Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Book Review: The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns

I passed up the opportunity to review this book once already. I wasn't sure what the "hole" could possibly be in our gospel. That title could have so many meanings. So let me clear it up for you. The hole in our gospel is quite simply the fact that we all too often pass by the beggar at the gate rather than stop to help the man. We argue that we don't have money, or time, or means to help the man and that someone else should help him who is better equipped.

But, Stearns points out throughout the book that the job is ours and not someone else's. We as Christians are to do what Jesus would do. Jesus would not pass by the man, but help him in whatever way he could at that moment.

Richard Stearns is the President of World Vision. You hear about World Vision a lot throughout the book, and at some points feel your are being sold on World Vision, but the sales pitch isn't to donate to World Vision. The sales pitch is to listen to and follow the calling God lays on our heart, no matter what that may be. Stearns uses his experiences throughout his life and as President of World Vision to highlight exactly what he means. His stories are poignant, and I was reaching for tissues on more than one occasion.

The stories are of individuals living in the situation that he is writing about whether that be about disease, lack of water, or poverty. The stories, as he explains, are meant to break down the statistics that make it so hard for us to comprehend the plight of those in South America or Africa. The stories do just that. They tear at the heart strings and make you ask yourself, "why didn't I know this before."

The last half of the book is about ways in which you can make the world a better place. He talks about ways other churches and individuals have worked together and on their own to achieve the calling God placed on their heart. In many cases, it did not mean packing up and heading to Africa. These people made a difference in the jobs and from their homes. But, they heeded the calling.

And the last chapter, gives you step by step instructions on how to get involved and how to get others involved. You are not left empty handed.

In the last chapters, Stearns talks about the calling of missionaries and equates it to becoming a radioactive Christian. The radioactivity builds to a point that is boils over, meaning that God's calling reaches a fervent pitch and you pack up your belongings and take the Gospel elsewhere. I found myself asking if I am a radioactive Christian. But, even more importantly I found myself asking if those who I sit next to in church are radioactive Christians. I am proud to say that while I may not yet be radioactive, I am working that direction. And those I sit with in church are on the same patch as I am. A radioactive nightmare for Satan is brewing in our small town. I can't wait to see what happens when it explodes!!