Last night was our last session of The Hole in Our Gospel Bible study, as designed by Rich Stearns, CEO of World Vision. I was sad to see it end. Even though I said nothing profound in last night’s study, I really enjoy being with people who feel the same urgency I do to get out and act. They make me believe in 6 impossible things before breakfast. I enjoy listening to their different viewpoints and experiences. Even in a small group, we have many differing opinions on how best to help the poor. Which makes sense: poverty is a complex issue and will have a complex answer.
In true Methodist fashion, we formed a committee, analyzed the issue, took up a collection, and ate tasty snacks. (I love being a Methodist.) But we did more than that – we started to making concrete plans to go out and physically do something as a group. Moving one’s wallet and moving one’s feet are both important steps in combating poverty.
We all agreed on this: we’ve got to leap in and do something, now. I know I for one tend to abide by Newton’s 1st Law of Motion: bodies at rest tend to stay at rest, unless acted on by a force. But going through this study, I feel a delightful sense of…restlessness. Jesus brings like peace like a river, sure, but can’t he also give us itchy feet? Can’t he be the Force punting our bodies into motion? (No Star Wars connotations intended.)
At the end of the short Hole in Our Gospel video (we watch one every week to warm us up) I felt like shouting, “Amen, let’s do this thing!” Because Newton’s 1st Law of Motion can also work for us: Bodies in motion tend to stay in motion.
One of the big things I am taking away from this study is how service to humanity is one of the best evangelical tools we have. Face it, the Church in America isn’t winning too many votes for Miss Congeniality these days. Not all the criticism is deserved, but one thing’s sure. We can’t convince people we love them just by telling them we do. We also have to back it up with doing. There’s this great quote in scripture, about how people will know we are Christians by how much we love each other. When people see and feel that, they’ll want to know more about who this Jesus guy is. In an age when Christians are labeled bigoted and intolerant (in a society that in the name of tolerance often tries to silence Christians, figure that one out), all it will take to start changing people’s perceptions is to act with authenticity, sacrificial giving, and love. Nothing kills a bad reputation like helping people who distrust or dislike you. It won’t always work (look at Jesus), but it certainly can change the world (look at Jesus).
I have heard this era referred to as “post-Christian.” That’s scary. Who wants to be irrelevant? Christians should never fear death; we should fear the wasted life. We can’t be bodies at rest. Or as Mark Lowry would say, “the frozen chosen.”