By the time you read this I've gone, by bus, to get food stamps. Also, I'm responsible for spending the 10 dollars I brought to provide dinner for my group of nine.
I'm not crazy, just on a pilgrimage of pain and hope.
Let me back up a little. I'm part of an ice group. Ice stands for institute for clergy excellence and it's a continued education endeavor. Or group is studying faith and money and how the two work together. We made a video some time back and you can watch it here.
Anyway, we figured if we were going to look at faith and money in other countries (India and Brazil) it made sense we needed to study how faith and money have influenced each other here in Alabama. Since pretty much our whole group comes from (and serve) middle to upper class churches, our real task would be connecting to poverty.
That is why we are on a week long "module" called a pilgrimage of pain and hope. Part of our time includes being with the poor of Birmingham. Another but of time will be with poor of west Alabama. Yet the end of the week will take us onto sand mountain.
I've heard people joke that Alabama is God's country. Sometimes they mean it's beautiful. Other times they mean no one else would want it.
I don't really plan on trying to live off food stamps. I do hope that my experience will give me a greater understanding of people who do. Some others in our group are tasked with washing clothes, selling plasma, or going for day labor. My friend quipped before bed, "I'm a little afraid we will go for work and I won't know how to do anything."
Funny, right? I'm not even sure where you go to get for stamps, much less how to get there when you don't have any money or a car. Believe me, I've been praying. Even as someone who can say I have both faith and money - I'd bet I'll find Jesus tomorrow where I've not really tried before.
I'll try to keep you updated.