Intro and Prologue. Rich comes out swinging.

I know we technically start next week with Chapter 1, but as I found myself getting back into this book and reading through the Introduction and Prologue I realized that even in these beginnings I am challenged and motivated and yes, moved to tears. With many of you expressing to me that you’ve begun reading The Hole In Our Gospel and that you are excited about it I thought we could start discussing even this. I don’t know about you but I’m learning a lot about me – even the 2nd time around.

I love that the very beginning of this book challenges us on our foundation. What is our foundation that we build our perspectives off of? What is the lens that we view not only the world through but our part in the world?

The Johnny Cash lyric, “You’re so heavenly minded, you’re no earthly good” made me stop and think. I am really focused a lot on personal growth and development. Am I any earthly good? Am I making a conscious choice to be earthly good?

It continued in my thoughts as Rich challenged us, “When we committed ourselves to following Christ, we also committed to living our lives in such a way that a watching world would catch a glimpse of God’s character…” Do I truly know God’s character? What do the people I know who don’t share the same beliefs as me – what do they know about God through me? Not what do they know about ME, but about the creator whom I claim to serve? I can answer what I hope they know, but honestly, I’ve never thought to ask. Do I even have the guts to ask?? Am I scared of the answer?

Have you ever asked?

And then comes along little Richard who lives in Rakai, Uganda. Thankfully Rich knows through his own experience how easy it is for me to check out when times get tough. When I am faced with little kids like Richard who at 13 is raising his two brothers, watched his parents die of AIDS, walks past their graves every day… well I have done so many times in the past what Rich did. “When such things intruded, as they rarely did, a channel could be changed, a newspaper page turned, or a check written to keep the poor at a safe distance.”

How did he know? How did he know it’s what I wanted to do? What I have done? Kids dying in India and the man in the pulpit is so passionate about it preaching and sharing. Well, I write a check. I’ve done my part. And walk out of the sanctuary, satisfied that I’ve done my part.

I am LOVING that Rich doesn’t allow it. Who among those that I live life with sees that check (or even knows that) and attributes it to the character of who the living God is? Rich does NOT allow me to check the box and ease my conscious. Dang, again, this book simply won’t allow it. And while it hurts to be faced with my own reality of who I am, what I have done (or not done), and if it is enough – it is necessary.

I did a google image search of rakai uganda. It brought the message home. Images filled with little Rich’s. It can be haunting, and maybe should be. Images filled with little Rich’s who stake their claim on a Jesus they love. Who “love to read the book of John, because it says that Jesus loves the children.”

Gah. That’s the Jesus he loves. Do I? Yeah. I do. So, what am I going to do about it? If through me people know God’s character, do they know how much He loves the children?

There are so many questions that even while I know the answers, they are so hard to type out and it’s because I don’t like the answers. Here’s the great thing about grace, I’ve got time to change them. And in the course of it all, hopefully change a few lives too.

What about you? Was there anything that stopped you in your tracks? That you liked? Or didn’t? Agreed with or not? Let’s discuss!

*Photo credit Lightstalkers.org

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “Intro and Prologue. Rich comes out swinging.

  1. So loved the intro and prologue too. Am anxious to keep reading. In the middle of reading large statistics about the need in the world – it’s hard to feel like I can do anything about the millions – this quote encouraged me: “Two thousand years ago, the world was changed forever by just twelve. It can happen again.” Those twelve weren’t super qualified, had excess income or more spare time…any of the things sometimes I throw up as a defense to action. What they had is what I can have if I choose: a willing heart, hands and feet that will take action, and most importantly, a soul that listens to and has been shaped by Jesus.

    • Susan, that quote really encouraged me also. I was reading in John this am the prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples and for believers and thought about this quote again. Really, it just takes us being willing. We don’t have to be Bill Gates and have that span of influence. God can do the miraculous with the small.

  2. This line from the Introduction really stood out for me: “And if Jesus was willing to die for this troubled planet, maybe I need to care about it too. Maybe I should love the people who live on it more.” I know he died for me, but I often forget that every person I meet is a child of God. He died for them. There is no room for my judgments in His love.

    I was also moved by the suggestion that each of us ask God to use us in a way that will change the world. What an awesome prayer that clearly puts God’s will first.

    • Definitely an awesome prayer. Do we sometimes shoot to low? I don’t know that I’ve ever asked to be used to change the world. My family, my friends, my surroundings… the immediate. Not the world. But who says we can’t?

      • Kim

        I don’t think I’ve ever asked God to use me (little old me) to change the world. If I’m honest, I know it’s fear that keeps me from taking action (especially in a third-world country). My heart truly breaks. I also think of the person who led Billy Graham to Christ. That person probably never prayed to touch the world, but look with what God has done through that one. We never know who we might be touching…..

      • You don’t give yourself enough credit, the strength you have friend. The lineage (?) of the individuals who connected that ultimately led Billy Graham to make a decision of his faith is astounding. I also wonder who these little children are that God has given to me either for a lifetime or for the moment and how can/will the words I use, what I do, the love I show them change the world?

  3. Allison

    brooke, I really liked that quote as well. There was some talk in the introductory sections about how as Christians we can become very focused on heaven. Its important. But we also need to think about here and now and how all of god’s children deserve a physical quality of life that is equal to what those of us who are more priviliged have. The quote by Bob Pierce struck me. “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” Being willing to feel (and feel uncomfortably) for others, is huge. As he said, aren’t we usually focusing our prayers on asking for heartbreak to be taken away? But what if we could be the ones to alleviate some heartbreak?

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