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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Harvesting gratitude

Patty, Mike, Kristen and Craig lead the way.

I am to Bono what Peter Griffin (in Family Guy) is to George Clooney: a fat, suburban caricature.
However, like him, I’m a musician, and I’m not above begging a little.

There is more information available now than any of us wants to hear about hunger. The Hunger Facts page at the Bread for the World website repeats the litany that we have all heard a thousand times, that hunger is an epidemic, and that we have the ability, here and now, without any divine intervention, to feed the world, but we are choosing not to do it. Instead, for instance, we’re making a commodity out of corn, patenting seeds, and paying farmers not to grow it. The same reference states that “The United Nations Development Program estimates that the basic health and nutrition needs of the world's poorest people could be met for an additional $13 billion a year. Animal lovers in the United States and Europe spend more than that on pet food each year.” I don’t have a pet, but I’ll bet there’s something else I’m buying that could help the hungry, so I’m part of the problem, too. Ice cream. I spend almost a billion dollars in my lifetime on ice cream, and another $500M on chocolate syrup. As you know, I'm a church musician, so that is a good chunk —nearly half — of my salary.

Anyway, every year the Church World Service sponsors the  Crop Hunger Walk, a community 5-10K walk in towns and cities all over the country to raise awareness and money to fight hunger. For the last several years, I’ve tried to do my part along with my village and parish, and we raise money with Church World Service by walking for the hunger. So if you would like to do something to help with this grassroots effort to end hunger, go to my donation page at the Barrington CropWalk website, and make a little pledge. Or a big one. Then help keep the fire burning by advocating for justice with your congressional representatives to make the eradication of hunger a legislative priority.

I once heard Jack Jezreel tell a story about the difference between charity and justice that stuck with me for nearly twenty years, maybe it will illumine things for you, too. He said that there was once a man who had a farm by a river. Working on his land one day, he began to notice bodies floating down the river near his land. Charity, Jezreel said, was retrieving and burying the bodies. Justice is going up the river to find out what was killing the people. 

Everything we do helps to save the world and give people a chance at life they might not otherwise have. We can give something out of our own bounty or sustenance, and then work to change the structures that keep people hungry. The price of doing nothing is just too high, don’t you think?

Make a donation, please. Click here.