This year I am giving up meat. Just for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
I know- this is not what you expect a minister from the most conservative state in the union to do. Normally we eat cows that are fed on crude oil, carbon emissions, and gays. (That’s sarcasm people; everybody knows Texas cows don’t like gays)
I am studying Christian simplicity. As I pursue simplicity I recognize God desires that I live a life that is not oppressive to the poor. (I am happy to talk more about this in a later post, till then you can check out this book: Freedom of Simplicity by Richard Foster .)
What in my life oppresses the poor?
The most obvious answer to me was my consumption of meat.
Here are some facts :
• Over 1 billion people are chronically undernourished. Between 700 and 800 million people lack sufficient income to obtain the basic necessities of life. An estimated twenty million people die annually due to hunger and its effects.
• Three out of four people who die due to hunger are children. Over 8 percent of children in poorer countries die before their first birthday.
• It takes 8 to 12 pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible beef in a feedlot. Half of U.S. farmland grows livestock feed.
• The United States is a major importer of beef from poor countries, where the grain grown feeds the cows rather than the hungry people.
• If people reduced their meat consumption by just 10 percent, enough grain would be released to feed 60 million people. (Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer)
• The wealthy nations feed more grain to their livestock than the people of India and China (more than one-third of humanity) consume.
• Two-thirds of our agricultural exports go to feed livestock, rather than hungry people
(I copied and pasted these fact form this website: http://www.jewishveg.com/jvhunger.html)
I hope at the end of this, I understand more what is at the center of Christian Simplicity.
What are you doing for lent?