Peter Singer is still battering my heart (see yesterday's post) to such an extent that I wanted to look up John Donne's sonnet of that title. Yet, I cannot stop reading, am eager to finish the book so that I know how much money he thinks I should be able to give away. I am nervous about this. We live on pensions, most of which is taken up with living expenses. But it is feeling imperative to keep reading this and thinking about how I live, eating beef as I please, driving a second car.
Singer is one of those natural teachers, cutting through to clarity about a situation with a Zen-like blade. He describes many people who work to end extreme poverty. Just now I am reading about a doctor, Paul Farmer, cofounder of Partners in Health, who has devoted his life to serving the poor in Haiti for many years before the earthquake.
And just yesterday I also got the first letter of this year's pledge campaign from my church. They want a stunning 5% of my gross income. I will pledge, but I am thinking about how my church enhances lives in many ways, including my life, but does not do much to save them. In fact, I think my specific church has not contributed to the national church and its social justice programs for a several years.
Here is where I stopped reading to look up Partners in Health and write this post:
Flying from the peasant huts and their malnourished babies in Haiti to Miami, just 700 miles away, with its well-dressed people talking about their efforts to lose weight, Farmer gets angry over the contrast between developing countries and the developed world.He seems to have taken the bodhissatva vow to heart.