Monday, October 11, 2010

The Hole in our Gospel

A fellow adoptive mom over at Coming Home issued a challenge a couple of weeks ago.  For every person who reads Richard Stearns' book, The Hole in our Gospel, and writes about it, she will donate $10 to her 8 year old son's campaign to raise enough money to build a well for clean drinking water in a village in Africa.  Helping to raise money for clean water for an entire village is a noble enough cause, but getting to read a book in the bargain is even better.

First, I want to tell you about how I came to even acquire this book.  When I signed up for the challenge, in the back of my head was the thought that I would have to order the book.  Money for ordering books on a whim is not usually part of our budget and I admit to a very slight grudging spirit about it.  I mentally put it on my list of things to get to and didn't think about it again for a couple of days.  Before I had a chance to order the book, I went into a mild cleaning frenzy over the amount of reading material that had stacked up on all surfaces in and around the kitchen.  I noticed a pile of books next to the CD player and wondered what they were and where they were going to live when I happened to notice what the books actually were.  The stack contained a brand new copy of the book I had agreed to read as well as small group material and an accompanying DVD.  J. had brought them home from work and I suddenly remembered him mentioning them when he set them down.  At the time I thought is was mildly interesting but now I was very interested.  It did feel a bit like a God moment.

So on to the book.  If you are tired of your somewhat comfortable middle-class existence, then you should read this book.  It will give you new eyes to see the world and perhaps the motivation to do something about it.  But if you are pretty content with your life... things are good, children are growing, finally making enough money to provide a little margin... not only should you read this book, you need to read this book.  I'll tell you up front, you won't like it.  But there are times that we need to do things that are good for us that we don't like, and this is one of them. 

Much of the book is uncomfortable to read.  We are pretty well insulated here in the United States, but that does not excuse us from not acting on behalf of human beings... people created in God's image, whom He loves... to help provide them with at least the minimum of things necessary for life:  clean water, enough food, and hope.  While the numbers and statistics were not new to me, and the stories about actual individuals were compelling, it was Mr. Stearns' (who is the president of World Vision) call to the Christian church to rise up as a whole and say enough to allowing our fellow human beings to suffer in abject poverty.

I want to share a quote which sums up what I am talking about.  (From pp 278-9)

"Picture a different world.  Imagine one in which two billion Christians embrace this gospel -- the whole gospel -- each doing a part by placing his or her piece into the puzzle and completing God's stunning vision of a reclaimed and redeemed world -- the kingdom of God among us.  Visualize armies of compassion stationed in every corner of our world, doing small things with great love.  Imagine the change.  Might the world take notice?  Would they ask new questions?  Who are these people so motivated by love?  Where did they come from?  Why do they sacrifice so to help those the rest of the world has forgotten?  Where do they find their strength?  Who is this God that they serve?  And most important, Can we serve Him too?  Can you imagine this different vision for our world?  Can you glimpse just now what God longs to see?"

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