Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Hole In Our Gospel

I've been brought to my knees as I've been reading the powerful book, "The Hole In Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns (president of World Vision).

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." He was referring to the white pastors and the white Christian church.  Surely, they would stand with him and defend him as the black/white issues of the day were issues of mercy and justice - things Jesus stood for.

But the white church was largely silent. In fact, some pastors called Dr. King a "tool of the devil". Of course, some white believers stood for and with Dr. King, but the silence of his "friends" was deafening.

When the AIDS crisis first began making headlines, the Church stayed silent for way to long.  Those not silent were largely critical. Some said AIDS was God's curse on the homosexual community, and the disease was what they deserved.  Where was the compassion, the love, the mercy? 

I'm happy to report that more and more believers are rising up to meet the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of AIDS patients, but we are still falling so short. We fall short in taking care of the hungry, the poor, the uneducated, and the broken.

There are hungry and homeless Christ-followers living in abject poverty all over the world. They are our brothers and sisters - they are God's kids. We sit here in America on our fat wallets and in our comfortable homes and we do little. 

Here are some startling statistics as outlined in "The Hole In Our Gospel":

  $168 billion - The extra money available if all American churchgoers tithed.

  $705 billion - Amount Americans spend on entertainment and recreation.
  $179 billion - Amount spent by teenagers ages 12-17 (2006).
  $65 billion - Amount we spend on jewelry.
  $58 billion - Amount spent on state lottery tickets (2007).
  $39.5 billion - Total U.S.-government foreign assistance budget for the world.
  $31 billion - Amount sent on pets (2003).
  $13 billion - Amount spent by Americans on cosmetic surgery (2007).
  $5 billion - Total overseas ministries income to 700 Protestant mission agencies, including denominational, interdenominational, and independent agencies (2005).

Further, "Universal primary education for children would cost just $6 billion; the cost to bring clean water to most of the world's poor, an estimated $9 billion; and basic health and nutrition for everyone in the world, $13 billion." - A Hole In Our Gospel

We've got to get off the pew and stop sitting silently in our big fancy churches. We complain about music and preaching styles. We gossip about the people whose kids are rebelling. We do all this while our brothers and sisters in Christ who happen to live on the other side of the world (or maybe next door) are dying at an alarming rate - from preventable diseases like MALNUTRITION!! It is shameful.



  1. there is a good church curriculum that goes along with the book -

    There is also a six week challenge which helps you "make poverty personal" by wearing the same clothes for 2 days, carrying a bucket a water for a mile, etc at

  2. Yes, I've seen that both of those things are available.

    I've spent time in tiny villages in Africa as well as impoverished neighborhoods right here in my own backyard. Opportunities to serve are all around, May our eyes be opened.

    Thank you!