Feast and Famine

As I write this, I’m surrounded by a group of teenagers participating in the 30 Hour Famine.  30 Hour Famine, in case you’re unfamiliar with it, is a program sponsored by World Vision for youth groups around the world to raise money and awareness about hunger in the Third World.  In it, the kids fast for 30 hours (and it’s a hard fast, clear liquids only), engage in activities to educate them to the crushing poverty experienced outside the privileged enclaves of the West and few other spots.  It’s been very informative, so far.  We’ve gotten tidbits like 13,000 children die everyday from hunger-related causes or every 7 seconds a child dies from starvation.  Tough, huh?

We watched a video earlier shot in Swaziland on the African continent, which in the grip of a ten year drought.  These people were so desperate for water, they were digging about 6 feet down into the bed of a dried up reserOne death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.voir.  They were carrying home buckets and jugs of water we wouldn’t we let our dog drink and were thrilled to get it, while we turn a tap and have fresh, clean water on demand and in abundance.  And, ten-year drought.  Ten years, my God.  A few years back, we experienced drought conditions here in the Southeastern U.S. and people were freaking out.  But, were they freaking out because there may not be enough drinking water?  No, they were losing their minds because the city instituted water restrictions and they couldn’t wash their cars or water their lawn.  Sometimes, I’m amazed at our affluence has turned us into.  Wasteful, ungrateful and selfish children it seems sometimes.

Around midnight, we had a short worship service.  Sean, my friend and the youth leader, was reading from a book called “The Hole In Our Gospel” by Richard Stearns.  In it, Stearns talks about the media’s reaction to the crash of an airliner and then asks what would happen in 100 planes crashed in one day.  And, then another 100 crashed the day after that, and the day after that, and the day…, well you get the picture.  The uproar would be tremendous.  Flights would be grounded and investigations started so we could get to the bottom of things.  Then, he points that enough people die everyday to fill 100 airliners.  Everyday, day after day.  And, what happens?  Not much, really.  People give lip service and that’s about it.  Why is it like that?  Part of it, I think, is one of scale.  As Stalin said, “One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” 

So, what’s the answer?  I don’t know about the big picture, but I’m pretty sure as Christians we’re not supposed to worry about that.  What we are supposed to do is get involved on whatever level we can.  Whether it be your own 30 Hour Famine, getting involved in(or starting ) a ministry or other type organization helping those who can’t help themselves, contributing money to help out, or protesting for 3rd World debt relief, you need to do something.  Speaking of doing something, I’ll write more tomorrow when I have more to tell and I’m a little less punch drunk.