Our Daily Bread

The church must powerfully define, proclaim, and live out its understanding of an alternative vision of community, where the relationship between the Creator and the created is ffirmed, and enhances life for all, over time.

When I die, I won't have to go to hell. I've already been there," said a Missouri farm woman whose family farm was being foreclosed on by their lender, who ran a notice of the forced sale in the local newspaper before telling the family.

If things continue as they are presently going," said an Alabama advocate for minority farmers, "by the turn of the century there will essentially be no black families farming land in the United States."

Veterinarians have told us that they have been called to 'patch up' an animal that a farmer has taken out his anger on and beaten up," I tell a group of Minnesota rural pastors. "Well," said a local social worker, "tell them the rest of the story. Tell them about the farm wives who are too embarrassed and ashamed to go to their doctor, so they call the vet and ask him to come patch them up after their husband has beaten them. If the vet's pickup is seen by neighbors in the lane, no one will ever guess the real reason he is there."

Where's the beef in this freezer?" asked the director of a Nebraska center provided by the county ministerial alliance that feeds and houses mostly Latino workers hired by a transnational meat-packing corporation. "They recruit these men to come here telling them that they [the firm] will provide housing until the workers are paid and can find their own living quarters. They do not provide the food and housing. The churches do! The company does not even give us beef for the meals of their own workers!"

Looking out the window of his house, the middle-aged Missouri farmer who had lost his farm in foreclosure and was now watching someone else plant the spring crop, softly but firmly said, "I feel God has abandoned me."

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Sojourners Magazine September-October 1995
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