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Gleaning in the 21st Century
|Volunteers gleaning from a field of Broccoli. “Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the Lord your God” - Leviticus 19:9-10.|
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The Jobs for Life Ministry
God was very concerned for all the people in Israel, but took special interest in the poor and the vanquished. In the Old Testament, He commanded that farmers were not to “gather the gleanings,” or harvest all the way to the edges of their fields, but to leave whatever they dropped for the poor and the immigrant in their midst.
Gleaning is the second harvesting of the land’s produce by the poor and those who had no land of their own. The crucial premise underlying this double command is Israel’s understanding that the land belonged to Yahweh. No one in Israel was a landowner in the modern sense. Each tribe and clan had its own “portion in Yahweh,” the piece of land that represented its share in the covenant with God. The land was Yahweh’s to distribute.
Allowing others to glean on the Israelite farmer’s property was the fruit of holiness. Landowners had an obligation to provide poor and marginalized people access to the means of production (the land, in Leviticus) and to work it themselves. In this sense, it was much more like a tax than a charitable contribution. Also unlike charity, it was not given to the poor as a transfer payment. Through gleaning, the poor earned their living the same way as the landowners did, by working the fields with their own labors. It was simply a command that everyone had a right to access the means of provision created by God.
Notice the difference from our more contemporary way of thinking. The Israelite farmer did not “allow” gleaning by the poor; Yahweh God commanded it. There is no charity involved, no hand out. The poor are not to be regarded as beggars or freeloaders. They are valid members of the covenant community, and they have as much right to glean as the farmer has to harvest the crops. I believe these commands regarding gleaning give us plenty to consider if we think about our own society’s attitudes toward ownership, consumption, acquisition, benevolence, and welfare.
Gleaning used to be common practice across Europe in the Middle Ages. Landowners would invite the poor onto their land to gather up whatever had been left un-harvested. In 18th century England, the sexton would often ring a church bell at 8 o'clock in the morning and again at 7 in the evening to alert needy families when they were invited to collect crops.
Fast forward to a period of austerity and increasing reliance on food banks in 21st century America. Food banks are struggling to keep up with demand. Times again are tough for thousands of families who can’t afford a steady diet of fresh, wholesome fruits and vegetables. Yet an estimated 27 percent of all food crops go un-harvested in our nation — billions of kilograms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Most are discarded because of cosmetic blemishes, harvesting schedule issues or unstable market prices. There has never been a better time to revive gleaning.
Farmers and their Local Communities Rely on Each Other
Gleaning benefits every community. People need food, particularly healthy food, and farmers usually have a surplus. Fruits and vegetables help restore health, help kids do better in school and get people to cook it in their homes to improve their overall diets in the fight against obesity. Farmers will box up and donate food that doesn’t sell at the stand or allow gleaners to pick in the fields. Consumers don’t want food that isn’t cosmetically perfect, so farmers always have products that aren’t good for sale that can be donated.
A number of farmers actually give their "first fruits" – that is, they allot a portion of their crop prior to the harvest. They feel that God has so abundantly blessed them that they want to "give back" to the community. These farmers love to share. It’s a wonderful feeling to give to people and know that they will enjoy it just as much as they do growing it.
Some farmers feel they have nothing to lose. The motivation has little to do with a biblical command though they are pleased that their surplus will feed the hungry. They will also pocket a tax deduction worth the value of what the farm gives away. All farmers by nature want to see the food they’re growing made accessible to everyone.
The gleaning system cited in Leviticus does place an obligation on the owners of productive assets to ensure that marginalized people have the opportunity to work for their food. No contemporary individual landowner can provide opportunities for every unemployed or under-employed worker the same as no one farmer in ancient Israel could provide gleanings for the entire district. But corporations are called out to be key players in providing opportunities for work. Perhaps we working people are also called to appreciate the service that business owners perform in their role as job-creators in their respective communities.
Gleaning Collects Food for Needy and Eliminates Food Waste
It used to be that gleaning was simply tolerated, that it was legally accepted but had some sort of shame attached. Currently gleaning is becoming more popular because the sheer quantity of the bounty that doesn’t get consumed is incredibly immense. For farmers, it is a matter of reducing waste.
The statistics reflect that 96 billion pounds of food — this is pre-consumer food — goes to waste in this country. And that food-waste estimate, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is increasing, not decreasing. Local non-profit organizations in Loudoun County are trying to build a network that will take food which would not make it to market for a variety of reasons and get it to local agencies that are feeding the hungry. Supply and demand is the first rule of the deal, say farmers. And if you have more supply than you have got demand, then it's going to go to waste.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food leftovers are the single-largest component of the waste stream by weight in the United States. Food waste includes uneaten food and food preparation scraps from residences or households, commercial establishments like restaurants, institutional sources like school cafeterias, and industrial sources like factory lunchrooms. Over 12 percent of the total municipal solid waste generated in American households was food scraps and less than three percent was recovered. The rest was thrown away and disposed in landfills or combusted in incinerators.
Top 6 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer for Gleaning
1. Get involved in a mission opportunity that will make a big difference in your local community without taking up a lot of your precious free time.
2. Teach your children about hunger, about our blessings and the importance of becoming involved in serving others.
3. Establish an opportunity for your family to work together, drawing you closer and providing lots of dinner discussion opportunities.
4. Provide local families (your neighborhood) in need with fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables at no cost to them. (Food Pantries usually stock only non-perishable items which typically have less vitamins and antioxidants.)
5. In the process of serving, you will be served. Your heart will be lifted as you know you've made a difference in peoples' lives in your community.
6. Salvaging unused crops prevents perfectly fine produce from getting plowed under, sent to the local dump site or left to rot.
Local gardeners wishing to contribute are advised to plan ahead. They can dedicate a row of vegetables or fruit from some trees well in advance. Contact the organization you plan to donate to. They sometimes can send volunteers over to help harvest the produce.
A note from Julie Brizendine
In June 2013, 19% of the children attending Loudoun County Public Schools qualified for a free or reduced priced lunch. According to Feeding America statistics, 16,500 people were food insecure in Loudoun County in 2012. 10,180 of those people were children. 29% were eligible for nutrition programs. And yet, we live in one of the most affluent counties in America. So much food is wasted.
or visit http://www.feedloudoun.org
|Kristy Kobylinski is a Loudoun County resident and attends Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg, VA. Kristy is seeking partners (church outreach contacts and prayer warriors) who have a heart for those living in need to join her in the ministry planning phase.|"and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday" - Isaiah 58:10.
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Christian Media Critic Ted Baehr to Speak in Ashburn
Special to Community of Faith
By Kristy Kobylinski
A few years ago, the Lord gave me a vision for starting a jobs ministry in our local community. The foundation of the program would teach people, through the Word of God, who God is and whom He created them to be. It would also invite the people of God (the Church) to come alongside of these individuals to partner with them, not just as mentors, but as co-learners on their journey. This program would also involve local community businesses who would be willing to participate in the training and provide possible employment for graduating students. While reading the book, “When Helping Hurts,” I ran across the name of a jobs ministry that fit the vision I had of this program to a tee! It was called “Jobs for Life” and it offered a turn-key curriculum for beginning this ministry in a local community. With much enthusiasm, I immediately ordered the curriculum and began distributing copies of the workbooks to several people who ended up not being nearly as excited about the program as I was. So, it fizzled, and I concluded that it just wasn’t the Lord’s timing.
I have continued to believe, however, that the Lord has called me to this ministry and in recent weeks, He has begun to rekindle my excitement. I have been pouring through the curriculum and writing pages of notes, but one thing is clear, I cannot do this alone! I need several volunteers! Therefore, I am initially looking for a core team of individuals who might be interested in helping to get this ministry started. I attended the Convoy of Hope – Leesburg in September and there was not one person that passed through the “Connections Tent” that would not benefit greatly from receiving this training/teaching. There are so many hurting people living in and around us who just need to understand how much our Lord loves them and desires good for them. He wants to transform our community from the inside out, but it takes individuals who are willing to partner and invest in the lives of other individuals, who are often unemployed or underemployed.
During the time when the Lord first called me to begin this ministry, I invited people to what I called an “Isaiah 58” prayer night. We simply prayed through Isaiah 58 which described “Fasting that pleases God.” I remember so clearly while praying Isaiah 58:12 which reads, “You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls and Restorer of Streets with Dwellings,” hearing God say “That’s you!” And that’s is us! That’s the Church - instruments of reconciliation and restoration to people without hope. So, I pray that we will continue, on the heels of “Convoy of Hope,” to bring lasting hope to our community through the “Jobs for Life” program. It is not just about helping people find jobs – it is about helping people along their journey to find Jesus – our only real Hope.
If you are interested in helping in any manner with this ministry, I currently have the following needs:
Planning Phase - Immediate
• Core Team Members - Individuals willing to be part of the core development team. Commitment would involve meeting weekly to develop an action plan then assisting with executing the plan. The curriculum comes with turn-key instructions for everything that needs to be done. I would like to have the program up and running by the Spring of 2015. These core team members can also serve in some of the below listed positions once the ministry is in a readiness state.
Ministry Phase – Spring/2015
• Instructors - Teaching commitment that will last 8-12 weeks. There could be a possibility to co-lead a class.
• Small group discussion leaders – 8-12 week commitment. Requires class participation to assist with facilitating discussion
• Champions – an 8-12 week commitment. Requires class participation to come alongside and encourage students.
• Business relations – Ongoing or as needed. Would reach out to local businesses partners who would be willing to participate in occasional classroom sessions and consider hiring individuals who graduate from our program
• Student relations – Plans and organizes student activities as well as class graduation event. Also involves interviewing perspective candidates who apply for the training. (These could be separate positions). Only individuals who demonstrate a sincere interest in obtaining employment or enhanced employment will be admitted into the program.
• Prayer team – individuals who will commit to pray for the program, students and volunteers.
. You can also visit the website at http://www.jobsforlife.org
for more information or search for “Jobs for Life Flip the List” to watch an informative video.
Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.
In His Service,
Note: Kristy's ministry is all about Church unity. She envisions the Jobs for Life Ministry being an interdenominational program, working under the banner of Christ. Kristy has a strong desire to see people healed and set free and living the abundant life to the glory of our God that our Lord Jesus intended for us to live. "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" John 10:10.
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|Ted Baehr is Founder and Publisher of Movieguide® as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer, and media pundit. He has been a featured guest on Oprah, Hannity and Colmes, CNN, ABC, Fox News, MSNBC, and Entertainment Tonight. His opinions have been featured in major newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Hollywood Reporter, and U.S. News and World Report.|
Monday, October 6, 2014
7:30 to 9:00 PM
Loudoun County School Administration Building,
21000 Education Court
Ashburn, VA 20148
“He who controls the media controls the culture”
Pastors and ministries leaders raved about Dr. Ted Baehr’s address to the Shepherds Table luncheon in Leesburg this past May. Baehr, author of “How to Succeed in Hollywood Without Losing Your Soul," spoke about society’s “divorce from moral standards,” which he attributed to a lack of moral content in cinema and television. He returns to address the public at a “Back to School Briefing” produced by the Ronald Reagan Lecture Series in Ashburn.
Hollywood influences the culture – but we can influence Hollywood! Christian Media Critic Ted Baehr will encourage and challenge us about how we can influence Hollywood and how Hollywood can be a force for good rather than ill at a free briefing Monday, Oct. 6 from 7:30 - 9:00 pm at the Loudoun County School Administration Building, 21000 Education Court, Ashburn, VA.
“He who controls the media controls the culture” summarizes Ted Baehr. Our challenge is how to reform the influence of the mass media of entertainment on our children and society. The media, for good and for ill, is the primary teacher of our youth. There is hope though – we can learn to be media-wise, and the entertainment industry can be turned toward the good, the true, and the beautiful. This lecture enables you to teach children to be media-wise, to understand the wide influence of the mass media, and to show you how to rescue the industry.
Ted Baehr is Founder and Publisher of Movieguide® as well as a noted critic, educator, lecturer, and media pundit. His publication Movieguide offers in-depth analyses of current movies from a biblical perspective via TV, radio, print, Internet and mobile applications. Not only are issues of violence, sex and profanity directly addressed, Movieguide digs deeply into the moral statements and worldviews of the movies, videos and television programs it reviews.
Ted was president of the organization that produced The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe for CBS-TV in 1980, boasting 37 million viewers and winning an Emmy Award. Ted is also Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission® (CFTVC), a non-profit organization dedicated to redeeming the values of the mass media of entertainment by influencing the entertainment industry and by informing and equipping the general public of the impact that the mass media has on its audiences. The CFTVC is the only active liaison between studio executives and the general public for issues of family entertainment and faith.
Note: The Ronald Reagan Lecture Series is a nonpartisan, 501(c) (3) nonprofit educational organization, subject to the same rules and regulations as churches.
From South or West, take Belmont Ridge Road, turn east on Broadlands Blvd and left on Education Court. From East or North, take Claiborne Parkway, turn west on Broadlands Blvd, right on Education Court. The red brick building is visible and accessible from the Greenway Toll Road going south on either Belmont Ridge or Claiborne Parkway.