reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bono on Christianity and poverty...

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 5 comments
This week, I've really enjoyed sorting out a new elective study module for Relay workers about Christians and Society - specifically Christians and poverty. I have loved re-reading this book
which might actually be my favourite Christian book ever, and reading this one for the first time. Lots of interesting and very moving stuff in there.

Today, after much hassling from my brother and lovely John who goes to my church I watched this (this is part 2 of 7 parts). Bill Hybels interviewing Bono about the world's poor and the church.

It was very very interesting.

Things I liked (apologies to Cara - there's that phrase again)
"Celebrity up-ends God's view of things - why is a film star more important than a nurse?" But even better "It is currency to spend, and I want to spend it on this campaign."

"Who is your neighbour?" This, it seems to me (as in me, Maurice, not me, Bono) is the key question. Jesus really actually does command me to love my neighbour. And then tells the story of the Good Samaritan to draw those boundaries very widely. Even more widely today when people's faces are beamed into my home to show me their suffering - doesn't that make them my neighbours? Anyway, loved Bono's straighforward love theology.

"Stop asking God to bless what you are doing, find out what he is doing - that's already blessed". Yes - a trusim, axiomatic, some might say, but nevertheless true and a useful principle for life.

"The peace that passes understanding inside is good, that does NOT mean peace with the world." Amen. I am not at peace with the world. Or at least, I shouldn't be.

Ok, I have something else to say though - there was one major thing I didn't like. Before that - context. I come into contact with a lot of people who are convinced of a theology that basically says evangelism is so much more important than helping the poor that it basically eclipses it. I want to convince these people that generosity to those under the sun is part of applying the doctrine of creation, AND is a model of God's grace in the Gospel, AND is a direct command for us to follow.

So here's my gripe, and I'm afraid it's going to annoy some of you. Why do calls to help the poor have to be surrounded with sloppy theology and poor exegesis? All it does is convince the people you are trying to win over that what you are saying has nothing to do with them! That is not helpful! Misquoting Matthew 25, taking Isaiah 58 as if it is written to us today, not a Jewish nation in history, making snide comments about the church, as if as a Christian you are permitted to sit in judgement on the church is not helping make the point. Nor does it help if you make "ending poverty" equal "what God is doing", or confuse us about what actually "brings the Kingdom" or make it sound like we have a binary choice between "grace" and "atonement". It makes the people who most need to be convinced, think that social action really is connected intrinsically to liberal theology!

Maybe I just sound like a grumpy old man. But honestly, I actually liked Bono much more than I thought I would. In this I am, mostly, on his side, although I think there is great danger in the church aligning itself with popular figures, and, perhaps, playing down the unpopular aspects of what we believe. Nevertheless, I believe that he and Hybels are doing a good and right thing here by calling the church to act. Sadly, I think what they do is make it seem like you have a choice between evangelical theology and social involvement. And that, my friends, is the last thing we need.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 5 comments

...when we look along the sunbeams to see the sun at the source. According to CS Lewis.

Some sun beams recently include:

Grace. Repeatedly. "Not the year I would have chosen" from many Relay workers but "the year when I saw God's undeserved kindness, that I have a righteousness from Jesus outside myself" from many more. What a privilege to listen to that 62+ times! It's my job!

Joseph. What a great TV show that was. Even though Ben should have won.

Proverbs: the adventure of life, working out the world in the fear of the Lord. Guarding our hearts. Trusting our Lord. Nice.

Doctor Who: David Tennant is the best Dr Who ever. Period. AND he's my celebrity lookie-likey too. Tonight's return of the Master was awesome.

Transformation not withdrawal - talking to the lovely Dan Strange about Public Theology.

Nghia's Jedi outfit.

Skulls coming to stay: fun and nice to catch up.

Finally, Ed's version of my Proverbs 5 talk - actually better than mine because he talks about Jesus.