Monday, September 23, 2013

There's no need to SNAP . . . just feed my sheep

.  As usual, I will give a disclaimer here.  This is written from the point of view of a follower of Jesus Christ.  Atheists, agnostics, and believers of other faiths are welcome to read and chime in if you want.

Sometimes I get all het up

Take for instance the present law proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives to cut funding for the SNAP., the federal program which provides food assistance for low income Americans. My friend R. G. Wilson-Lyons, United Methodist pastor of Church Without Walls in Birmingham's West End area,  wrote a well reasoned, brief and compelling post on the topic..  I would rather you read it than the rest of this, so, click here if you want to go straight for the good stuff..

The long and short of it, if the cuts proposed become law, is that millions of Americans will not get the food assistance that they need.  R. G. included relevant information about who the program really serves.

But I have had an epiphany.  It is all going to work out. God is good.

Here's how it works.

The funding is cut.  But, being the followers of Jesus that many of us claim to be, we will be true to Jesus' mandate.  No longer will the money we have be sent to Caesar to distribute to our hungry brothers and sisters to purchase food.  Like Jesus commanded, we will give it directly to them.

We have no choice.

Unless we are not really following Jesus.  He was all about feeding folks.  And not just the poor in spirit. If we stand with Jesus, we will be standing behind the serving counter, we will be gleaning the fields, we will be bringing home the groceries and giving them away,  we will be donning the hair nets. We will serve up the food. That is not in question. If we are followers of Jesus.

But don't worry,  here is how it works out for everybody.

Knowing that one of the primary commands of Jesus' is to feed people, then surely all of our churches already give at least a paltry twenty five percent of the budget to feeding the hungry, right?   So, twenty five percent of what each of us give to our church goes to feed the hungry.  If our annual income is fifty thousand dollars, then our tithe is a minimum five thousand, right?  So, the amount of our tithe that goes to the hungry is at least $1250.00 each year.

Here's the beautiful part.  Each of us is going to have to increase our giving to the hungry by a multiple of 23 times. Not 23 percent.  Multiply what you give the hungry by 23 times.  So, if you make $50,000.00 each year, in order to feed those who are fed by the government, you will have to increase your giving by somewhere around $27,000.00.

And you can deduct that on your income tax.


Lower taxes for everyone.  Hurray. Isn't that what's this all about?

And after we give that much away,  a lot more of us will be eligible for SNAP.

But of course, that won't exist anymore.

But that's okay, cause people like us will be glad to take care of people like us in hard times, right?

"But Bob," you may be saying. "Your figures are wrong.  There's no way that twenty five percent of my church's budget goes to feeding the poor."

Yep. Doesn't it feel good to be right?

The truth is, the Body of Christ could, and ideally should put SNAP out of business. It has always been that way.  But we haven't.  And there is no sign that we will. In the meantime the elderly, disabled, out of work, and children would be hungry, except for the government programs.

It is not the government that is failing Jesus, and the least among us whom he seemed to care for the most.

It is us.


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