Friday, April 20, 2007

Christianity for the Poor

I was disturbed by the recent hubbub concerning Don Imus' comments about the Rutgers University women's basketball team. Since shock-jocks are not entertaining to me anyway, I am not surprised by those types of comments. If anybody remembers, shock-jock Howard Stern was fired from a D.C. station for similar comments. Yet, he got a promotion and his own show out of the deal.

No, I am not disturbed about him. I am disturbed about Christians who don't seem to get it. I hear so much about helping the helpless, justice for the oppressed, and eliminating poverty around the world. Yet, the solutions are simply un-Christian or unworkable. Yes, there are grand plans, and efforts. But some Christians seem to be satisfied in self-absorbed comfort. There is a practice now of exercising feelings of care and concern with popular advocacy, organizational efforts, and worldly solutions. And in some cases, working with the ungodly to solve these issues.

What does this have to do with Don Imus? Simply that he exposes the hypocrisy of many who claim to care about the poor and the downtrodden. (Actually, "follow the money" is a good rule to remember in this case.)

Christians may not be the endorsers of racism or bad music lyrics, and many sincerely want to help the needy, but is that enough. The problem is that communities in the U.S. are being decimated by harmful thinking. Places throughout the world are being destroyed by real oppression, civil wars, and despots. We try to ship food and supplies all over the place, hoping that it will relieve the suffering, but do nothing about the real issues causing the suffering. And Christians even try to join in with the unbelievers to solve these issues, because "we all want to get along to solve common problems." Yet God does not call us to unite with the world. Rather we are called to be united as Christians.

We may believe that helping others can be divorced from moral teaching, sound doctrine, and the hope of Christ, but we are dead wrong. We may center our help around physical needs — which is really only a gateway to be heard — but miss the point entirely. The reality is in Christ, not our efforts. But we feel so good doing it, and it wins the approval of men.

Imus is not the real problem. Not even the nation's morality. The real problem is that sin in the human heart damns us all. We really have no hope, if all we have are our efforts. The solution is not physical, not in our own strength, nor contained in popular advocacy. (Psalm 147:10-11) It is in Christ alone with our faith in him alone that we can do anything. (John 15:1-8)

Do we believe this?

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