Thursday, July 2, 2009

book recommendation

In my recent post about our Guatemala trip, I quoted Richard Stearns who is the World Vision U.S. President. He has written an amazing book called The Hole in our Gospel. Here's what the back of the book says:

"What does God expect of us? Is our faith just about going to church, studying the Bible, and avoiding the most serious sins- or does God expect more? Have we embraced the whole gospel or a gospel with a hole in it?

Ten years ago, Rich Stearns came face-to-face with that question as he sat in a mud hut in Rakai, Uganda, listening to the heartbreaking story of an orphaned child. Stearns' journey there took much more than a long flight to Africa. It took answering God's call on his life, a call that tore him out of his corner office at one of America's most prestigious corporations- to walk with the poorest of the poor in our world."

To read the first few pages of this book click here.

I was challenged, encouraged, and inspired by this book. I do believe that we have a hole in our gospel. That we are missing something in what it means to follow God. I have to believe that if God talks about poverty and justice over 2,000 times in the Bible, that it is important to Him. I have to take God seriously when He says:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Isaiah 58:6-7

Stearns writes:

"When historians look back in one hundred years, what will they write about this nation of 340,000 churches? What will they say of the Church's response to the great challenges of our time- AIDS, poverty, hunger, terrorism, war? Will they say that these authentic Christians rose up courageously and responded to the tide of human suffering, that they rushed to the front lines to comfort the afflicted and to douse the flames of hatred? Will they write of an unprecedented outpouring of generosity to meet the urgent needs of the world's poor? Will they speak of the moral leadership and compelling vision of our leaders? Will they write that this, the beginning of the twenty-first century, was the Church's finest hour?

Or will they look back and see a Church too comfortable, insulated from the pain of the rest of the world, empty of compassion, and devoid of deeds? Will they write about a people who stood by and watched while a hundred million died of AIDS and fifty million children were orphaned, of Christians who lived in luxury and self-indulgence while millions died for lack of food and water? Will schoolchildren read in disgust about a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics? In short, will we be remembered as the Church with a gaping hole in its gospel?

My faith demands- this is not optional- my faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.
-Jimmy Carter


JTP said...

What an interesting book- a must-read for the summer! Thank! and I love that Jimmy Carter quote... I can't wait to see where this takes you as a family!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's what I'm talking about, I think this is one of my top 3 most influential books I've read, it's so pointed and so profound! much love, Thrash