Monthly Archives: August 2019

Protest Fast Day Two

My child asked me at dinner, “Mom, why aren’t you eating?” I sat in my usual spot at our round family dinner table while my family ate their dinner. My plate remained empty while theirs was filled with some favorite comfort foods: macaroni and cheese, chicken fingers and tater tots. Our evening meal time is important to us for connection, check-ins and chuckles about our day.

Tonight’s question was a big one with a simple answer: I’m not eating because children are not eating. And that is not okay. I am protesting policies that neglect our hungry children. Because they are OUR children.

After this explanation our child sat quietly, thinking. He said, “I just hope it doesn’t make you crabby.” We chuckled and then I said, “I’m not feeling crabby. I am feeling grateful. I am grateful that you don’t have to go hungry. But it is wrong that other children do.”

For dessert tonight my family enjoyed brownies. They smelled delicious and my son playfully placed one right under my nose, saying, “smell!” I did. It smelled divine.

Day two of my protest fast highlights for me my own privilege. Today I can afford to walk into any grocery store or restaurant and buy anything I want. Today, I can eat when I want, what I want, where I want and as much as I want. This wasn’t always the case.

Not only did I experience poverty as a child, including food insecurity, I also experienced it briefly as a new, young pastor. Not having enough money to buy your hungry baby food is the WORST feeling in the world. It happened to me when the church’s paycheck came a few days late. There was no money in the bank to pay for groceries. I felt humiliated, ashamed, embarrassed, and angry. I had a job, I just didn’t get paid.

Hunger is an injustice. It’s dehumanizing to make people beg for food. Why can’t we feed America’s children? In America, no one should have to tell their hungry child that there is nothing to eat.

My Pastor’s Protest Fast will end on Thursday, August 22 in the afternoon at the Fair Shot for All Children event at First United Methodists in Noblesville, Indiana. I’ll join with others to break the fast and to advocate, joining our collective power to ask our elected officials to make ending child hunger a priority in Indiana.

Join me if you can, or get involved where you live to end hunger. Pray and take action so that all children, OUR children will grow up strong, healthy, and loved.

To learn more connect with Bread for the World:

Protest Fast: Day One

Today I chose to fast from food and I am starting to feel hunger pangs. This empty feeling inside me is a longing. A physical longing for food, yes, but also a longing for justice.

I am joining with other pastors for a three day protest fast in the state of Indiana because we allow children in our cities to go to bed hungry at night. The problem is not a lack of food. The problem is a lack of will. We could feed the world if we wanted to and still have leftovers.

Today I attended a lecture at Christian Theological Seminary about Black Theology and James Cone. We discussed Cone’s first book, Black Theology and Black Power and then his later work, God of the Oppressed. I feel grateful for the hope in Cone’s words about God’s determination to not ever, not ever, let us go.

Cone reminds us that oppression impacts all of us, and liberating the oppressed liberates the oppressor.

When we use our collective will to end oppression, to end hunger, we will all be truly fulfilled and free.

Being hungry today while sitting in the James Cone lecture reminded me of my time as an undergrad studying abroad in Glasgow, Scotland, when I had very little money. Near campus, I found a Christian outreach center that sold homemade soups and hot tea for a low cost.

A few years later, I returned to Glasgow, Scotland for an internship during seminary and served as a student pastor for a Church of Scotland day center for people who are homeless. Together we ate homemade soup and drank hot tea.

As I look toward tomorrow and beginning day two of the Pastor’s Protest Fast, I am thankful the words of James Cone will be my nourishment.

To help end hunger connect with Bread for the World:

Pastor’s Protest Fast

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: