Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns

I missed the discussion led by Ken Kolenbrander and Anne Donovan the day this book was discussed so I didn’t hear whatever they had to say about it. Since then my good friend Ausma loaned me her copy to read. I have just finished and while it is still fresh I will attempt to state what I gleaned from it.
It was well written and clearly stated the needs of the people of the world but more importantly described how their condition could be improved if only those of us proclaiming to be Christian actually began to live as Christians. I include myself in this condemnation as there were many times in my life when I looked the other way. Without being too hard on myself I did my best to provide for my family, my company, our employees, our customers and our community. We were always active participants in our church and made contributions with treasure and talent whenever we could. I only share these thoughts as all thru the book Mr. Stearns asks us to think in terms of individuals with the sure conviction that if we did we could change the world.
There is a chapter on Time, Talent and Treasure. It matters not if we are billionaires we can make a difference. There are some at Rosemont that work in soup kitchens. Others visit the sick and offer friendship and companionship. There are many ways to help others less fortunate than ourselves.
There was a study made that is mentioned in the book. It compared the lives of people who claimed to be born again Christians and Atheists. Their behavior was very similar, much of which was not to be admired. He takes from this that words don’t determine actions but good works do. He insists that faith is foremost but also that faith without good works is empty. He points out the staggering sum that could be amassed if Christians as a dedicated group would tithe and give a substantial portion to improve the lives of those less fortunate than ourselves.
I am going to close by saying that most of us consider that we are a Christian Nation. If that is so, why do we spend staggering sums on armaments of all kinds? How can this be doing Christ’s work in this world? A tiny portion used properly could help to improve lives and reduce hatred among nations and religions. Our government thinks granting loans so countries can purchase arms from our protected defense industries, is being of benefit. I say no. Help dig wells, build school houses, treat the sick and show them how to be self sufficient, the benefit of that type of program would be beneficial and who knows we just might increase harmony throughout the world. Perhaps even other religions might want to participate in humanitarian programs as well.
The HOLE he refers to is the lack of carrying out God’s promises. Mouthing platitudes and singing in the Choir on Sunday just isn’t enough. I hope many of you will read this book and further that discussion groups probe it further.

Jack B. Walters
May 22, 2010

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