Food is a central focus of the major religions in one way or another -- but particularly with concern for those who are hungry.
The fifth sura, or chapter, of the Qur'an is called "The Feast," and is all about how the faithful are to approach food.
So feeding the hungry has long been understood as a basic obligation of people of faith. The question, of course, is how to do that. Should we simply provide one meal at a time to those in need or should we look for more systemic answers to undo the causes of hunger around the world?
The answer, of course, is both.
And in seeking more comprehensive answers, secular allies can be of great service. Which is why I'm pleased to learn that something called "The Universities Fighting World Hunger Summit" is coming to the Kansas City area March 2-4. You can find details and information about how to register at the link in this paragraph.
As you will read at that link, the symposium is sponsored by a consortium of Kansas institutions of higher education.
And I was intrigued that the chair of the summit leadership committee has both short-term and long-term solutions to hunger in mind. Listen to what Matt Lindsey, president of the Kansas Independent College Association, had to say about the conference:
"While we need to do everything we can to help those who are hungry today, it is clear that our efforts cannot stop there. We need to look at the policy priorities and cultural biases that are contributing to hunger around the world and then raise our voices to create sustainable change."
Which is in harmony with the approach to hunger that drives people of faith.
(By the way, for some interesting statistics about world hunger and the nearly 1 in 7 people who suffer from it, click here.)
* * *P.S.: KEYSTONE, COLO. -- I'm here in Colorado for a few days preparing for this seminar on forgiveness that I'll co-teach at Kirkridge Retreat Center in Pennsylvania, so while I'm gone you won't find a second blog item here.
I hope you'll join me at Kirkridge the weekend of April 26-28.