Today is Blog Action Day, and the 2008 theme is poverty. You can read some of the thousands of participating posts on the Blog Action Day website.
As you've probably been noticing recently, global poverty is one of the issues that tugs at my heart, and I try to be an advocate for fighting poverty through the work of charities, through actions in my community, through organizations working around the world, through pushing our leaders to make and keep promises on these issues, and by blabbing to you all on a regular basis about how the dots connect in my life and our common life in this common world.
Why my harping? Because 26,000+ children die from poverty-related causes every single day, and many people don't give a shit. What's worse, to paraphrase the venerable Tony Campolo, some of you care more about the fact that I just said shit than about those 26,000 children.
I truly believe that looking out for those with less is the right thing for us all to do (see: Golden Rule, interconnected global economies and environment, etc.) and, more specifically for those of us who call ourselves Christians, caring for the poor is the best way we can reflect what Jesus was about, do what he told us to do, and really understand the heart of God. Why else those 2,000 verses about the poor, more than any other subject?
I don't believe there's any one right way to fight poverty, though. You may feel a desire to help in a different way than I do, and that's a good thing, because different actions help in different ways. Child sponsorship can't get a government to forgive another government's crushing debts, but political advocacy can't let a little girl know she matters enough that someone remembers her birthday. Some people and groups take care of wounds that are gushing right now, while others try to find the source and stop it. We need it all.
What can you give?
Even just a bit of empathy.
Here's what I will give back today:
For every comment on this post, I will donate $1 to Ethiopian Orphan Relief or our local SLR voucher program (donations split 50/50 -- and I suppose I must set some limit!). For every comment sharing what you are doing or will do to fight poverty, I will donate $2.
Will you write a letter to your sponsored child? Email your state representative? Take some extra food to the food bank? Repeat this same challenge on your own blog? Get involved in something, let me know, and watch my gift grow! Game ends Friday at midnight PST. The real challenge never ends.
Come back soon to read the story of my Ethiopian schoolgirl friend. She says so much more than I ever could.
Links for further inspiration:
"Being Poor" by John Scalzi
"Working Poor Problem Getting Worse" (MSNBC)
The Girl Effect (start with this sweet video)
"I Repent" (Holy Experience blog)
Blog Action Day 2008