An open letter to BCC
Because of the nature of this letter which will run in two parts there will be no news from Pigeon Falls today or tomorrow.
My Dear BBC,
You seem to have a real interest in the poor and hungry of the world. You have mentioned them now three times in your comments. I too have an interest in the poor and the hungry but I am not just talking about it I am doing what I can.
First of all I belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which last year raised 19.5 million dollars to help combat world hunger. It, of course, is not enough. But we did something. Thousands of people who would have starved didn’t and thousands of them will continue to be fed in years to come because of projects we started.
Chalk one up for the church BBC.
Let me tell you of some of the things we did. Some years ago I wanted to see for myself so I could tell the congregation where their money was going. So at my expense I flew to Latin America and visited three countries and six projects.
The first was in Nicaragua. There I visited a village way up in the mountains. Some years before people starved in that village. The church brought food but it did more than that . It drilled a deep well and got them water to grow crops. When I got there they had huge gardens providing food for their tables and something to sell. WE couldn’t save everybody. But we saved them. Chalk one up for the church.
Also in Nicaragua I visited a cooperative the church set up. It allows little farmers to get together to market their coffee and other goods . Prior to that they had no choice but to sell to the big companies who paid them very little and didn’t care if the children starved. Because of the cooperative the little communities thrived. One now has a clinic and another a school.
Chalk another one up for the church.
As an aside the congregation I served in Crystal Falls once they heard the story used only the coffee from the cooperative for our Sunday coffees.
Next I went to El Salvador and visited a United Nations refuge camp. There were so many refugees that there wasn’t enough food so Lutheran World Action sent in food . But it did more than that. It also built a school and provided materials for the students. It wanted the kids to have a possible brighter future. A nice old lady grabbed my arm and over and over thanked me for helping the children.
Chalk up another one for the church.
In El Salvador the Lutheran Church was also busy setting up cooperatives. The leader in that movement was the assistant to the Lutheran Bishop. For his effort on behalf of the poor the rich had him assassinated. I know that makes you happy since “ the only good Lutheran is a dead Lutheran” but he was killed because he tried to help the poor. .
Then I went to Honduras there we visited a village that was in such a remote location the only way to get to it was to ride in the back of a pick up down a dry river bed. This was a village that had a high child death rate because they had so little food. We gave them food and something more, a goat herd. Now they had milk for the children. They had goat hair that could be woven into clothing and things to sell. The goats produced fast enough so they also could be sold. The village would not have to go hungry again.
Chalk another one up for the church.
Before I left Honduras I met a Pentecostal Pastor who was feeding fifty barrio children every morning. That was the only meal some of them had for the day. He really needed to have the water pipe extended to his feeding place but had no money to do it. So when I got home my congregation raised money to extend the pipe and became part of feeding those kids.
Chalk up still one more for the church.
The sad truth is if you got your wish and the church vanished from the earth all those people would have starved.
But my national church does more than that. We have a lobby in Washington that fights for the rights and the needs of the poor. It is the voice of those who have no voice.
Get rid of religion and you get rid of that voice.
The congregation I belong to I joined because of their deep concern for the poor. It contributes to a food bank so that local people who need help can get it. As I ate my Christmas dinner which seemed to bother you I knew that hundreds of people who couldn’t afford it were sitting down to a ham feast with all the trimmings because of the food bank.
No church no Christmas dinner for those people.
Further the local congregations get together and every week sponsor what is called The Community Meal. Each church takes a turn at supplying the food and serving it. People who need help get to eat free.
And Betty and I give a portion of our income every month to world hunger. WE can’t do it all but we do what we can. I won’t demean you by asking what you do. I assume you do your share since you seem like a kind man.
Tomorrow a look at some faulty logic.