The following post is from John Roy, pastor of Pelham Road Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. and participant at CBF’s most recent event, Advocacy in Action. This blog is a part of a series of experience blogs from the event. See the first blog here.
Sometimes people go to Washington to march, other times people go to see our National treasures, and of course people go to be heard by their congressional representatives, but we went to listen. To listen to the voice of the hungry, the voice of those of work and advocate for our nation to be the light in the darkness of hunger.
Our listening involved viewing the new film A Place at the Table. We all think we know about poverty. We read the paper, we go on mission trips, we think we understand how people struggle to make ends meet. We also know our Bible, and know of Jesus’ great love for the broken, including the poor and hungry. Yet, this is only part of the story.
1 in 4 children are underfed daily in America. We are a nation which is both overweight and undernourished. 23 million Americans live in food deserts where you can’t find fresh fruit or vegetables. In the past 30 years the prices of processed food has declined where the price of healthy food has increased to the point that to make your food stamps stretch you have to buy cookies, chips and soda, and leave the orange juice and strawberries on the shelf. The work of charities and churches must continue, but we also need the government.
Our listening also involved visiting with Calvary Baptist Church, the Baptist Joint Committee and Bread for the World. Our listening included hearing the dreams of seminarians and the aged wisdom of pastors, missionaries and even political insiders.
It was Washington, so of course we did more than listen, we walked and we ate. It was a gathering of Baptists, so we laughed, cried and read scripture. It was educational so we were inspired and informed. Yet in the end, it was mostly about listening; not listening to the movie, but listening to the spirit who always seems to whisper, “come, go, and do.”