Exodus from Hunger by David Beckmann (Westminster John Knox Press)
God is calling Christians to transform the politics of hunger, according to David Beckmann, president of the Bread for the World advocacy group and winner of the 2010 World Food Prize. Churches and individual followers of Christ should contribute to international charities and volunteer in local soup kitchens, but they also should speak truth to those who work in the halls of power, he insists.
When God wanted to deliver the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt, he did not send Moses to take up a collection of canned good for the slaves, Beckmann observes. Rather, God sent Moses to Pharaoh to issue a political challenge to let the slaves go free. Similarly, Christians should exert political influence to call for justice for the poor and hungry.
Speaking as both an economist and a Lutheran minister, Beckmann points out reduction of poverty and hunger contributes to national security and international stability. He offers both visionary goals—such as the elimination of child hunger—and practical, achievable objectives—such as making foreign assistance more effective. He tells his own story about how God called him to a life of advocacy for the poor, and he provides practical steps any Christian can take to become more involved in changing the politics of hunger.
Ken Camp, managing editor
Fast Living by Scott C. Todd (Compassion International)
Scott Todd, senior ministry adviser at Compassion International, believes Christians can end extreme global poverty in the next 25 years. But first, God’s people must break free from the tyranny of low expectations. “If you think the poor will always be with us, they probably will,” he writes. But Todd firmly believes Jesus was talking to Judas when he made that often-quoted statement—not 21st century Christians.
Todd urges Christians to observe the “true fast” the Old Testament prophet described in Isaiah 58—to seek justice, share resources with people in need, break bonds of oppression, honor the Sabbath and pour out oneself for the hungry. The prophet’s challenge offers a call to personal commitment on behalf of the world’s poor and hungry.
Once it becomes personal, Todd insists, God does not diminish the hunger within the soul of any of his people. Rather, he multiplies it, as we identify with the impoverished and hunger for justice on their behalf.
Todd offers a timely, challenging and hopeful message for Christians in this generation.
Ken Camp, managing editor
Baptist Standard, Dallas