Wednesday, August 10, 2005

thoughts on World Hunger

What is it about today that is totally catching my attention about world hunger?

Is it the pictures on about the famine in Niger? Is it the fact that it was just a headline on msn about 4 hours ago and now it's gone, while the headilne "20 Essentials for Back to School" has been there all day as if it's the most important thing in the world? Right there along with, of course, "The Allure of the Bad Boy Biker"

Is it the fact that a majority of our lunch conversation with a prospective student and her mom today had to do with corrupt politicians and the need for ACTION rather than just AWARENESS in other countries?

Is it the fact that I just read the comments on Joolz's blog and someone posted something about and my above concern for ACTION beyond AWARENESS?

I spent a few minutes today just looking at some websites for places like UNICEF and Compassion and Save the Children to see what each is about. I'm frustrated, because I want to help, but it's hard to know which place to go through. How can I make the most amount of big-picture difference in someone's life? in an entire country? with the little money I have to offer?

And then I look at American culture and how much we selfishly consume. I eat food like it's going out of style. I have two walk-in closets of my own that are full of clothes, half of which I don't even wear. I can't even begin to count the number of shoes I own.I have food in my refrigerator and cupboards that goes to waste b/c I don't eat it in time. I pay for cable, which I could easily live without. I have an awesome apartment that is probably above and beyond what most people live in. Others in our culture live in enormous homes that they can't even take care of without hired help. They drive cars that cost more money than I'll ever see in a matter of a year, or even 5 years probably for that matter. They throw money down the drain for even a tank of gas for their unnecessary Hummer H2 or the next level of some high-tech gadget that they "need." And we call ourselves "blessed?"

I don't think blessed is it. It's not that God chose to "bless" us w/ material possessions and chose not to bless those people. We have just become a selfish nation. We ignore the idea of wealth distribution...or, actually, we just distribute it quite unevenly. I'm not saying sell everything you own and send the money to Ethiopia...although, maybe that's not a bad idea. I John 3:17 is ringing pretty loudly in my ears right now: "If any one of you has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in you?"

I'm frustrated right now. I'm struggling to figure this out. But it's a good struggle. And what will I do? I have no idea. Probably write this and then tomorrow think nothing of it, as I've done in the past and as many of us do every day. It's so much easier to raise awareness and become aware ourselves and then choose to do nothing and go about our comfortable lives. I don't want to be careless. I don't want to be selfish. But how can we help?

Read Matthew 19:13-30 if you get a chance. It's another scripture ringing in my ears right now. Struggle with this. Wrestle with it.

Let's figure out something.


A boy named Toadie said...

I originally saw the story about the people in Niger 2 weeks ago on the nightly news. I just sat in my living room and cried. There are so many factors to consider in how to help people in need and so many different ways of looking at this very difficult issue. Should we be advocates in the political realm? Should we embrass poverty like Francis of Assissi? Should we preach against consumerism? I don't know. I do know that we should be thankful for the gifts that God gives us and use them to be as generous as possible. John Wesley once said, "Earn as much as you can, save as much as you can and give away as much as you can."

Lindsay and I have found Compassion Int'l and Samaritan's Purse to be two organizations that really help people in need.

joolz said...

Honey, all I can say is that I feel you, and sometimes I'm appalled by how much stuff I have. I try to change it in my head at least to just feeling grateful and thankful but sometimes it is really difficult.

This is a beautiful post, Mandy. I love your heart. Everyone could use just an inch of the compassion you have every day.

Mandy said...

Toadie, I sense you and Lindsay are in this struggle with me, but it's probably a little more real to you since ya'll just went to Africa. I know your heart and Lindsay's heart for people, and I'm thankful that God uses that in both of you in lots of ways.

Thanks for your words. I love your heart as well. Thanks for reminding me to just be thankful.
oh--and sorry about provoking that way long comment from "anonymous" on your blog...i wasn't planning to start a debate there!

jamie said...

This bit

I don't think blessed is it. It's not that God chose to "bless" us w/ material possessions and chose not to bless those people. We have just become a selfish nation. We ignore the idea of wealth distribution...or, actually, we just distribute it quite unevenly.

is what got me. I couldn't agree more and I, too, share in your struggle. I barely know what to do with the homeless I have to step over every DAY in my neighborhood let alone the world's hungry and homeless.

And then I tend to overthink and think, "Hunger is a huge issue. But so are AIDS or child abuse and, and, and. How can I pick just one cause?"

I'd love to hear anyone's thoughts on that subject.

Good post, mandy. Wish we lived in closer proximity.

joolz said...

Oh, there is nothing to apologize for there, Mandy. That guy comments no matter what. You could have written about peanut butter and he probably would have written the same thing.

Adam said...

One thing that haunts me is when Jesus says something like because little has been given to you I expect little. If you have been trusted with much I expect much.

Also if we are dead to the things the world... do we go after (money, fame, posessions) What really matters in life? How am I personally making that exist?

It is enough to drive you crazy.