The President of World Vision, Richard Stearns, has written a book about what he calls a missing piece of western (mostly American) Christianity. If one quote can sum up the book it’s this:
“…being a christian requires much more than just having a personal and transforming relationship with God. It also entails a public and transforming relationship with the world.”
This is what he calls The Hole In Our Gospel. He’s referring mostly to poverty and international humanitarian aid.
It’s an incredibly inspiring book. If “how-to” is a genre of literature, this book is across the room on the “why-to” shelf. It really makes you want to get up and do something about the poor conditions that the vast majority of people actually live in every day.
Like I said before, this book is very inspirational. Some of the stats are incredibly eye-opening. He writes a great story. The message is general enough for almost all Christians. His message really seems to be coming from a place of true authenticity.
It’s not very helpful if you’re looking for a “how-to” book. He touches on how harmful pure hand-outs can be, but doesn’t make the point clear enough.
Focusing almost exclusively on the afterlife reduces the importance of what God expects of us in this life.
If we truly love God, [Jesus] was saying, we will express it by loving our neighbors, and when we truly love our neighbors, it expresses our love for God. The two loves are fully interconnected and intertwined.
God does not call the equipped, he equips the called.
Almost all poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options.
Frankly, giving things to the poor does much more to make the giver feel good than it does to fundamentally address and improve the condition of those in need.
We must never see poverty or justice as “issues” that need solutions; rather we must see the human beings at the heart of those issues as people who need and deserve our love and respect.
The total income of American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion. It would take just a little over 1 percent of the income of American Christians to lift the poorest one billion people in the world out of extreme poverty.
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.
We have reduced the gospel to a mere transaction involving the right beliefs rather than seeing in it the power to change the world.