Friday, May 11, 2012

don't stop hoping

Do you ever get the feeling that you are, at your core, dramatically and comprehensively bogus? I do, a lot. Do you ever feel like hypocrisy inevitably follows in the wake of caring about anything? I do, a lot.

I profess to be greatly concerned about social injustice. And yet, as much as the wrongs happening in the United States today are real and urgent, the greatest evils in our world today are beyond our borders. The epicenters of poverty, discrimination, and oppression are not here in the United States. And I usually can't be bothered to read about these things, much less do something about them. I would much rather read an article about the presidential race than about poverty in southeast Asia. Which do you think God cares more about?

It is wrong to claim the title of "Christian" without purposely pursuing a sacrificial lifestyle. I've always been sneaky enough to meet some sort of bare threshold that could conceivably be described as sacrificial. But is it really? Isn't my life, in the end, a fairly typical American life?

We should fight injustice wherever we are. But if the epicenters of injustice are elsewhere, shouldn't we make more of an effort to go to them, and join with the people who are suffering? "Jesus gave it all" as the old hymn says, but we Christians, we "little Christ's," are allowed to claim his name while giving what's leftover after securing a comfortable American lifestyle.

Our pastor said Sunday that most of the Christianity he sees in America is like a vaccine, an inoculation. The way an inoculation works is you're given a watered down version of the virus so you can develop immunity to it, but not enough for it to take root and actually make you sick. Many of us live a watered down Christianity that makes it much harder for us to embrace the real thing when it comes along.

The next line of that old hymn says "All to him I owe." That's true, and you can't stop hoping that one day that belief will be more than just another way to be a hypocrite.

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