Thursday, October 20, 2005

That prophetic vision....

My daughter is visiting from Minneapolis where she has been working as an intern and now has been asked to be on staff with an intercity outreach called SOURCE. One evening I knocked on her bedroom door to see if she was awake; I found her reading an old book of mine, Ronald Sider’s Rich Christians in and Age of Hunger. I was surprised mostly because I had recently commented to a friend about the experience of reading the same book almost twenty years ago.The subject came up because I was reading Ronald Sider’s latest book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience: Why Are Christians Living Just Like the Rest of the World? I had exclaimed that the last time I had read one of Sider’s books I woke up in a cold sweat and in tears.

Rich Christians in and Age of Hunger, echoed the voice of the prophets, called believers to the age old message, before consumer Christendom and the prosperity teachings of Kenneth Hagin or Kenneth Copeland, the positive thinking of Norman Vincent Peale or Dr. Schuller’s, Hour of Power, before mega churches, that fishy symbol or tee-shirts and bumper stickers that told people that you were a Christian, “Not Perfect, but forgiven” or “God’s not through with me yet.” When gospel was more than “sin management” and “pearly gates,” before Gallop polls shouted hypocrisy! The gospel was to be lived out daily and we were called to serve those who are less auspicious…

In a real sense our concerns about the poor are revealed in how we spend our money. Jim Wallis says, “That prophetic vision reminds us that budgets are moral documents, revealing our true priorities, and must be judged morally, not just economically.”

In Leonard Sweet’s book, Soul Salsa I was reminded of the mistake of separating the issues of overpopulation and consumption. He points out that Americans seem to be conscious of the issue of overpopulation and are having fewer children, but that the average consumption of resources used to raise one child in the USA could provide for as many as twenty children in less affluent countries. That would translate into providing for forty children in comparison to the two children my wife and I have raised. Families with five children would be equal to one hundred and so forth.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

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