Spiritual Famine… or, Bibles Not Food

At the church where I used to work, they spoke of “spiritual famine.” To “feed” these people, we would send bibles and theological books. I remember one conversation well…

“Shouldn’t we send something more than books,” I asked.

“What do you mean? Like what?” my boss replied.

“I don’t know… I mean, these people are dying from malaria, right? What if we included mosquito nets or some kind of food with the shipment? They’re pretty cheap. And it’s probably more likely for them to read the books if they’re not sick or starving or dying.”

“That’s a good point. Let me check and see if that’s something we can do.”

A few hours pass and he comes back to my cubicle. “No go on the mosquito nets. Other ministries provide those. Our mission is sending books.”

  • kessy_athena

    You know Christian Children’s Fund? The one with the ads on TV, “For just a dollar a day, you can provide food and education to this poor, starving child…” In 2004, a christian charity watchdog group called Wall Watchers accused them of intentionally misleading donors, since they’re actually feeding kids, not giving them bibles. “It isn’t Christian in the way we look at it. If you’re going to be bringing help to these children, you should be bringing the Gospel.”

    In 2009, they changed their name to just “ChildFund International.” The “Christian” part of their name was simply because they were originally founded by a Presbyterian Minister in 1938 – they were never a missionary group.

  • Irreverend Bastard

    Well, if they’re dying from malaria, it’s important to save their souls, since their lives is ending soon!

    Because apparently death is more important than life.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    “Shouldn’t we something more than books,” I asked.

    Shouldn’t we verb?

    • UrsaMinor

      No, we should not. “Verb” is a noun.

      • Elemenope

        Well, until it got verbed. When nouns get verbed, something terrible is born.

        • UrsaMinor

          The careless verbing of nouns impacts us all.

  • Lurker111

    When adjectives get verbed, things get even stranger, though sometimes we arrive at a truth:

    Sex weirds relationships.

  • Jer

    Why does an African child speak ebonics?

    • kessy_athena

      Bad grammar has been around a lot longer then ebonics. I seem to remember using similar construction as a kid myself. I was born in 1976 and am from Irish stock.

      • UrsaMinor

        It’s not bad grammar, it’s just not the standard dialect. Plenty of languages prefer (or even insist on) the use of the double negative. French is a perfect example, and in Spanish, the more you pile on, the merrier. Standard English sticks out like a sore thumb in its insistence on a single negative.

        • kessy_athena

          LOL Well, since the lingua franca on this site is standard English, I assumed it would be obvious that I meant it’s bad grammar in standard English. Although I think that’s much worse French then it is English. ;)

        • Michael

          Well, in English the double negative construction is technically used for litotes, which is pretty much the opposite of what is normally meant, so I think it is fair to call it “bad grammar.”

          For what it’s worth, “bad” and “nonstandard” essentially mean the same thing in this context. Nobody is claiming there is one “correct” way to speak English.

  • Thin-ice

    Sounds like the mission I joined in the ’70s for several years, called “Operation Mobilization”. They had two converted ocean liners going to 3rd world countries under the heading “Good Books For All”, with Bibles and Christian Books being the main emphasis of course. I think these days they have broadened the focus a little, trying to do a little more humanitarian work, thinking that it gives their spiritual work more credence. I don’t think they would do the humanitarian work unless it helped them get a foot in the door for their “Gospel” preaching.

    • kessy_athena

      Christian charity is never free, it only comes at the cost of your soul. Sadly, this is not news.


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