Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day Four. August 20, 2009

While I spoke yesterday about the privilege that I was given because of my power and my badge. Today I learn how far that privilege goes as I was told by the ELCA staff that I am not allowed to have my cardboard sign or raised funds here. When I asked if I could take the part off my sign that asks for money, I was told: "absolutely not, and whatever you do you better not raise any money here."

All day long I listen to all the causes the ELCA wants me to give money too. So far, this has only included issues related to world disease - but nothing involving domestic hunger issues, despite the fact that we are in the worst recession this country has seen since the Great Depression.

In seminary I was taught about stewardship and every Sunday I'm expected to ask for "offerings." Politicians, girl scouts and facebook friends with birthdays are respected when they ask for money, and yet if you are poor (and likely) actually need the money for your daily bread, medication, feminine hygiene or rent you are not supposed to ask for money... unless it's Lent.

So, today I ask you to think about all the time's you've been able to ask for help when you truly needed it, how hard it was to actually admit your vulnerability. Imagine if you like the Sarophoenecian woman seeking medical care for her daughter (Mark 7:25-30), the bleeding woman (Mark 5:21-43), or Jeremiah had a constant need that people had decided to stop listen to.

Are we afraid that if we listen to those cries that we will be overwhelmed by the injustice in the world, or that if we help everyone in need we still don't trust anyone will do the same for us. Good fiscal responsibility is a good thing and yet we must not ignore the lines of women with children panhandling in downtown Minnesota.

Yesterday I raised more than $2,500 for the hungry in San Francisco, today without a sign I could only raise $16 (all made I had to put my sign away). Cardboard signs are a symbol of someone willing to be vulnerable enough to ask for the help they need. Could you sit in your cities busiest part and ask for what you truly and deeply need on a cardboard sign? If you did what would it say:
  • Will Work for Companionship
  • Need medication, please help
  • Need a tutor for biochem
  • Job needed
  • Addict, please help
  • Credit Jubilee Needed
  • [Insert your deep need here]
I have the courage to say that I am worried that we won't be able to feed the additional 5,000 meals that we will need to meet the demand of our new economic reality. I've raised half of the needed $6,000 - will you be willing to help us raise the rest (now that I can't hold up my sign). If so you can donate online (all matters of change accepted via cash, check and credit card) at:

Prayers: Today I pray that we have the courage to admit our deep needs with the world, and that that world responds to our deep need by offering hope, resources and when we need it, cold hard cash. Again, I also pray for the transgender saint of the day:

August 19: St. Sussanah/John- Female born ascetic who wore male monastic habits. Refused to give up her identity even when accused and condemned falsely for seduction and rape. (Excerpt from Queerly Lutheran, Wilgefortis, 2009)

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