December 5 - 11, 2005
Put on the pounds where they
Business was unusally brisk last Sunday afternoon at
the local YWCA where I work out a few times a week. An informal survey
revealed most of us were there for the same reason -- working off Thanksgiving
pounds and anticipating a little extra weight for Christmas and New Year's.
It points to the sad reality that in the world where tens of millions suffer
malnurishment and starvation, in America too much food is a big problem!
And yet, even in the United States those who run feeding kitchens and food
pantries say that demand is way up this winter and that their clientelle
continues to include more and more working families and seniors on fixed
"Emergency food programs are no longer just serving the homeless or the family
that is suddenly out of work," said Ellen Parker, executive director of
Project Bread in Boston (read
this article; others are in
"They are setting places for the working poor, for seniors, for teens, because
they or their families cannot manage the cost of living."
It's a shame that a growing number of people are hungry even in the richest
and most powerful country the world has ever known. The question is why? The
reasons are complex, but many advocates point to the skyrocketing cost of
housing, the jump in fuel prices and the general flatlining of wages for
average working families even as net income for the wealthiest continues to
Biblical stewardship starts with the assumption that God has provided adequate
resources to feed, clothe and house everybody -- a point with which modern
science concurs. So if people are hungry and cold and ill-housed, it is a
problem of distribution and stewardship that God commands people of faith to
Systemic problems demand systemic solutions, but those take hard work in the
areas of public policy and economics, plus focus, determination and time.
Meanwhile, people are hungry.
This Christmas do your best to find out about agencies and advocacy groups
that are working to help working families and retirees get a better deal. And
also, instead of putting on extra pounds of fat that you have to work off in
the gym after the holidays, put extra pounds of food in the baskets of food
pantries and soup kitchens in your community.
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
New This Week:
Congregations that face budget problems and cash-flow crunches frequently make
a fundamental mistake, says ELCA stewardship columnist Tuck Aaker. "Itís one
of those afflictions that happens to nearly every congregation every so often
and thereís only one way to overcome it!"
for Tuck's advice in "A misguided focus," from
and the Kingdom of God
"I don't have to be a good steward. And I don't have to tithe. I don't have
to take care of my neighbor. So now, what should I do today? I get bored
really fast if I don't do anything."
for The Rev. Dana Reardon's weekly stewardship column.
Stop Responding to the Past
We don't give to the
church because of what God has already given us, argues Hank Langknecht, but
rather because of our expectations of God's future. "What my heart says is
that my stuff is mine. I worked for it -- or my folks worked for it and I
inherited it. Regardless, it is mine.
Click here for "Let's Stop Responding to
the Past," a new addition to the
Lutheran Laity Movement Archives.
When the Holidays Hurt: 10 ways to cope with loss
many people, the holidays are a traditional time of happiness and festivity.
However, for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays are
a time of mixed emotions. There can be pleasure, but there is also much pain,
because the season magnifies the sense of loss." Great advice for individuals
or congregational leaders whose parishioners suffer the holiday blues.
Click here for "When the Holidays Hurt."
Today's Christian magazine.
Treasure Chest offering.
Joke of the Week!
Gleanings, a sampling of articles with stewardship implications
from the popular press.