I experienced a strange confluence of events between yesterday and today. Last night my wife and I watched HBO’s The Girl In The Cafe which is ostensibly a very moving romance but develops into a consciousness-raising piece about world hunger on the eve of the G8 Summit. It started me thinking last night about why I hardly ever hear about hunger in my church. I do hear a lot about the Big Two (homosexuality and abortion) but I could count on one or two fingers the number of times I’ve heard about hunger as an important issue for Christians. I began asking myself why the Big Two are more important to conservative Christians. I’m still not sure although I do believe I have had a little more light shed after this morning.

Sunday School today developed into a discussion of “God’s Blessings”. And if you hang around conservative Christians for very long you’ll recognize that as code for “material blessings”. People were wondering in class why the wicked prosper (materially of course) while some of the most faithful Christians struggle to pay bills. The answer was that while we may not know why the poor are poor we can be sure that it is all part of God’s great plan which we can’t clearly see right now. I had to stop and catch my breath for a moment, especially in light of the movie I watched last night.

Are we really comfortable saying that God chooses to “bless” some with riches and others with aching, crippling poverty? That this is somehow part of God’s plan?

And then it dawned on me. If God truly blesses some with material wealth and leaves others in poverty as part of God’s master plan then why would there be any urgency to help the poor and the hungry? It only makes sense. If people are poor because God has chosen not to bless them then who are we to get involved? There’s a perfectly good, spiritual reason why they are starving when they go to sleep at night. God has his reasons for this right? After all Matthew 26:11 clearly states “The poor you will always have with you…”

Allow me to say quite clearly that this line of thinking is not only crap but it is so far from Christian it is frightening.