Friday, June 11, 2010

A faith-grounded constituency on behalf of the hungry

So this week my work has taken me to Lakeland, where the Florida United Methodist Church is gathering for it's annual conference. I have six story assignments - which is a lot in two days - and I've already met a bunch of interesting people.

Yesterday I covered the keynote, which was delivered by Bread for the World president
David Beckmann. Beckmann is a veritable encyclopedia of facts, stories, facts and more facts.

His emphasis is leveraging our citizenship to advance God's purposes. He said that the hungry need a faith-grounded constituency to work on their behalf.

I like the concept of "faith-grounded constituency." Beckmann pointed out that we experience our Christianity so much as individuals that we forget that "God is a God of nations and history and laws."

Our collective political will as people of faith can and should make a bigger difference in terms of policies that directly affect the "Widows and orphans" who have always - according to scripture, been our responsibility.

HOPE: Beckmann pointed out some startling statistics that demonstrate just how much progress has been made in the global fight against hunger and poverty. What we do is making a difference, he said. The key is to make sure we don't give up now, and that we apply the same intensity of effort to domestic challenges.

Charitable organizations do a great job, Beckmann pointed out, but all the food provided directly via charity amounts to only 6% of what the federal government achieves via nutrition programs. It is critical, he said, that we don't plunge millions back into crisis by cutting these important programs.

Well - got to head over for more listening and interviews and stories. It's going to be a long day, but a good one.

Blessings - DEREK

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