While we argue they are still hungry
Ok, so I knew this might stir things up…
I recently shared this post from Occupy Democrats on my Facebook book page. The subsequent dialog that resulted from this was both entertaining and disturbing. It was entertaining in that I began to think that if this exchange was taking place in “real life” rather than “cyber land” it might actually come to blows.
I appreciated how both sides felt passionate about their argument, however, the argument itself punctuated the fact that we’re missing the point.
Immediately things went partisan
The first comment that appeared after I made this post came in from a friend with whom I went to high school. Christopher Anderson said, “Yeah…..because empowering the government to STEAL their money through FORCE is much more Christian. Plus, show me a city that has laws against feeding the homeless and I’ll show you a city run by Democrat socialists.”
I took Chris’ comment to be a bit of a challenge. I decided to look up the cities in question and try to determine their political makeup in an effort to either confirm or refute Chris’ statement.
I learned in an October 2014, report by the National Coalition for the Homeless entitled, “Shame No More: The Criminalization of Efforts to Feed People in Need,” that at the time of the report, Sacramento, CA, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, Houston, TX, Shawnee, OK, Costa Mesa, CA, Manchester, NH, Chico, CA, Olympia, WA, Lake Worth, FL, Columbia, SC, Medford, OR, Raleigh,NC, Hayward, CA, and Daytona Beach, FL, either have property use limitations in place or have legislation for such limitations pending approval (Sacramento and Ft. Lauderdale).
These property use limitations restrict food sharing on public property without a permit. The interesting thing about this list is that it represents cities are that are known to be heavily liberal, as well as, others that are strongly conservative.
The other methods in place that ultimately restrict food sharing include food safety regulations and relocation actions. Both of these types of restrictions could be found in both conservative and liberal leaning cities.
From there the argument continued
As my left-leaning friends, Jeremy Kunkel and Rob Lowry, weighed in with their points of view, and Chris continued to share his, it became obvious that while each side made valid points and truly believes his own ideology, the fact remains that there are people who are hungry. They don’t have the luxury of worrying about whether to be Republican or Democrat, because when you haven’t had anything to eat for days, it’s really the only thing on your mind.
Then I went to church
I initially shared the Occupy Democrats post late Friday night. The verbal firestorm that ensued went on over the course of the weekend, and on Sunday morning as I was reading the latest, I had to tear myself away in order to get myself and my daughters ready for church.
As happens more often than not for me, Sunday’s sermon seemed to speak directly to what was going on in my life. For the month of June, we are studying the book of Galatians, so the sermon was in response to the day’s scripture reading,Galatians 1:1-2:21.
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7.
As I thought of my friends arguing over socialist versus capitalist, left versus right, and Democrat versus Republican, I realized that we were all being confused by a different gospel. Even my original post was confusing the real issue by creating an “us versus them” dynamic.
In Paul’s day it was Gentiles versus Jews and circumcised versus uncircumcised, and they too were missing the point.
The one thing to remember
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35.
With the coming of Jesus we were saved by Grace, and given this one commandment to follow. It seems like it should be simple. It seems like there shouldn’t be any room for misinterpretation. It seems like feeding the hungry should fall under the umbrella of “loving one another.”
Unfortunately, as was evidenced by my Facebook post (for which I take full responsibility for starting this whole hullaballoo) we flawed humans insist on creating limitations that ultimately keep us from doing God’s work.
We argue about whether the rich should pay more. We argue about where people can and can’t receive food. We argue about permits and regulations and tax breaks and all sorts of things that serve man – not God.
No need for argument
If we follow God’s greatest commandment to “Love one another, ” without yielding to the temptation to give His message our own Earthly spin, then there’s really not much left to argue – is there?