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 Post subject: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:40 pm 
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There was another thread started about gluttony and the waste of excess food. This got me to thinking. Hunger is an issue in many parts of our country, and yet I see churches (Catholic and otherwise) with large swaths of open grass surrounding what strike me as unnecessarily (to the point of pridefully) large houses of worship. Is it not a slothful sin of omission for us not to use that space to grow food to feed those of His children who are less fortunate? Yea, it can be difficult and time consuming, but we are called to be stewards of not just our world but of the people in it, and no one said it would be easy.

I am curious as to what others think.


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:38 am 
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You could, but there are easier ways of getting food for the poor. I would see that as something to do when there is a food shortage, but there is no food shortage in this country. Besides which many food pantries and such will not accept homegrown food.

As far as my own church goes, people bring in their extra garden produce and anyone can take some.

I would see the situation more in the perspective of wasting excess food. I see this all the time in my work. People will pick up meat and frozen goods, change their mind, and instead of putting it back where it belongs, they will leave it out on a shelf somewhere. When we find it, it now has to be thrown away. Drives me nuts. All they have to do is either walk it back to where they got it, or hand it to an employee.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:54 am 
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James the Apologist wrote:
There was another thread started about gluttony and the waste of excess food. This got me to thinking. Hunger is an issue in many parts of our country, and yet I see churches (Catholic and otherwise) with large swaths of open grass surrounding what strike me as unnecessarily (to the point of pridefully) large houses of worship. Is it not a slothful sin of omission for us not to use that space to grow food to feed those of His children who are less fortunate? Yea, it can be difficult and time consuming, but we are called to be stewards of not just our world but of the people in it, and no one said it would be easy.

I am curious as to what others think.

California alone grows more food than we can eat in this country. The US can feed the world with the sheer amount of food we already produce.

So I don't see the solution as growing more food per se. Distribution, ability to buy food, those are the problems

As far as the Churches themselves...well especially with beautiful Churches, who built them? The poor. Don't insult them by rejecting their gift to God.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:10 am 
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Men are both body and soul. Religion, therefore, cannot be for the soul only. A beautiful church edifies the the entire man and lifts his heart and mind to heaven.

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:33 am 
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The single biggest problem, in those parts of the world suffering from famine and related problems, is not a lack of food, the problem is a lack of infrastructure and corrupt governments which deliberately prevent the distribution of food to those who need it, temporary famines also frequently result from natural disasters such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, but those are, as I said, temporary, and relief agencies are usually good at addressing that.

I am reminded of the fact that the last two really big famines, in Ethiopia in the mid 80's and Somalia in the mid 90's, were both a result of the fact that the country was engaged in a civil war and one of the warring factions was preventing the distribution of food. So when Americans, attempting to be 'generous' sent millions of pounds of surplus food to the country to relieve the famine, the food was stopped at the port and left to rot. So the point is not simply that people were starving, but that they were deliberately BEING starved as an instrument of public policy.

There is also the fact that, all this 'surplus food' which American farmers send overseas actually does more harm than good, because when food is distributed free, it prevents those countries from developing their own agriculture and building their own infrastructure which could provide a long term solution to the problem.


Yeah, the actual causes of famine are very complex and difficult, and solving them is a major project for the long term, simple minded, utopian solutions like 'let's grow more food' not only don't fix the problems, they usually make them worse.


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 10:02 am 
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It's a nice thought, and I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but there are numerous logical errors with your premise.

The purpose of the Church is for its members to attain perfection and give worship and glory to God. It is not the church of feeding the poor(though it is part of our calling to help our fellow man). If it was then it might make sense to sell off all the Church's possessions and feed the poor for a day. As it is, those possessions are of far more value as an aid to worship, gifts to God, and in bringing the members of the Church to a higher level spiritually. This criticism was also leveled towards Mother Theresa because her order would leave the poor that they were tending several times a day to go to prayer. Is that wrong to do? Should they never stop tending the poor and forgo all worship and prayer to focus entirely on ministering to the poor's basic needs? Absolutely not.

There are also the problems that doom mentioned. In giving to the poor(here in America that is, can't send squash and tomatoes from your garden to Africa very easy) are you really helping them? I don't think so. Especially if you are giving them money. What you are doing is enabling them and not trying to really help them. You may feel better about it, but you haven't helped them any. Their need is not really just a meal. Also, most of what you would be doing would be to merely help reduce people's food bill, not saving them from starving to death. There is no call in plowing up the church yard to put in a garden.

Further, I am reminded of the passage that says to let a man work if he is to eat. Have these people planted food in their own yards? If they are homeless have they planted in such places as are available to them(which are numerous, btw)?

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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:50 pm 
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Doom wrote:
The single biggest problem, in those parts of the world suffering from famine and related problems, is not a lack of food, the problem is a lack of infrastructure and corrupt governments which deliberately prevent the distribution of food to those who need it, temporary famines also frequently result from natural disasters such as the 2010 Haiti earthquake, but those are, as I said, temporary, and relief agencies are usually good at addressing that.

I am reminded of the fact that the last two really big famines, in Ethiopia in the mid 80's and Somalia in the mid 90's, were both a result of the fact that the country was engaged in a civil war and one of the warring factions was preventing the distribution of food. So when Americans, attempting to be 'generous' sent millions of pounds of surplus food to the country to relieve the famine, the food was stopped at the port and left to rot. So the point is not simply that people were starving, but that they were deliberately BEING starved as an instrument of public policy.

There is also the fact that, all this 'surplus food' which American farmers send overseas actually does more harm than good, because when food is distributed free, it prevents those countries from developing their own agriculture and building their own infrastructure which could provide a long term solution to the problem.


Yeah, the actual causes of famine are very complex and difficult, and solving them is a major project for the long term, simple minded, utopian solutions like 'let's grow more food' not only don't fix the problems, they usually make them worse.



I agree with Doom. The problem is not the lack of food. It is the lack of charity in the hearts of men.

As a side note, I find it continually laughable that the liberals I engage on other websites constantly claim that the world would be better off if it were not for "evil religion." Yet, as Doom has pointed out, it is mostly the Christians in the United States which sends food whenever there is a famine, and it is the tinpot dictator pagan types who use food as a weapon against their enemies -- or those whom they percieve as enemies.


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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 4:39 pm 
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Without regard to infrastructure and agricultural surplus, I am unmoved by clarion calls to feed the poor combined with pointing out what needs to be changed to do so. It is very simple. Feed the poor. Take food to a place that feeds the poor. Or contribute money to an organization that does.

I have no moral or emotional response to the argument by a third party that I must change my ways or that a group that I am a member of must similarly change to appropriately feed the poor. If you want to feed the poor, then do it.

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At least I’ve always found it so.
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 Post subject: Re: Concerning feeding the poor
PostPosted: Sun Jan 15, 2012 5:39 pm 
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Highlander wrote:
Without regard to infrastructure and agricultural surplus, I am unmoved by clarion calls to feed the poor combined with pointing out what needs to be changed to do so. It is very simple. Feed the poor. Take food to a place that feeds the poor. Or contribute money to an organization that does.

I have no moral or emotional response to the argument by a third party that I must change my ways or that a group that I am a member of must similarly change to appropriately feed the poor. If you want to feed the poor, then do it.

The hungry are in short supply these days. We have a famine of hungry people.

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- Justice Scalia, dissent, King v. Burwell.


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