Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fasting: So What if God Does Call us to be Political?

In a recent post, I mentioned that if our fasting is to be political, God will provide the means.

And there are times (as in the present) when God does move us, especially when we must speak about "collective sin."  You can't miss it.  It's all over the Old Testament and New Testament. Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.  This is not just an expression of good feeling or emotion.  Loosely translated it would say, "Place as much priority on making sure that the needs of your neighbor are met, just as you make every effort to take care of your own needs."  By doing so, we ensure the well-being of society as a whole.

Many members of the faith community responded to efforts in Congress to balancing the budget by taking the path of least resistance. Those efforts are contrary to the biblical concept of justice, and God gives us the gift of fasting to voice our concerns.  Here is what David Miner, a Bread for the World member in Indiana, said in a letter to the editor of a local newspaper:
There are ways to reduce the deficit without hurting people who are already hurting. This is an assault against the very people God instructs us to protect.

So I will not be eating, at all, this week. I am joining people of faith and conscience across the country in prayer and fasting, forming a circle of protection around programs that are important to poor and hungry people. Through our fast we invoke God’s assistance, to inspire us and our nation’s leaders to find ways to cut our deficits without adding to the challenges of those already hurting.
But it's not just this particular Bread for the World member. There are many other voices who have been called to prophecy via fasting and prayer:

Rev. Jim Wallis
"...budgets are moral documents -- they reveal our priorities, who and what is important, and who and what are not. To address excessive deficits is also a moral issue -- preventing our children and grandchildren from having crushing debt. But how you reduce a deficit is also a moral issue. We should reduce the deficit, but not at the expense of our poorest people."
A dozen faith leaders have joined Rev. Wallis, including Ritu Sharma of Women Thrive Worldwide.
"Seven in ten of the world's hungry are women, who are also responsible for ensuring that their families are fed. As someone who has tried to live on a dollar a day myself in some of the world's poorest areas, I have experienced a little of what they struggle with every day. It is essential for our lawmakers not to slash budgets that invest in the sustainability of global food supplies when food prices and hunger are both at all-time highs."
and  Rev. David Beckmann
"Does it bother us that millions of people across the globe stand to be impacted by these cuts? It should. The debate about the federal deficit is really a debate about our national priorities. It’s time we reshape those priorities, and my colleagues and I are inviting God to help us do it." 

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