Growing up as kids, payday Friday was Little Caesar’s pizza night. All you can eat, at least until the pie was gone and that came quick. With five kids (three of them teenage boys) the pizza didn’t last long. Those doughy, butter bathed bread sticks always filled me up even when the pizza was gone. I love buttered warm bread to this day!
We didn’t starve as kids. We had food. But we needed help. My mom was a single parent raising five children and working as a public school teacher. Do the math and you soon realize that there was not enough in her paychecks to make ends meet. That’s what made payday such a big deal. For that one day, we had enough. At least, like the pizza, until the money ran out.
We were poor. We needed help. We all (mom plus the five kids) had jobs (newspaper carrier, babysitting, busboy) and we were still poor. We were not lazy. We worked hard and we were poor. We were educated (my mom worked on her master’s, we were in advance placement and gifted classes) and we were still poor. Part of the reason we were poor was because one parent (my dad) lost his ability to earn an income because of his serious and chronic untreated mental illness.
How is it that people can be poor when they have jobs, work hard, and live smart? Most Americans are one chronic illness or accident away from poverty. Somehow this is America.
Today I am a pastor who no longer depends on food stamps and free lunch at school. I no longer worry if there is enough food for my family. I got lucky. I have a church that pays me justly and helps me to take care of my family so we don’t have to go hungry or live from paycheck to paycheck.
I want for our country more than just good luck. I want justice for all. I want justice for all the people who work hard, study hard and sacrifice hard so that their families can survive. I want all children to have enough food to eat so they can flourish.
In protest of the greed that creates an imbalance of resources, where the rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer, I will join with others in Indiana for a Protest Fast.
As a pastor, my 72 hour fast will be spent in prayer and in protest of our sinfulness and selfishness that denies hungry children the nutrition they need. When we spend more money on bombs than bread, then there is a big problem. We have a spiritual crisis when children in the richest country in the world, in every city and small town, go to bed hungry every night.
In the face of the hungry, Jesus is clear about what we are to do, “you give them something to eat” (Mathew 14:16). Working together across partisan lines, I believe we can end hunger in our lifetime. We can support organizations like Bread for the World and stand united for hunger justice.
This is my first Protest Fast and the longest period of time for me to go without food. This is my choice this time to be hungry. I will start mid-day Monday, August 19 and end on mid-day Thursday, August 22.
I remember the time in elementary school when I hid food under my bed because I was afraid there would not be enough food in the house to pack my school lunch for the next day. I remember the girl who was afraid of being hungry and didn’t understand why she was poor, the girl whose family worked and tried so hard to not be hungry and to not be poor.
My Pastor’s Protest Fast is for all children who go to bed at night praying that there will be enough food for tomorrow. You can help by connecting with Bread for the World: https://bread.org/