Urging our nation's leaders to end hunger
 

182 posts categorized "Bible on Hunger"

Updated Resource: The Biblical Basis for Advocacy to End Hunger

Biblical_Basis_for_Advocacy“Throughout the Scriptures, God calls people into community and sets the expectation that leaders (whether they are kings, pharaohs, or governments) should care for their people (Psalm 72:2). Therefore, we also reflect God’s love by challenging individuals and institutions given the power to change laws and structures that keep people vulnerable. We work toward a just world in which every person has an opportunity to thrive. We participate in showing God’s love and honor the dignity and worth of our neighbors.”

Excerpt from The Biblical Basis for Advocacy to End Hunger.

As a collective Christian voice, Bread for the World grounds our work to end hunger with Scripture. The Biblical Basis for Advocacy to End Hunger outlines nine biblical themes that guide our mission.

  1. God loves us. Jesus’ greatest commandments are that we love God and each other.
  2. Humankind was created out of God’s love and in God’s Image, so we are to respect the dignity of every person.
  3. God has a special concern for poor and vulnerable people.
  4. God provides out of God’s abundance.
  5. All creation is reconciled with God through Jesus Christ, and we are to be agents of reconciliation.
  6. God loves justice and requires us to do justice and love kindness.
  7. Jesus said, “Whatever you do for the least of these you do for me.” We do Christ’s work when we act with and for hungry and poor people.
  8. We hear God’s voice in Scripture and respond with the faithful use of our own voices.
  9. God has a role for government to play in the protection and development of people.

Each section in the pamphlet includes Bible verses and references to people and stories that illuminate the call to end hunger through advocacy. We encourage you to use the brochure as the basis for a conversation in your church or community, and explore how God calls us to end the brokenness of hunger and poverty in our world.

The free resource is available online for download; print copies can be ordered through our store.  Let us know in the comments how you were able to use the resource: as an individual exploration, as a Christian educator leading an adult forum or study group, or as a small spiritual-formation group seeking to ground your understanding of how the Bible talks about hunger and advocacy.

JustFaith: Transforming Churches

Banquet table
A banquet Table at Bread for the World's June 2013 National Gathering in Washington, D.C. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World).

"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  Luke 14: 13-14 (NIV)

Many Bread members have introduced their churches to JustFaith, an adult education program that explores the biblical prescription to heal our broken world and foster congregational and individual wholeness. The 30 weekly sessions are carefully planned for faith sharing that includes prayer, study, and immersion. Each week’s curriculum deepens the participants' understanding of the biblical basis for advocacy. 

Bread members Bob and Janet Raes facilitated the program at West Linn Lutheran in Oregon and saw how it transformed lives. 

The immersion part of the program helps break down invisible barriers that hide suffering in the world. Bob and Janet recalled how simply listening to a homeless couple’s experience opened up a new world to their group. The homeless couple told a story of selling bracelets on the sidewalk with their dog and feeling that they weren't treated with dignity. A passerby offered them money to feed their dog, but ignored them as people. The message to the couple was that the dog deserved compassion, but they did not.

"Our groups said 'we are going to really see people,'" said Janet. "Some ride the bus now and that has just changed them."  Their congregation sponsored 3 months of rent to transition a homeless family into stable housing, and spent the time to help them move in and listen to their goals. Bob and Janet know that compassion is relational.

Through JustFaith, participants learn about both charity and advocacy—the latter is often harder for churches to embrace. "People are so allergic to the word 'advocate'—instead of advocating we say we are 'seeking justice,'" said Bob. JustFaith has helped their church to take a deeper look at the root causes of hunger and write letters as part of Bread for the World’s yearly Offering of Letters campaign, which asks Congress to create programs and policies that end hunger and poverty.

Even though participants in JustFaith are a small subset of any congregation, as other parishioners see the group transform it leads to changes in the church. “It’s an invasive species,” said Janet, with a smile.

With fall—the typical starting time for a JustFaith group—just around the corner, many churches are posting information and forming groups.  If you would like to learn more and find out how you can start a group, contact your regional organizer.

A Prayer for Our Leaders at the Edge of the Fiscal Cliff

Prayer-1

By David Beckmann

This weekend, as faithful congregants across our nation gather for their final service of 2012, we are mindful of the great significance of the budget discussions taking place among our political leaders. Whatever the outcome of these discussions—whether that means striking a deal or going over the fiscal cliff—hungry people in the United States and around the world will feel the effects the most.

We urge Bread members, Bread churches, and every concerned citizen to pray that our leaders choose a wise and just course. Please pass this prayer along or compose your own:

"Almighty and loving God, we pray for our nation. We are divided by ideology and interest groups.  Our leaders find it difficult to make decisions together.  We face pressing problems. Our economy is still fragile.  But urgent questions go unresolved.

"We pray for the president and Congress as they continue to negotiate taxes and government spending.  Give them wisdom, a spirit of concord, and a shared sense of responsibility for hungry and poor people.  Open doors to a solution that will serve the common good. Amen."

Quote of the Day: Isaiah 58:10

Purple_beans

And if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.


—Isaiah 58:10                             

Photo: A common bean that grows in Mexico. (Laura Elizabeth Pohl/Bread for the World)

Quote of the Day: Matthew 25:37-40

Drink_distro_guatemala

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  —Matthew 25:37-40

Photo: The Guatemalan Alliance to End Hunger works with the Ministry of Public Health to distribute a fortified drink mix to families at risk of malnutrition. (Alliance to End Hunger)

Quote of the Day: Proverbs 14:31

Alive_food_bank
He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

—Proverbs 14:31

Photo: A distribution at ALIVE! food bank in Alexandria, VA. (Photo: Rick Reinhard)

Can You Make It Through the Month?

 Spent. 8.24.12

(image courtesy Urban Ministries of Durham)

by Robin Stephenson

Simulating poverty does not give one the lived experience of poverty, but it can begin to expose the truth about choices—or lack thereof—that people working low-wage jobs face every day.

We are called to compassion—meaning to suffer together, but it can be hard to make a compassionate connection when paths don't cross. So when I’m invited to speak to church groups, I  emphasize personal stories, knowing that statistics don’t always engender compassion and solidarity.

A few years ago I gained greater compassion and  insight into the realities of poverty when I participated in an elaborate simulation. Even though it was imaginary, the activity made me stop and think about poverty as a time consuming and complicated condition.

Continue reading "Can You Make It Through the Month?" »

QOTD: Desmond Tutu

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(Photo courtesy Elke Wetzig/Wikipedia Commons)

When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, "Now is that political, or social?" He said, "I feed you." Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu

America's Foreign Aid Assistance ROI ...
Better than You Think

 David NTY 8.16.12

Haitians build a USAID-funded irrigation canal. A rice field is at right. From the Bread for the World Institute 2011 Hunger Report. (Photo courtesy USAID)

In a New York Times opinion piece yesterday, Rev. David Beckmann wrote about how our fate is tied to poor people around the world. He describes why Americans should care about U.S. foreign assistance and why it's a great return on investment. You can read the full story below.

Our Fate Is Linked to Helping Others

by Rev. David Beckmann

This is not the time to cut back on international development assistance. For every dollar our government spends, only less than one cent (0.6 cents) is spent on foreign aid. The return on our small foreign aid investment can be measured in the millions of people we are helping throughout the world, and in our country’s economic well-being and national security.

Continue reading "America's Foreign Aid Assistance ROI ...
Better than You Think" »

Welcoming the Political Stranger

Political stranger 8.16.12

Lloyd Schmeidler of Durham, NC, prays during the opening worship at Bread for the World's Lobby Day in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, June 12, 2012. (Photo by Rick Reinhard/Bread for the World)

by Amy Oden

Christians talk a lot about hospitality, about welcoming the stranger in our churches and communities. Yet, in our personal lives we continue to label, categorize, and dismiss the “political stranger"—people who express political views different from our own.

I challenge Christians during this election season to welcome the political stranger, people we often know well (co-workers, family members, neighbors) who seem like strangers to us—alien, confusing, unfathomable. We may wonder, “What kind of person would vote that way? How can they hold that position?” 

Continue reading "Welcoming the Political Stranger" »

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