The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Hungry for a new way to feed the world

Long retired from political careers on opposite sides of the aisle in the U.S. Senate, George McGovern and Bob Dole recently joined forces to write a book about hunger It's a matter that drew the Democrat and Republican to co-sponsor legislation during previous decades that resulted in programs like food stamps, WIC (Women, Infants and Children—supplemental food assistance) and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Plan.

The book is Ending Hunger Now: A Challenge to Persons of Faith (Fortress Press, 2005; $12). Donald E. Messer, Iliff School of Theology, Denver, is the third author of this book, for which former President Bill Clinton wrote the introduction.

Here are excerpts from two chapters:

“Ending World Hunger: A Battle We Can Win”—George McGovern

“After world leaders at the 2005 Group of Eight summit promised to double aid to Africa to $50 billion, the popular rock star Bono, front man of the band U2, noted the decision could save hundreds of thousands of lives from hunger, poverty, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Bono warned, however, that ‘it’s not the end; it’s the beginning of the end. A mountain has been climbed here only to reveal higher peaks behind it.’ This reminds me of wartime words uttered by Winston Churchill in 1943, when he declared, ‘Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.’

“Climbing these political and humanitarian peaks to conquer poverty and hunger will require persistence and sustaining a political will. Now that I am eighty-three years old, I do not expect to see the end of world hunger—unless the good Lord extends my years beyond one hundred. But, as I noted in my book, The Third Freedom: Ending Hunger in Our Time, I do intend to complain loudly to St. Peter if I am called above (or raise the devil, if I’m called below) before we end hunger in America. I also expect to see us reach well past ‘the end of the beginning’ of our victory over world hunger. If we can now reach other planets thanks to the scientific genius of our space architects, there is no acceptable reason why this planet should still have millions of hungry and starving men, women, and children by the year 2030. Wherever I am in the world beyond, if such there be, when my fellow humans are finally emancipated from hunger, I’m going to lead a chorus of celebration: Hallelujah! Hallelujah! ...

“There comes to mind a verse from the Hebrew Scriptures, by the ancient scribe Ecclesiastes: ‘For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (3:1). I believe this is the season when all God’s children the world over should launch a triumphant campaign to banish hunger from the earth. Can there be any higher ‘matter under heaven’?” (pages 32-33, 48).

“A Commitment to Ending Global Hunger”—Bob Dole

“Ending hunger, domestically and internationally, requires personal and political will. Individuals, churches, and other faith-based groups, through study, research, conferences, and direct service to the hungry contribute immensely to this effort. ...

“The Food Research and Action Center (www.frac.org) is a leading national organization working to improve public policies to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in the United States. A public interest law firm, FRAC is both nonprofit and nonpartisan. Throughout the years that I have worked with FRAC, I have found the organization a reliable source of timely information and research. More importantly, FRAC believes that everyone, whether Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, has a role to play in ending hunger and malnutrition in this country. ...

“Make no mistake. You can make a difference—each and every one of you. Even on great moral issues like ending hunger, there must be a political and social will that moves the leaders of both political parties to devote their time, energy, and political capital to such an endeavor. Like any important national issue, we must be able to explain why our campaign to end hunger should be a national priority. ...

“There is, of course, a federal budget deficit. How the federal government spends its money is a political process. It is a process that demands your attention. ... I have visited President Bush and congressional leaders of both parties, asking them to renew our nation’s commitment to ending hunger. Even in times of war and concern about the federal deficit, progress against hunger is feasible.

“We can accomplish the goal of ending hunger. We can elevate this issue in the national consciousness” (pages 59-60).

This week's front page features:

Starting overThe February issue of The Lutheran is now on-line.

Starting over: ‘I can’t complain,’ says evacuee helped by Lutheran Disaster Response. (Photo at right.)

A place to be themselves: Sunday school focuses on children with special needs.

The call of discipleship: For Bonhoeffer, it meant following Jesus—wherever he leads.

God, through a child’s eyes: I’m in awe of children’s ability to see God from a different angle.

Also: Church leaders seek funding for poor countries

Also: Bush signs Simon water act.

Also: One year after the tsunami.

Read these articles at our front page > > >

Announcing The Lutheran's breaking news page:

Make The Lutheran’s news blog your daily destination for breaking news reported by the magazine’s staff and Lutheran news briefs sighted elsewhere in the media.

Bookmark www.thelutheran.org/news to keep track of the latest Lutheran news.

Recent coverage has included news about twins abandoned at a Chicago congregation, ELCA scholars' reactions to the Pennsylvania intelligent design ruling and the top 10 religion stories of 2005.

Members of www.thelutheran.org are encouraged to leave comments about the articles. (Not a member? Print subscribers can activate their free membership at  www.thelutheran.org/global/wizard.cfm, all others can choose from one of our many membership options.)

Visit our breaking news page > > >

Your opinion counts, part 1

The results of our fall topics survey are in! If you participated in our September survey online or by mail, now's the time to see what your fellow respondents had to say.

The staff of The Lutheran is using these survey results to develop significant coverage for 2006. So even if you didn't take the story, a peek at the results will give you a heads-up about what's coming up in The Lutheran.

See the topics survey results > > >

Your opinion counts, part 2

Our new survey gives you the opportunity to tell us about the fundraising events that your congregation has found most successful.

We'll tabulate the results and share them with readers of The Lutheran, so those congregations facing financial difficulties or that want to fund a special project may benefit from your experience.

As a thank-you, nonsubscribers to The Lutheran can preview three free issues of our print edition.

The deadine for completing the survey is Feb. 3.

Take the survey > > >

laptopIs your congregation's Web site one of the ELCA's best?

It’s been a decade since The Lutheran launched its Web edition. Back then a Web contest for congregations was a regular feature of our site (staff still receive an occasional entry). In honor of our 10th anniversary, we’re looking for the 10 best ELCA congregational Web sites.

We’ll feature the winning congregations in a future issue, and they’ll receive an award graphic to display on their site. They’ll also receive a year of Web Premium membership to www.thelutheran.org for use by clergy, staff and lay leaders.

To enter, send your congregation’s name, city, state, Web address, a 50-word description of what makes your site unique and the Web editor’s contact information by e-mail to Amber Leberman or to Amber Leberman, The Lutheran, 8765 W. Higgins Rd., Chicago IL 60631.

Entries are due Feb. 28 and will be judged by the magazine’s staff.

Respond on-line > > >

Much more on-line …

This edition of the e-newsletter is getting long, but there's much more at our site.

• Ethan Felson and Fred Opalinski are wrapping up a conversation about Lutheran-Episcopal ecumenism in our discussion forums.

• Kathleen Kastilahn, Andrea Pohlmann and Amber Leberman share some reflections in our blog.

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