ELCA World Hungerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/Hunger, Poverty and the Minimum WageTeri Muellerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/624http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/624<div class="ExternalClassC862BEE2EF0149EC8578B037745A9418"><p>​Imagine a world where you cannot afford to put food on the table. Imagine a world where hungry children look up at you with pleading eyes as you stare at an empty pantry that you cannot afford to stock. Imagine not being able to provide for the basic nutritional needs of yourself and those you love. Imagine having to make the choice between paying for heat in the dead of winter or purchasing nutritious food.</p><p>Many people in America do not need to imagine the above scenarios. For them, the frustration of poverty is a daily reality. Many wage workers all across the country struggle to get by. These workers' wages are at or slightly above minimum hourly wage of $7.25. <a href="http&#58;//hungerreport.org/2014/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2014-Chapter-2.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Chapter 2 of the 2014 Bread for the World Hunger Report</span></a> focuses on the problems of poverty and hunger that many hourly workers face. Statistics reveal the harsh reality that 28% of American workers earned poverty-level wages in 2012. While many people believe that teenagers make up the majority of low wage workers, in actuality, 80% of minimum wage earners are at least 20 years old. Poverty does not just affect the jobless, as 10 million families with at least one person employed still fall below the poverty line. Furthermore, <a href="http&#58;//www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&amp;id=3894"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">a report issued in 2013 by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities</span></a> noted that&#160; &quot;Among SNAP households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work while receiving SNAP — and more than 80 percent work in the year prior to or the year after receiving SNAP.&#160; The rates are even higher for families with children — more than 60 percent work while receiving SNAP, and almost 90 percent work in the prior or subsequent year.&quot;</p><p>Raising the minimum wage is a very controversial topic but one that has increasingly come up in recent months. <a href="http&#58;//www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/Working-Poor-in-America-report-Oxfam-America.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">A 2014 report from Oxfam International</span></a> supports a minimum wage increase from the present $7.25/hour to $10.10/hour over the next few years. The report states that 25 million workers would be affected, one-third of whom have dependent children. Additionally, over 20% of women would benefit from a minimum wage increase as women tend to work in minimum-wage jobs more often than men. Oxfam emphasizes the growing income inequality in the United States as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Specifically, the report notes that &quot;in 2013 the CEO-to-average-worker pay ratio was 331 to 1; 30 years ago, it was just 40 to 1. Today, the CEO-to-minimum-wage-worker pay ratio is 774 to 1.&quot; </p><p>Despite the millions of people that would be positively affected by an increase of the minimum wage, controversy abounds because of possible adverse effects on the overall American economy. The cost-benefit ratio of an increase is rather unclear. Oxfam claims that economic growth and development would occur because better-paid workers would spend more money and contribute more in taxes.&#160; However, some business owners and federations are strongly against a minimum-wage increase because they say it will kill jobs and force employers to cut back employees and raise prices. A <a href="http&#58;//money.cnn.com/2014/05/06/news/economy/companies-against-minimum-wage/index.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">CNNMoney article</span></a> from early May explains the strong opposition of some companies to the proposed $10.10/hour minimum wage.&#160; </p><p>The contentious nature of minimum wage issues can easily overshadow the people behind the debate. Regardless of political views, we must remember the thousands of people in the US who are struggling to get by and provide adequate nutrition for themselves and their families. There are plenty of resources in our world, and we are called to seek a <a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/en/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Economic-Life"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">sufficient, sustainable livelihood for all</span></a>. We have the responsibility to consider our neighbors and family and to not solely maximize our own interests. Support for a livable wage is necessary as we strive to walk along side wage workers. Because of these convictions, the ELCA supports an increase in the federal minimum wage. Visit the <a href="http&#58;//download.elca.org/ELCA%20Resource%20Repository/Raising_the_Federal_Minimum_Wage.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">advocacy statement on raising the minimum wage</span></a> to learn more about the pressing nature of the issue and the views of the church. </p><p><em>Teri Mueller is an intern with ELCA World Hunger. </em></p></div>07/22/2014The young and hungry: The reality of food insecurity for many American childrenTeri Muellerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/623http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/623<div class="ExternalClass1FD9B9DDAB594779B04B8FE16A65088E"><p><br>No one likes to be hungry, but for many American families, food insecurity is a regular part of life. Currently, one quarter of American children are at risk of hunger (See <a href="http&#58;//hungerreport.org/2014/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Table-12-US-National-Hunger-Poverty-Trends.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Table 12 in Bread for the World's 2014 Hunger Report</span></a>). In 2012, the prevalence of food insecurity among U.S. households was 14.5%. Children were hit even harder as 21.6% faced life with food insecurity.</p><p>The last six years have been tough on American children. Food insecurity jumped up after 2007, which corresponded with the economic recession of 2008. To be specific, there was 16.9% prevalence of food insecurity among children in 2007 and 22.5% prevalence of food insecurity among children in 2008. (See <a href="http&#58;//hungerreport.org/2014/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Table-12-US-National-Hunger-Poverty-Trends.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Table 12 in Bread for the World's 2014 Hunger Report</span></a>). That is an increase of 5.6% in solely one year. </p><p>Young people especially suffer as a lack of food can jeopardize more than immediate health. For instance, frequent food insecurity can affect the development and educational attainment of children.<sup> </sup>Hungry children are more likely to be late to school or miss altogether.<sup>1</sup> If they do arrive, they struggle to focus on learning. </p><p>Children who do go to school often rely heavily on the food provided through programs like the <a href="http&#58;//www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/NSLPFactSheet.pdf"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">National School Lunch Program (NSLP)</span></a>. Sometimes the lunches provide students with the only actual meals they receive all week. The NSLP provides families that are under or at 130% of the poverty level with free school lunches for their children. Families who fall between 130 and 185% of the poverty level qualify for reduced-price lunches. </p><p>As summer continues, many children who relied heavily on school lunches must find other ways to get food. Because of this, programs like the <a href="http&#58;//www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/summer-food-service-program-sfsp"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Summer Food Service Program (SFSP</span></a>) have been established. The week of June 2<sup>nd</sup>-6<sup>th </sup>served as the kickoff of SFSP for Summer 2014.&#160; However, significantly fewer children are reached by the SFSP in comparison to the NSLP. Specifically, a USDA report mentioned in a <a href="http&#58;//www.jsonline.com/sponsoredarticles/familyliving/fight-childhood-hunger-to-keep-kids-healthy-this-summer8090190101-262332061.html"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentential article</span></a> says that only 2.3 million of the 30 million children that receive reduced price meals during the school year continue to receive meals over the summer. </p><p>The problem of food insecurity among children has not gone away in the United States, but federal programs like NSLP, SFSP, and others help young Americans receive food and nutrition. However, danger has arisen as many of these programs are up for reauthorization in the near future. The <a href="http&#58;//www.schoolnutrition.org/Content.aspx?id=2402"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010</span></a> permanently implemented the NSLP and the School Breakfast Program, but other programs are set to expire in 2015. They must be renewed in order to continue. The SFSP and the Special Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) are two examples of programs that need to be reauthorized soon. The continuation and strengthening of these programs along with the work of many community organizations is important for the future of American youth. With time and effort, we will hopefully begin to see a decrease in food insecurity among children in the future, which will result in improved conditions for the growth and development of America's young people. </p><p><em>Teri Mueller is an intern with ELCA World Hunger. </em></p><ol><li>Mariana Chilton &amp; Donald Rose, &quot;A Rights-Based Approach to Food Insecurity in the United States. <em>American Journal of Public Health </em>99&#58;7, 2009&#58; 1203-1211 </li></ol></div>07/11/2014Region 6: Ethics of Eating Announcement - UPDATEDHenry Martinezhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/614http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/614<div class="ExternalClass97BCAD2A49464A84864CFFBA44BA5F0E"><p>​</p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Ethics of Eating </strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;"><strong>Region 6 </strong></p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">Thursday – Sunday, Aug. 14-17, 2014</p><p>​It seems obvious that food is essential to our lives and communities. But what we see on our plates is part of a complex process that involves a confluence of lives, communities and systems. The Ethics of Eating event presents an opportunity to explore issues of food production and our response to this process as it relates to hunger, the environment and daily life. As people of faith, we approach the topic from a theological lens, while listening to those who are involved in this system for their livelihood. Join us as we consider this topic through some hands-on experience at a farm, a variety of speakers and engaging discussion.&#160; </p><p><strong>ELCA World Hunger</strong> is inviting approximately 25 participants from various contexts in the region to attend the Ethics of Eating event in the <strong>Mansfield, Ohio, area Thursday, Aug. 14 – Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014</strong>. ELCA World Hunger will underwrite the cost of participation. To ensure the best stewardship of ELCA World Hunger's investment in this event, participants must commit to attendance of the entire Ethics of Eating event.&#160; </p><p style="text-decoration&#58;underline;"><strong style="color&#58;#ed0033;">Application Due&#58; Monday, July 14, 2014</strong></p><p>For this event, participants will be invited from Region 6, which includes the following synods&#58; </p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.semisynod.com/cms/">6A &#160;̶&#160; Southeast Michigan</a></p><p><a href="http&#58;//mittensynod.server303.com/">6B – North/West Lower Michigan</a></p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.iksynod.org/">6C – Indiana-Kentucky</a> </p><p><a href="http&#58;//nwos-elca.org/">6D – Northwestern Ohio Synod</a></p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.neos-elca.org/">6E – Northeastern Ohio Synod</a></p><p><a href="http&#58;//www.southernohiosynod.org/aws/SOS/pt/sp/home_page">6F – Southern Ohio Synod</a></p><p><br>&#160;</p><p><strong>Please email ELCA World Hunger (</strong><a href="mailto&#58;hunger@elca.org"><strong>hunger@elca.org</strong></a><strong>) to request the Ethics of Eating application. </strong>Your completed application AND letter of support are due by <strong>July 14, 2014, </strong>if you wish to be considered for participation. Applicants will be notified of invitation decisions shortly thereafter. After June 30, applications will be approved on a rolling basis until all openings are filled.&#160; </p><p><strong>After this event, each participant will&#58;</strong></p><ol><li>Enrich their understanding of a just and sustainable food system and gain perspective on a theological response to hunger. </li><li>Implement a follow-up project, action or activity. </li><li>Participate in the ELCA World Hunger Leader Network and online community.<br><strong>&#160;</strong><br>If you have any questions, please contact ELCA World Hunger (<a href="mailto&#58;hunger@elca.org"><strong>hunger@elca.org</strong></a><strong>)</strong> or <span class="baec5a81-e4d6-4674-97f3-e9220f0136c1" style="white-space&#58;nowrap;">800-638-3522<a title="Call&#58; 800-638-3522" href="#" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;"><img title="Call&#58; 800-638-3522" alt="" style="margin&#58;0px;border&#58;currentcolor;left&#58;0px;top&#58;0px;width&#58;16px;height&#58;16px;right&#58;0px;bottom&#58;0px;overflow&#58;hidden;vertical-align&#58;middle;float&#58;none;display&#58;inline;white-space&#58;nowrap;position&#58;static !important;" /></a></span>, ext. 2616. We look forward to receiving your Ethics of Eating application.&#160;&#160;</li></ol></div>07/07/2014"How much should I give?" – A lesson from ZacchaeusHenry Martinezhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/622http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/622<div class="ExternalClass7530244AD37A4D5C83501A92DA12F413"><p></p><p>Before we get too far into this, it's worth pointing out that Zacchaeus is not asked the question &quot;How much do you give?&quot; or anything like it, and yet his story can't be told without considering how entangled his identity is with this concern. It is an uncomfortable question that typically doesn't make its way into our conversations, but before&#160;we bristle too much we should ask Zacchaeus what wealth meant to him. &#160;&#160;&#160;</p><p>Zacchaeus (Luke 19&#58;1-10) presents a curious case for Luke, who offers <em>chief tax collector</em> and <em>rich man</em> as primary descriptions. The former implicates him, by default, in a system of corruption and on the margins of acceptance according to religious authorities (see the Pharisees' reaction to Levi in Luke 5&#58;30). The latter places him in a group that stands out in this gospel for its unwillingness to give to the poor. Biblical scholars observe that the name Zacchaeus means &quot;pure&quot; or &quot;innocent,&quot; neither of which fit Luke's descriptions. But what makes Zacchaeus all the more curious is that in Luke's gospel we don't expect a man of his reputation to be so intrigued by Jesus or even responsive to his mission, &quot;to bring good news to the poor&quot; (Luke 4&#58;18).</p><p>Luke's uses both teaching parables and narrative interactions to portray the rich. The most notable parables are of the rich man who decides to have bigger barns built for himself so that he can retire and enjoy life (12&#58;13-21) and the rich man and Lazarus (16&#58;19-31). The first encounter we see between Jesus and a rich man ends with the rich man feeling sad after learning that he would have to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor in order to have eternal life (18&#58;18-30). From these stories we get the sense that wealth leads one to a tragic end. But just when it looks like the rich are out of hope, Jesus hints there is another way of looking at things&#58; a way that is possible only for God.</p><p>In addition to the unexpected announcement of Jesus' visit, Zacchaeus hears the grumbling crowd. At the heart of their grumbling is an accusation that is just as much against Zacchaeus as Jesus. This prompts the first words we hear from Zacchaeus, who addresses the concerns about his character by offering an explanation of his charitable contributions and financial intentions, which is not unreasonable given the assumptions regarding his reputation. He says&#58; </p><p style="text-align&#58;center;">&quot;Look, half of my possessions, Lord, <strong>I will give</strong> to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, <strong>I will pay back</strong> four times as much.&quot; (NRSV; emphasis mine) </p><p>It is worth noting that some translate his words to &quot;I will give,&quot; and &quot;I will pay back&quot; suggesting a future plan that he has not yet enacted (NRSV, CEV). Other translations chose the present tense for both verbs, suggesting actions that he is currently doing and plans to continue (NIV, RSV, The Message). Both are possible translations of the Greek verbs, but regardless of which we opt for, the power in this statement is the challenge of the common assumptions about identity and wealth. No one expects this rich man, let alone tax-collector to say that he gives or will give to the poor. &#160;Biblical scholar David Tiede finds similarities between the Zacchaeus story and a healing story, where it is not a physical condition which he suffers, but a spiritual one.<a>[1]</a> However, the spiritual condition is not just a personal one. &#160;</p><p>In this context, the healing comes in the form of Jesus' announcement that Zacchaeus is a &quot;son of Abraham&quot; (no longer just a &quot;tax collector&quot;) and salvation has come to his household. The declaration of salvation is not just a personal experience, but indicates wholeness and healing in a broader sense. Theologian Fred Craddock observes that salvation has personal, domestic, social and economic dimensions.<a>[2]</a> Knowledge of the social implications of his wealth distinguishes Zacchaeus from the other rich men in Luke. He recognizes that wealth is a dangerous thing, and he uses his wealth to make up for social and economic disparities. </p><p>In an overview of how wealth is presented in Luke and Acts, scholar Joel B. Green finds that wealth is certainly used as an economic measure, but that it is also woven into issues of status, power, and social privilege. He writes of the significance of Zacchaeus' decision, &quot;According to the cultural script of Luke's world, Zacchaeus behaves toward those who make their lodging at society's margins as if they were his friends, his neighbors, his kin.&quot;<a>[3]</a> If numerous other factors are involved in wealth, implicit in the question of how much should we give is the issue of how we relate to others. Zacchaeus shows us that wealth is a central matter for our spiritual health, identity and personal relationships. It is a dangerous thing to be sure, but one that can't be ignored. </p><p><em><br></em></p><p><em>Henry Martinez is an education associate for ELCA World Hunger.</em></p><p><em><br></em></p><p><a>[1]</a> David Tiede, <em>Luke</em>, (Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament), 320.</p><p><a>[2]</a> Fred Craddock, <em>Luke</em>, (Interpretation), 220.</p><p><a>[3]</a> Joel B. Green, &quot;Wealthy...Who? Me? Surprising Perspectives on Faith and Wealth from Luke-Acts,&quot; <em>The Living Pulpit</em> (2003), 18-19.</p><p>​&#160;</p></div>06/27/2014The Entanglement of Conflict and HungerTeri Muellerhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/621http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/621<div class="ExternalClass8F7F1D7B751F411B944DD5793C4DCA88"><p>​Where there is violence, hunger often lurks in the shadows. Though not always apparent, food scarcity can serve as a catalyst of conflict as well as a consequence of violent outbreaks. In many ways, the complex relationship between conflict and hunger is a bit ambiguous. Either one may cause the other. Wars may result from the desperation of the hungry or the greed of resource owners, but hunger may also be created from the devastation of war. </p><p>Functioning as a catalyst, hunger can fuel conflict due to either an overall shortage of commodities or the exploitation and selfish use of commodities by those in power. Additionally, inflation of food prices can cause high tensions and even riots.<sup>1 </sup>People compete over land and resources. Hunger provokes conflict as it can be used as weapon. Sieges can damage food supplies. Land and livestock are often destroyed.<sup>2</sup> Economic sanctions can also severely hurt the food stability in a region as we have seen in Syria. The list goes on and on. </p><p>Hunger also functions as a consequence of conflict. An article from a 2012 edition of <em>New Routes&#58; A Journal of Peace Research and Action</em> explains that conflict and social instability impact the &quot;core elements of food security&quot; which are <strong>availability, access, and utilization</strong>.<sup>1</sup> Damaged equipment, destroyed farmland, closed markets and displaced farmers and herders all cause the <strong>availability</strong> of food to be jeopardized. <strong>Access</strong> to food is impeded when roads are destroyed, which leads to supplies being cut off. The <strong>utilization</strong> of food is not executed properly when there is a lack of clean water or shortages of certain nutrient-dense foods.<sup>1 </sup>Prolonged conflict can cause prolonged hunger. Even after the conflict ends, suffering continues due to hunger. </p><p>The intertwined nature of conflict and hunger is evident in our world today. A clear example can be seen by looking at the Central African Republic (CAR) where conflict has been heavily present since December 2012. According to the <a href="http&#58;//www.wfp.org/countries/central-african-republic/overview"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">World Food Programme</span></a>, around 1.6 million people in CAR are currently food insecure. They additionally reported that the 2013 agricultural production rate was approximately 40% lower than in 2012 and that food stocks in the main market in Bangui (the capital city) were only 20% of pre-crisis levels. Children have been hit especially hard by malnutrition. It is clearly evident that people are suffering due to conflict-related hunger. The ELCA is deeply concerned about the situation in CAR and supports the work of our companions in the region in an effort to combat poverty and hunger. (<a href="http&#58;//www.elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCALutheranDisasterResponse/251"><span style="text-decoration&#58;underline;">Read more</span></a> about the work in CAR on the Lutheran Disaster Response blog.)</p><p>Hunger and conflict are not new problems, and there is no doubt that the two are closely connected. God has provided abundantly, but humans have created scarcity through the abuse and inefficient use of resources. Scarcity becomes especially prevalent around times of conflict. As Christians, we are called to acknowledge the reality of hunger and conflict in our world today. We are called to love our neighbors who are halfway across the world as well as the people who live next door or down the street. We are called to do our part to combat scarcity by advocating for food in a needy world and encouraging non-violent mediation in the midst of conflicts as we look forward to the day when God welcomes us to the eternal peace of our heavenly home. </p><p><em>Teri Mueller is an intern with ELCA World Hunger. </em></p><ol><li>Pedro Conceicwo &#160;&amp; Sebastian Levine, &quot;Breaking the Cycle of Conflict and Hunger in Africa,&quot; <em>New Routes&#58; A Journal of Peace Research and Action </em>17&#58;3, 2012&#58; 31-33</li><li>Marc Cohen &amp; Per Pinstrup-Andersen, &quot;Food Security and Conflict,&quot; <em>Social Research </em>66&#58;1, 1999, 375-416</li></ol></div>06/20/2014Book Review: Peter Singer’s The Life You Can SaveHenry Martinezhttp://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/620http://elca.org/News-and-Events/blogs/ELCAWorldHunger/620<div class="ExternalClassC46BA7B45E43416186092F71E478BDD7"><p>​</p><p>Peter Singer, <em>The Life You Can Save&#58; How to Do Your Part to End World Poverty</em>.&#160; New York&#58; Random House, 2010.</p><p><img src="http://search.elca.org/blogs/SiteAssets/Lists/ELCA%20World%20Hunger/AllItems/life%20you%20can%20save.jpg" alt="life you can save.jpg" style="margin&#58;5px;vertical-align&#58;text-bottom;" />I imagine it takes a good amount of restraint (and/or editorial skill) for a philosopher to present an argument, offer supporting anecdotes, and still manage to deliver an accessible read that comes in under 200 pages. In this account Singer makes the case for charitable giving, specifically charity that is directed toward the most vulnerable people. The argument, as Singer outlines, provides enough of a hook that readers could find themselves intrigued by his case even if they disagree with his underlying assumptions. It can be summed up in this way&#58; &quot;in order to be good people, we must give until if we gave more, we would be sacrificing something nearly as important as the bad things our donation can prevent&quot; (140). &#160;</p><p>Singer shapes the claim and its premises on a utilitarian philosophy that appears demanding and unsustainable, but coalesces into a realistic approach by the end of the book. Before he gets there, Singer identifies and counters some common objections to giving.&#160; In a section entitled &quot;Human Nature,&quot; he tackles some psychological factors for why we don't give more. Singer uses moral dilemmas to explore these, then highlights examples of philanthropic efforts to explain how cultures of giving are created. Having made the case for giving, Singer turns his attention to the state of aid, providing examples of the work of certain aid organizations. Even here, Singer doesn't shy away from some of the challenges and difficulties aid organizations face. Of these challenges, he states, &quot;the uncertainty about the impact of aid does not eliminate our obligation to give&quot; (124). His main argument in this section is that significant life-improving work can be done at a relatively minor cost.&#160; </p><p>In the final section of the book Singer presents &quot;A New Standard for Giving.&quot; Perhaps recognizing one of the deep-seated rationalizations for not giving, he turns his attention to parents' concern for their own children. He presents a challenge by stating that when we consider moral imperatives we don't always assume that parents ought to put their children first. This works on a philosophical level, but Singer then points out that if an obligation is going to be accepted widely, we have to recognize that parents <em>will</em> meet the basic needs of their own children before that of strangers. Singer, by looking at how we defend moral obligations, though, argues that luxuries spent on one's children are not justifiable ahead of the basic needs of others. </p><p>Singer avoids sounding prescriptive throughout the book until it comes to laying out his realistic approach to charitable giving. He suggests that people give 5% of their annual income, recognizing that some could comfortably give this amount and more, while others would find it difficult. He goes on to apply a progressive suggested donation based on the income tax bracket, which would, he calculates, raise eight times the amount of money required to meet the <a href="http&#58;//www.un.org/millenniumgoals/">Millennium Development Goals</a>. Singer's recommendation is mainly for those making over $100,000 per year. For those who find themselves under this amount his message is essentially to think about the extra spending money we have and to cut back on luxuries. He demurs at defining this, but the logical conclusion of his philosophy is that a luxury would be anything more than what would be considered a basic need.&#160; </p><p>Those who are looking to make a case for charitable giving may appreciate the directness and consistency of the argument in this book. It may also appeal to those who appreciate debate, since Singer relies on his premises to pursue his main argument. But it is in the terms of the argument where we see the greatest contrast between Singer's philosophy and a faith-based one. Singer acknowledges that there is evidence for charitable giving within the teachings of the major world religions, but his argument is not made on religious terms. As a result, his case progresses on a universalist approach, which runs the risk of undermining the efficacy of faith traditions and their competing, contextualized ethics. </p><p>Singer's argument begins, &quot;in order to be good people…&quot; His argument is built on the assumption that charitable giving, specifically to the poorest and most vulnerable, makes us better people. Lutherans would reverse course, arguing that we are justified in Christ, which leads us to be giving. Even though we would start from an entirely different foundation or central claim than Singer, this does not mean his argument is irrelevant. Singer's presentation essentially points out the reality of sin and injustice&#58; some are very wealthy, many people are suffering, many more can do at least something about it. After reframing his argument, our efforts are better spent answering his challenge from within our own tradition. This book can be helpful in a study of what it means to &quot;be good,&quot; or as a discussion starter for groups looking to study stewardship. From a Christian perspective, one book that raises similar questions is Ron Sider's <em>Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger.</em> Like Singer, he points out the disparities between the affluent and impoverished but builds the case for charitable giving from within the Christian tradition. Another book that Lutherans would appreciate for the theological connections is Samuel Torvend's <em>Luther and the Hungry Poor</em>. &#160;</p><p>&#160;</p><p><em>​​Henry Martinez is an education associate for ELCA World Hunger.​</em></p></div>06/13/2014