Friday, August 11, 2006

Sermon from a Rock Star

The biggest surprise of the WCA Leadership Summit so far has been a video interview with U2's Bono. I was prepared to be underwhelmed based on nothing but other's derision of his do-gooder attitude and misrepresentation of his statements and my general disregard of the integrity, intelligence and relevance of celebrities. I was persuaded in spite of myself.

This is a man whose Christianity is real, and who shares my disdain, frustration and disappointment in the church in general who act as if sin is a surprise to God, and who measure certain sins and appearances as vitally important and either don't understand or don't practice grace and mercy. These are the part of the body of Christ who seem prone to anger at sinners, who look at the world and expect Ward and June Cleaver. These are the same people who have made themselves irrelevant in this world. They are the salt that has lost its savor. They are who I am terrified of becoming and who I am ashamed to have been.

Bono sees a church that has refused to be part of the problem of worldwide poverty, pandemics such as AIDS, injustice, segregation, racism, and who look at the sin of corporate greed as somehow less important--less sinful than sexual immorality.

Measure me. See if I live what I believe. At the moment I do not. Oh, I support Compassion, but I haven't visited a prisoner in ages. I haven't visited the hospitalized, the elderly, feed the hungry, given drink to the thirsty, clothed the poor, comforted the fatherless and widows. At least not much, and not as a regular part of my life. Hold me accountable. I must seek out opportunities to visit the imprisoned and to care for the homeless, the poor, the sick.

I am challenged once again to live my faith. Not merely to show grace and mercy to the fallen, but to be the hands and arms and feet of God.

We have been so blessed in this country, how are we going to use those blessings to ease the suffering of the world? How am I going to use my resources to ease the suffering of the world? Is this the primary source of my depression? Is it that I have made no impact in my world? I feel in me the longing for greatness--not as some would define it, but for relevance, for impact. My small life is a waste of the goodness and mercy of God. I have received too much from my Creator to keep it to myself.

Once I heard Rush Limbaugh talk about the tendency for Americans to rush for Prozac to cure their depression without taking the time to work out what is really bothering them and making changes in their lives. Now I confess that I don't necessarily want to pattern my life after El Rushbo, but I have thought a lot about that statement, particularly in light of my recent gloom. I am taking serious stock of what I want to do with the rest of my life and how I want to accomplish it.

Hopefully, if I have done this right, you will now see a banner on this page for This organization is working to really make a difference in global poverty. Joining together we can speak out together for the cause of justice as I believe Scripture talks about--cancelling the debt of the poor, and helping the impoverished, the widows and orphans. Let us no longer simply make lip service and call out "Brother, be warmed and filled," then go on our way feeling as if we have done our part. The only difference between the sheep and the goats is what they did and didn't do. Look up the organization. If you still want to know more about why I am supporting this organization after checking them out, ask me. No pressure on you at all. I just want to keep it real and let you know what I'm thinking about.

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