Last October, Bookwi.se Contributor Allen Madding released his new book Shaken Awake. The Kindle edition is free through Dec 2. I invited him to write a post introducing the book and its background. You can buy the Free Kindle Edition, Paperback or Audible.com Audiobook.
Over 50 million people in America struggle with hungerand 610,000 are homelesswhile many churches are completely oblivious to the struggle to survive that is going on just outside their front doors. I find it appalling that 1 in 6 adults and 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger in one of the most affluent and powerful countries in the world. But I find it even more appalling that numerous churches are not actively seeking to alleviate the suffering. I wonder what it would take to change the hearts and minds of the leaders of the church bodies that are smack dab in the middle of communities struggling with these issues. If a homeless man froze to death in the front steps of such a church, would it make any difference? Would it give leader pause to reconsider their priorities and reevaluate their mission?
For 14 years, I lived in the Metro Atlanta area and for five of those years, I worked in midtown allowing me to see the homeless situation first hand. For the last three years, I have worked as community activist working to relieve hunger in our communities. Initially, I was shocked to discover the level of hunger in our community. As I personally adjusted to the knowledge of the hunger level, I was even more shocked by how few community leaders were familiar with the magnitude of the problem in their communities and how few churches were working to address the issue. And finally, I was appalled to discover that 70 billion pounds of food is thrown in the garbage every year in the United States. In fact, the amount of money wasted on food that is thrown away is more than what the federal government spends on the food stamp (SNAP) program.
I wrote “Shaken Awake” to shine a light on homelessness and hunger in the United States and as a challenge to individuals and churches to become aware of the magnitude of these issues and their impact on families. I firmly believe that these are the people that Jesus talked about when he referred to “the least of these” in Matthew 25. And, I believe that chapter leaves the church without an excuse for ignoring these issues. While the story is fictional, the plight of the homeless and families struggling with hunger all around us is not.