Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Bloggers Unite for Hunger and Hope April 29, 2009

I am writing to you this morning as a part of a worldwide effort to bring awareness to world hunger. Statistics show us that 15 millions children die every year, not of war, not of cancer, not even of AIDS, but of hunger. The simple and preventable lack of food. That equates to one every three seconds. This is something that must change. If we are to call ourselves the Body of Christ then we MUST act. There is no excuse. There is no reasoning that alleviates our responsibility to take action.

However, the problem will never be solved by throwing money around irresponsibly. With great amounts of money comes great power and inevitably great corruption. I don't see the problem of world hunger solved by sweeping global measures unless those measures begin at the local level and involve those persons in need in their own sustainability. That is great thing about Heifer International. Heifer International provides livestock; chickens, cows, sheep, goats to provide families and communities with milk, eggs, and wool. HI does not just throw the animals at the people and leave. They teach the people how to use these animals in a sustainable way. Then the offspring of the animal is given to a new family or a new community and the cycle beings again. You can give a flock of chicks, a heifer, a goat, or you can give a general gift that goes where it is most needed. Go to and see for yourself.

All that being said, hunger is not limited to far off places like Africa or South America. There are people, especially children, who are going hungry in our own communities. We are in a time of economic turmoil. Food banks and other community resources are strapped because of lack of donations, but the demand from these organizations are higher than ever. If you have food in the fridge, the pantry, and in your belly, congratulations we are the lucky ones. It also means that we a responsibility to those without. We are called to those without.

Matthew 25:34-40
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Church of Baseball aka The Church vs. Baseball

The weather is warming up, the flowers are blossoming, and the bugs are moving about that means that spring is in full bloom. It also means a new season of baseball both for the Big Leaguers and the little kids at the local park. Pulaski is a small town and one of the biggest things in this small town is little league baseball. I use the term little league to encompass a myriad of leagues with kids from 4 to 18. Little league baseball is king in this town. Every time the park is open, Saturdays, Monday nights, etc. the place is packed. Some teams practice seven days a week. These are little kids, I think even the MLB players get one day off every now and then. Now, before you think I am unbaseball and thereby unAmerican let me say that I love baseball from the pro teams (Go Red Sox!!), to the Minors, to the kiddies playing at the local park. There is a beauty and innocence to the game when it is played by children.

However, this innocence is soon lost when overzealous parents and coaches wear these kids down to the nub. Kids have no time to be kids because there is always some place to be, baseball, 4-H, Boy or Girl Scouts, drama, etc. They certainly do not have time for church. OOPS I guess I showed my hand on that one. I attended a workshop Monday night on how to bring more kids and teens into the church. While their methods were good I think they miss the reality of the situation. How can you share the love of Christ with kids if they do not come to church? When I was a youth director at my home church we were never able to schedule meetings, missions, fund-raisers, etc because of little league, 4-H, soccer, etc. It was frustrating beyond belief.

I think it is great when parents get involved, coaching the team, cheering from the stands. I think baseball is excellent for kids. It gets them outside, gives them exercise, and builds teamwork and leadership. However, the Church offers something greater than all of these things. I want to ask these parents, "When your kids are 18-24, in college and they are faced with the hard moral decisions, what will help them make good or the teachings of Jesus Christ?"

One of the leaders of the aforementioned workshop said that "it is great when kids bring their parents to church." I think that is sad. It is the parent's job to be parents to the child not vice versa. One of the most important things that a parent can do is build a foundation of faith for their kids. They have to want to go to church and then their kids will want go to church. If the kids do not want to go, then make them go. You are the parent. Once the kids get there it is up to us to make it worthwhile.