This afternoon I found this quote online from Stephen Baldwin, an actor who calls himself a born again Christian:
"You would do far more good if you preached the gospel of Jesus, rather than trying to get Third World debt relief, God will take care of that Third World country. Get back to your calling, Bono."
First of all, dissing Bono is a great way to piss off a lot of people really fast.
Second, have you read your bible lately?
"Every third year you must offer a special tithe of your crops. You must give these tithes to the Levites,
foreigners, orphans, and widows so that they will have enough to eat in your towns." -Deuteronomy 26:12
"`Cursed is anyone who is unjust to foreigners, orphans, and widows.'" -Deuteronomy 27:19
"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in
their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us." -James 1:27
And what better way could we describe the wreckage left behind by AIDS and poverty in the Third World than "widows and orphans"?
Or how about:
"Then these righteous ones will reply, `Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and
give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did
we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' And the King will tell them, `I assure you, when you did
it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" -Matthew 25:37-40
Would ending Third World debt not act as a way to feed the hungry?
And what about the founders of our faith:
"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary use words" -St. Francis of Assisi
What a narrow view of the redeeming work that God wants to work through us to perform that Stephen is presenting!
God doesn't just want to hear an acknowledgement of His name, he wants to restore the creatures and the earth that He created to their original splendor and he gives US the honour of working along side Him in that restoration of beauty. Not only does He want to restor our hearts but our bodies (heaven is described as a place with no more sickness in Revelations... I'm thinking God meant AIDS too) and our environment. And ANY work that contributes to achieving this is a work for God, whether the individual doing it knows it or not.
Don't close your eyes to suffering and injustice saying God will talk care of it... God IS taking care of it, He's sending Bono, He's sending you, He's sending me....