Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

via wikipedia

via wikipedia

If I were a Christian, I would be a member of a small church. A very small church indeed, in Tabgha, a small village on the Sea of Galilee. The Church of the Multiplication, where the miracle of the loaves & fishes occurred. Five loaves & two fishes, made many — a familiar parable to most Christians, and definitive (or at least I think so) of the man Jesus.

How many times in the New Testament does it say, feed the hungry…? How often are followers of Jesus asked to care for the poor, feed the hungry, look after the unfortunate, the sick, the needy…?

FREQUENTLY, folks. And Jesus himself does just that, in Tabgha. Please note: not ONCE does he say — spend all your money on tax breaks. Or, help the wealthy. In fact, Jesus says it’s easier to push a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get in to heaven. And he says it in Matthew, Mark, AND Luke. Frequently, in other words. Feed the hungry, which he does at the Rock of the Multiplication, in Tabgha, tradition says.

I’m so OVER ersatz people of faith coming down on the poor. I don’t get it. I don’t get why the poor are ‘undeserving’ of health care, for instance. Why the life of a poor person is worth less than the life of someone w/money. Why poor children should go unfed, under-educated, and live lives ‘less than’ their wealtheir compatriots. And yet, I see it reified all around me, day after day. By (ostensible) people of ‘faith.’

So here it is, one more time: at LEAST 20 times, Jesus says ‘feed the hungry.’ He’s quite clear about it. Even the infamously cranky Paul said to feed the hungry — in both Thessalonians & Corinthians. You may not want to do it, but don’t tell me you follow the teachings of Jesus if you DON’T do it. Because this was almost certainly a deal-breaker.

via wikicommons

via wikicommons

As it is for Islam, where almsgiving to the poor, the needy, the destitute, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, known as Zakāt . As it is Buddhism, where monks & nuns make daily rounds in many countries, depending on the generous charity of the townspeople to feed them. As it is in wisdom traditions from time immemorial, because it is RIGHT.

If you want to argue your political ‘case’ for refusing to honour these religious strictures, that’s your business. But please: don’t pretend it’s part of any religion I know of. Feeding the hungry goes way back, to the earliest times. Like when Jesus multiplied two fish and five loaves. To feed the hungry…

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