought it was a scam. I’m arguing with a poster. Asked God, “Do you want me to do this?” When I said this, I felt compelled, pulled off reply card. … Received information on a kid in the Dominican Republic. That’s where I began in my journey.

Twenty percent of babies die … the US just 100 years ago. … We’ve come a long way, but sometimes we forget how fast that’s happened. Unfortunately that progress has not reached all o f us. … Tanzania…

21,000 children die everyday from preventable diseases. …

What are your expectations for the future of the poor?

“the poor will always be with you…”  Jesus was not speaking to us, He was speaking to Judas (because of what he said in the rest of the verse. Judas was bursting into an act of worship. The fatalistic expectations we have are connected to our interpretation of that verse.

Others believe we can end extreme poverty, but pastors have doubts. … These are the guys who believe all things are possible. … It’s clear what God is capable of…. we are in a battle with our own low expectations … of the church and of ourselves.

Isaiah 58: …God wants our generation to hear again the voice of the prophet. … God says I’ve seen the show, I’m not impressed. … The prophet of God is warning the people of God they are in the presence of an unlistening God. … You cannot fast as you do today. … The true prophet never stops at a criticism, … he always turns and articulates a vision of the future. … next section of Isaiah … is this not the fast I have chosen…. a lot of verbs …. a faith expressed in love for others. … verse 10… KJV “if you pour out your soul for the hungry”. … then you will be restorers and repairers. …

incredible promises flow out of Isaiah 58. … you will be called… this will be your reputation… this is how people will see you… repairers of broken walls…

It’s time for us to remember who we are … time to join with people like Martin Luther King Jr., people willing to be co-workers with God…

52% in 1981 lived in extreme poverty, today 26%… we have cut it in half in one generation…

We have the opportunity to do something unprecedented in history. … We have the opportunity to push extreme economic poverty into the history books. … Right now poverty makes us sad… It will someday make us indignant. …

Our low expectations are not God’s … I’m looking for other fools for God. …

What will it take? … leadership… multiple segments of society… includes government…

It will take $73 billion over 10 years to end extreme unhunger…. Christians make $1.5 trillion every year in income. … God has entrusted us with all of this wealth….

I’m looking for leaders who can reflect on this and rally the troops in your sphere of influence. …

truefast@live58.org

notalways.live58.org

Some of the plastic junk we buy is breaking the back of poverty overseas. …

You do not have to always be too late.

Todd spoke during a May 24-25, 2011, conference titled, “…such as these…”: An Evangelical Advocacy Response to Global Childhood Hunger. The event was held at Dallas Baptist University and sponsored by Bread for the World, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, National Association of Evangelicals, Micah Challenge, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and DBU.

‘Such as these’ 2 – Nicholas Wolterstorff

NOTES (these are not direct quotes but paraphrases)

“Setting the Biblical/Theological Stage”

By Nicholas Wolterstorff, Professor Emeritus Yale University

The grand charter for Christian social work is Matt 24… In the parable, Jesus declared that in welcoming the stranger we are welcoming him… It has also been a favorite of the artists of the church. …

Every translation available mistranslates the Greek at two points. …

Isaiah passage… the downtrodden …

Jesus invites us to bring Isaiah into the picture. …

The word “righteous” in Matthew 24 is better translated “justice.” … If this is on the right track and it is about justice, then reference the great commandment. Jesus speaks of love not justice. … It would seem we are to treat our neighbor not as justice requires but as gratitous love requires…. But that is not the case. … The two love commands are quotations from the Torah. … If you want to understand what Jesus meant by agape, it would be good to look at the OT context for the second command. … Moses is instructing Israelites to treat fellow Israelites with justice. … Love does not supercede justice nor are they to be pitted against each other… examples of treating the neighbor justly are cited as examples as loving the neighbor. Agape encorates justice. …  Shalom goes beyond justice.

Back now to to the court parable. … By wronging the downtrodden we are wronging Jesus. … You and I are latecomers in history. We cannot literally do things for Jesus, but we can treat him with justice or injustice. … By not doing these things we violate what Jesus was called to do, thus we wrong him. … That ups the ante enormously. We thought we were being good and gracious by extending charity. Now we understand we’re doing what justice requires. …

The injustices of the world are the wounds of God.

Some say the exclusive business of government is to protect our freedoms. … Some believe in a safety net. … They must have not read Romans about the God-given task of government, which is to curb wrongdoing. … Freedom is important, but justice is basic. … To those who say a safety net should be preserved, grutitous charity is optional; it goes beyond what is required, which is justice. … Bible does not say government should be dispenser of welfare. It is the task of government to see to it that the weak and vulnerable are not being wronged, that they are being treated justly.

The parable of the great trial… It’s familiar, but it is strange. … All nations gathered before the king, the Son of Man. … Told two days before Jesus’ final Passover… a parable of his coming kingship. … you and I are in the crowd before the King. … Jesus says the father does not bless us for any acts of our piety. … the reason he gives instead is feeding hungry, welcoming stranger, visiting prisoner. … This is really strange. becuae all except those who encountered him at his lifetime have never done these things to him…. But when we’ve done this to such as the least of these, we’ve done it to Him. … Has our perplexity been resolved? … No. …

Raise an important issue of interpretation, which is entertwined with translation that I mentioned. … The word “righteous” occurred twice. … dikios … the righteous. … to the best of my knowledge is always translated same way in English. Who am I to question? … Vulgate and translations in romance languages translate it with their word for “just.” It’s the just who enter into eternal life. … The Greek word was ambiguous at the time so you’ve got to use context to determine the appropriate meeting. … Righteousness is a character trait; justice is a social designation. … Blessed are those who are persecutued for the sake of rectitude or for the sake of justice. … The upright are seldom persecuted. It’s the people who pursue justice that get under the skin of other people and thus get persecuted. …

I think Jesus was here talking about justice. … Coming to the aid of others is a matter of justice not of gratuitous charity.

Wolterstorff spoke during a May 24-25, 2011, conference titled, “…such as these…”: An Evangelical Advocacy Response to Global Childhood Hunger. The event was held at Dallas Baptist University and sponsored by Bread for the World, Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission, National Association of Evangelicals, Micah Challenge, Baptist World Alliance, Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, and DBU.