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Book Review: The Hole In Our Gospel

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Women Living Well Blog: Book Review: The Hole In Our Gospel

Women Living Well Blog

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Book Review: The Hole In Our Gospel

Richard Stearns, the President of World Vision has a new book out titled "The Hole In Our Gospel". As I cracked open this nearly 300 page book I found a biography of a man that compelled me. Richard was a godly husband and father to 5 children and was the President of Lenox China before giving up his Jaguar, large home, and large salary to become the President of World Vision. He went from living the country club lifestyle to sitting in grass huts in Uganda feeding children who are starving. Why? Why did he give up the American dream?

Richard told the story of a pastor friend who went through the Bible literally cutting out with scissors, all the verses on poverty and then when he preached on poverty, he held his ragged, tattered Bible in the air and said "Brothers and sisters, this is our American Bible; it is full of are all the Biblical texts we ignore."

Richard goes into full detail about the epidemic of poverty in our world that American Christians just simply ignore. 26,500 children will die today due to causes related to poverty - whether it's starvation, dirty water, ravages of war, disease or AIDS. That's the equivalent of 100 jet liners crashing just today! He knows how Americans value our airplanes and hate to see one crash - so he compares the statistic to a plane wreck.

If we hear the story of a child dying in a car accident - we are sad for the family. But if we learn that it is our next door neighbor's child who died we are deeply grieved for the family. And if our own child dies - well - our world is turned upside down. For some reason we place less value on the children dying half way around the world than we do our own children - but GOD DOES NOT!

Oh, this book was so convicting as it told stories of children eating dirt patties with butter to ease their starving bellies. As I imagined the orphans of the AIDS epidemic spending most of their day looking for food and retrieving dirty water - I felt convicted about my own children and how they turn their noses up at their peanut butter and jelly sandwich that doesn't have the crust cut off!

What does God expect us to do about all this poverty? Richard reminds us of Matthew 25 where Jesus speaks of judgement day. Jesus says that the criteria for dividing the sheep from the goats will be:

"When I was hungry you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me."

The righteous ask "when did we see you hungry Lord?" And Jesus replied "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine , you did for me. Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink..." And the righteous went to eternal life.

Wow - did you catch that? - the people who did not feed the hungry or give drink - went to eternal fire! God has a pretty STRONG opinion on what he expects us to do - wouldn't you say??? If you are like me - you spend much of your Christian days trying to do what is right as a mom, wife and servant in the church - avoiding the really bad sins. But this "squeaky clean" approach is not what God is looking at on judgement day. God is not just looking at our faith - but our evidence of our faith - and specifically - how we helped the poor.

I have to admit and be open here - this book completely humbled me - at one point in the book - I literally stopped reading and said out loud "shut up!" and began to cry. I am deeply grieved by my failure in this area.

I have shared much of my reading with my husband and children and I hope to make some strides forward in this area as a family - the task is so overwhelming but this one quote motivates me to try - "Don't fail to do something because you can not do everything."

I recommend this book and also want to encourage you to go to World Vision's website to see if there is anything that you can do to help those in need.

Walk with the King!



Blogger Mom24Blessings said...

It seems like the spirit is really speaking to me in this area. Every time I turn on the radio or open my bible this topic come up. The book sounds great I will have to put that on my reading list.

May 28, 2009 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Courtney, I loved your post today. It touched me as I have a little Guatemalan girl who was orphaned in my home as my daughter!!!! PTL! Going to Guatemala I saw first hand how some of these children live. SAD!! It has changed me forever. We also sponsor a little girl in Guatemala as a family, and it has been good for my girls too. We have a photo of our 3rd daughter (sponsored child) in our family room in a frame. She is a part of our family. We pray for her, send her a little something for her birthday and Christmas, and the girls write her letters/color pictures. We hope to meet her one day when we go back to Guatemala as a family to show our Sofia her birth country.

I might have to get this book as we could do soooooooo much more!!!!

May 28, 2009 at 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Nina said...

You know, I can't help but see the irony when people in this country talk about starving children in other countries. What about the starving children in this country? Are they any less then the starving children of another country?

People in this country have lied to themselves and taken the unjust attitude that it is the fault of the parents when a child is in poverty. The parent made a wrong choice or didn't work hard enough.

How can you take care of poverty in another part of the world when you don't take care of what is going on in your own back yard.

How hypocritical and ungodly.

Jesus never looked at the hungry or sick around him and then turned his back. He never went to another part of the world and took care people needs when he knew it was a person in need right in front of him.

May 28, 2009 at 11:23 PM  
Blogger Courtney said...

Nina - Thank you for your comment. I've done missions work in South America and I've done missions work in America - (for a year I worked in the poorest neighborhood in Chicago, Cabrini Green.) My personal opinion is that the poverty level in America is no comparison to the poverty levels of other countries.

I can't answer for others, but as I wrote in the 4th paragraph of my blog post - God values all the children of the world equally.

God Bless,

May 29, 2009 at 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Terri said...

Amen Courtney!!

May 29, 2009 at 2:24 PM  
Blogger Mom24Blessings said...

Nina,while I agree we have the right and freedom to disagree with others-
Be very careful calling the godly, ungodly and what is pure and noble, hypocritical! You don not want to stand before a holy God calling his righteous people unrighteous!

May 29, 2009 at 4:21 PM  

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