Last night I was reading Shane Claiborne's Irresistible Revolution, and came across this passage that struck me:
I will never forget one of the chapel services where Rich [Mullins] spoke while I was at Wheaton. Rich stood up in chapel and said, "You guys are all into that born again thing, which is great. We do need to be born again, since Jesus said that to a guy named Nicodemus. But if you tell me I have to be born again to enter then kingdom of God, I can tell you that you have to sell everything you have and give it to the poor, because Jesus said that to one guy too... [and he paused in the awkward silence.] But I guess that's why God invented highlighters, so that we can highlight the parts we like and ignore the rest."After that, Claiborne said, if Rich had lived longer, he probably would have been put on the list of Wheaton's blacklisted chapel speakers. When I read that to Josh, he laughed.
Shane said elsewhere in the book, after spending months working in Mother Teresa's ministry then going to an internship at Willow Creek & finishing up college at Wheaton:
I have come to see that the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that rich Christians do not know the poor.
This was basically the theme of the message Saturday. We in suburbia do not know the poor, and we do not care. If we did care, we'd do something about it. As our pastor said, our pocketbook follows our passions. If someone is passionate about the Colts, they'll spend any price on Ebay for Super Bowl tickets. If they're passionate about good food, they'll eat out at the finest restaurants they can afford. If they love cooking, they'll buy that top-of-the-line pan or knife set. If they're passionate about their pets, the costs for the pets' health care can go through the roof. Whatever it is... cars, woodworking, decorating, photography, movies, music... the pocketbook follows the passion. We are not really, truly passionate about the purposes of God.
I met people passionate about the purposes of God on Sunday. Josh & I went with a group from our church to a downtown church to serve dinner. In tow, I had the serves-20-people casserole I cooked for the occasion, which barely fit in my oven, (and was heavy! And took 3 jars of spaghetti sauce, 2 1/2 lbs of spaghetti, and 2 1/2 lbs of meat, among other things!). Before going to the church on 10th Street, we were briefed on what we were going to be doing & why at the house-turned-ministry-center our church owns. One lady put it this way: We do it because we're not right unless we do. These suburbanites get it. Their hearts are so turned toward the purposes of God that know they 'aren't right' unless they follow through on God's purposes.
The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried. - GK Chesterton.
I want to figure out what trying looks like.