Winning Words 9/23/11
“To not give what you are capable of giving to the poor is tantamount to taking something from them.” (The Christian Century) At church last Sunday the Prayer of Confession had these words: “God, we confess that we have not reached out to the poor and the hungry. Forgive us.” Yesterday’s local headline: “Number of poor surging even in wealthy cities.” Question: “How shall we react?” ;-) Jack
FROM PRJS IN MICHIGAN: I'm with A.D Mattson on this one. The only body large enough to make any real effect is the federal gov't. They have to act. And right now it has been their policy for the past thirty years to act in such a way as to create more poor. The poverty level was way down int he 60s. The "Reagan Revolution" has increased poverty dramatically in our country. We have to act not only thru lSSM, etc. but at the voting booth. ////FROM JACK: I read this week that a poll reports that the majority of Americans are opposed to government spending to help the poor. What hope is there for the poor poor?////FOLLOW UP BY JS: We need to let people know that LSSM and agencies like that get 99% of their budgets from the fed. govt. I do some work for LSSM and try to make that known wherever I go....folks think that that money is all donated by us. LSSM's budget would be one million and not eighty million if it weren't for the fed govt....andwhen it gets to agencies like LSSM, it is spent wisely. Sure govt is inherently wasteful but if it lets charities, etc. do the spending, we get a lot done. That message has to get out there.////FROM JACK: The message is lost without the messenger. Thanks for being an "angel."
FROM RI IN BOSTON: Now is the opportunity for Christians to show they truly are Christian. Those of us who have been blessed with having more than we need should be sharing with those poor and hungry, either directly to the homeless on the streets or through charitable agencies. Is God testing our commitment to our faith...are we responding to Christ's example? God forgive me for not doing enough.////FROM JACK: I agree with what you write, but I see it as being wider than a "Christian opportunity." It is a problem and an opportunity for all of humanity. What is it to be human, if we do not care for one another in problem situations?////MORE RI: I wouldn't reject anyone's contribution to help...forget any "labels" about who they are...but I note Christians specifically because we confess our faith in Christ and proclaim our discipleship and should be (as the saying goes) putting our money where our mouth is.////FROM JACK: And, I agree.
FROM LP IN MICHIGAN: I used to give a percentage of our weekly food expenditure back to our church food pantry in the form of non-perishables. Perhaps it is time to take up the habit again.////FROM JACK: Sharing with those in need is always a good idea...for us and for them.
FROM RJP IN FLORIDA: This is a good winning word phrase.......... think I'll send it to VP Joe Biden to see if we can get his personal contributions up from one tenth of one per cent to a whole 1%. He has to be the king of de-tithing.////FROM JACK: I'm nore concerned about what I am personally doing to help the poor. It's not enough.
FROM BLAZING OAKS: Just last Sunday I challenged my S.S. class to give MORE than they think they are able, for our homeless ministry. Had a GOOD response.SELL something and give to the poor, (I did) DO WITHOUT something and give to the poor, etc. We have to be reminded that although most of us are on limited incomes now, there is still much we can share, and creative ways to do it. We used to have 50-60 for our homeless meals, now we are having 140-155! Poverty is more prevalent! Good WW! As Mother Teresa has said, "We may feel like what we do is only a drop in the Ocean, but the Ocean would be less, without that drop!"////FROM JACK: The Widow's Mite...The Mustard Seed...These are old stories that continue to have meaning in today's world. Not only do many of the poor ache from going hungry, but they also ache from being used as a political football.
FROM SA IN VEGAS: I guess it's time to turn off the TV, get off the couch, and pitch-in. People need help. The amazing thing is just how little it takes to pick up their spirit. A small amount of attention goes a long way with people that are discouraged. BTW: I hear that new baseball movie with Brad Pitt received good reviews. There's hope!////FROM JACK: Moneyball is a movie that I'd like to see. Some politicians (not all) are more concerned with "moneyball" that with people in real need.
FROM OUTHOUSE JUDY: These are scary times. We don't want to be like the parable of the king who kept building store houses because he had so much but that night he would lose his life and all the goods and warehouses would mean nothing. But we don't know what we will need to take care of ourselves in the future. Before, we wrote check after check in donations. Now we are more careful and try to donate as much as we can.////FROM JACK: I like what's being done at your church....Members bring in items for the Food Pantry and the needy come to take the food home....The Blessed Meals program is another good project. There are some good things being done out there in the world to help the poor.
FROM PLAIN FOLKS CHESTER: Newt Gingrich has the right idea (although not original with him)... Teach them to fish.////FROM JACK: Words must be followed by action.
FROM BBC IN ILLINOIS: Amen! And, do we give out of our excess or out of our need….Let’s start with closing those tax loopholes. All of them? Flat tax on everyone? Jon Stewart did a great bit last month about the Dems/Reps tax plans. My vague recollection of his long joke sequence is that we have a choice: either tax “that 50% of Americans that freeload and pay no taxes at all” (who incidentally are below the poverty level and earn less than $38k annually to support a family of 4) or make the top two percent pay their 38% top tax bracket share. Boy that’s a moral dilemma.////FROM JACK: I like Jon Stewart, too, but Mark Twain said, "I never trust someone who makes money with his mouth." (Does that include preachers?) What we need during these "hard times" is some active empathy. Attributed to Senator Russell Long, but really from colonial times: "Don't tax me and don't tax thee. Tax that man behind the tree."
FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: We should react by getting rid of the present administration who wastes our tax dollars on ineffective stimuli, lavish vacations and $16 muffins. We're all poorer than we were 3 years ago! When people have jobs, they are no longer poor...////FROM JACK: After last Sunday's confessional prayer, I felt a personal need to help the poor. I know that, behind the statistics and rhetoric, the poor are real people.
FROM DFL IN OREGON: Thanks for the challenging question. My answer - Christ's Spirit says to me, Not Enough. Your faithfulness in sending Winning Words is important every day for me. Thanks.////FROM JACK: If you read today's blog, you can see that there are varieties of opinions. Even as I sent out Winning Words, I had an idea of what to expect. I am comforted to know that most people really care. The frustration comes from not knowing how to solve such a big problem. Now, if we each were to do something.... Me in Michigan and you in Oregon and....MORE DFL: Bread for the World is one of my favorite organizations. One of my friends from our Parish in Torrence, introduced me to it's program and I've been a member since. Each year, as perhaps you already know, we call on our Representatives and Senators to present the needs of poor and hungry people both in our country and globally. It was my privilege to be a part of a team of visitors to Wash D.C. to help with these visits three years ago. Monthly we are informed by the Wash. office about legislative bills and encouraged to write or call our Rep. and Senators to emphasize our concern. Our local and church wide appeals are also on our minds and acted upon. Thanks for your great concern, Jack. The needs both here and worldly are really staggering.
FROM PH IN MINNESOTA: how about telling all those excessively greedy bankers, brokers, and politicians to *** * **** *** **** themselves!! losing our middle class is a very serious matter.////FROM JACK: There has to be a more positive way. WWJD?////PH AGAIN: i think he would have a word or two about oppressing the poor, causing people to lose their homes and their jobs, etc. etc.
FROM MOLINER JT: On 10/2 I'm walking (With the help of my walker) in the QC Walk for the Hungry. As of today I've raised 1100.00 in pledges. My legs are weak but my heart is in this one.////FROM JACK: Now yours is the kind of helping reaction that I was hoping for. Great!
FROM SH IN MICHIGAN: Actually, the challenge is to give a fair price for the poor laborer's labor. I'm sick and tired of shopping for sales and knowing people all over the world are actually forced into slave labor because of this kind of mentality our consumer society seems to foster. Poor people need jobs, poor people need justice and the same economic dysfunction seems now to be festering in our own country just like it does in third world countries though our poor still manage to look differently poor than the others, it might only be a matter of time until it looks the same the way things are going. I hope the people of the world will be as charitable and caring of us as we have been of them.////FROM JACK: The upside of globalization is that many of the poor have jobs. The downside is that our penchant for cheaper stuff sends more jobs to other parts of the world. I have a hard time understanding economics.
FROM ILLINOIS LIZ: NJ Church Gives Away $30,000 in "Reverse Collection" Baskets. This was one collection basket parishioners couldn't pass up. Liquid Church of New Jersey allowed parishioners at its Sunday services to forgo donating and instead take money out of the collection basket. Church leaders gave away $30,000 cash in unmarked envelopes containing either a $10, $20 or $50 bill. Lead pastor Tim Lucas says the "reverse offering" is meant to teach churchgoers that faith in God — not government — is the only route to recovery in the current financial crisis. The Christian-based church has about 2,000 members and branches in Morristown, Nutley, and New Brunswick. Church officials plan to donate an additional $60,000 to various projects, including helping communities with flood recovery, in each of the three northern Jersey counties they serve.////FROM JACK: Liquid Church is an interesting name for a church. I note that there is a book describing this movement as an alternative to the traditional church...doing and saying things that the "solid" historical Church would not say or do. Hence, giving away money, instead of receiving money. The "services" are more entertainment oriented, with much audio-visual. I started to watch a "sermon," but I noted that it was 40+ minutes long. I got the drift in the first 5 minutes. Thanks for calling my attention to something new.