Observing Lent – Week Two
This is the second entry in a series of posts that I started on the first of March, in conjunction with Lenten Synchroblog that Christine Sine is hosting at Godspace. Christine wrote a Lenten Guide entitled A Journey Into Wholeness. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, go to the site now and download it. It’s still not too late to practice lent with us. Here is the basic outline of the guide:
Week One: Journey into the Brokennes of Our Inner Selves
Week Two: Journey into the Brokenness of Hunger
Week Three: Journey into the Brokenness of Homelessness
Week Four: Journey into the Brokenness of Creation
Week Five: Journey into the Brokenness of God’s Family
Holy Week: Journey from Palm Sunday to the Cross
I’m a bit late in posting by second week thoughts, but I still wanted to post them, because since October of 2004, God has freshly awakened me to the issue of Hunger in relationship to Poverty.
JOURNEY INTO THE BROKENNESS OF HUNGER
My personal journey of looking at the brokenness of hunger started when we were doing a series on the seven deadly sins and the week that I was speaking on gluttony, God put me face to face with a bishop whose people were only eating one meal every three days.
The tension that caught me early on is how we in the West we have dozens of best sellers on how to take to pounds off, while in the two thirds world, most people are just trying to survive. To accentuate this tension, I was reading articles from the BBC on the need to start obesity tests for 4 to 10 year olds in Europe, and BIGGER problems that we face in the US, with a dramatic increase of obesity, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. When I think about what is happening in the West and about the 30,000 young people who die of hunger or preventable diseases every day, the problem is obvious. I find it extremely difficult to live with this knowledge, and find that people either tend to be apathetic to this reality, or take faith filled steps in a positive direction.
There are three faith steps that I am doing and encourage others to do about this injustice and disparity between the rich and poor. First, I am trying to live a more simple life, so that others may simply live. I probably need to change those words, because I actually think that trying to live more simply is a set up for failure. I know this from personal experience. I think training to live more simply is a better way to put it. In other words, if I engage in spiritual disciplines that help train me to be a different person, then I can begin to live a more simple life. Here is a great book on the topic. I write about this kind of training in a series I have done on Developing a Rhythm of Life. Of course I am familiar with failure at training as well, which is why I recommend being involved with a communal rhythm of life.
The second faith step that I have taken is helping to start the Solis Foundation, and get others involved. I am co-founder of this foundation and currently the acting director. The Solis Foundation is a faith-based foundation that works with and through communities of faith in the west with churches in the two-thirds world with the desire to equip and empower new generations of entrepreneurs partly through giving micro-grants to help start small businesses. We are a young group that has had a rough start, but we are learning through our failures making progress. I think that micro-grants and micro-loans through the local church are two of the more promising ways to helping our brothers in sisters who live in financial poverty, for they are sustainble ways of dealing with this problem of hunger and help to face the problem of dependency.
The third faith step that I have taken is to start The Unembraced and encourage others in our faith community to participate. The Unembraced is a church based orphanage where faith communities in the West partner with faith communities in Lodwar, Kenya to help subsidize qualified families to take in orphans. By placing the orphans with families, not only are they able to get their basic needs met, but the get the opportunity to experience family and parental love.
If you want to learn more about these communities, please check out the links to the websites and feel free to leave me a message and I would love to share more about these ministries.