Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Boy, Aren't We American's Swell?!

Over the past several weeks, there has been much fomenting in the Blogosphere regarding the One Campaign, the G8 Conference, and Live8.

Not to be the guy who is left out, I am taking a brief break from my church musings (I might still have more to say, but I am not sure) to give you a measure of cognitive dissonance over the whole African aid issue.

To start off, David Smith seems to be all in a lather about the One Campaign, claiming that corruption is at the root of all evil in Africa. He is probably right, but sometimes I have a hard time reading because of this log in my own eye, you know?

Then we have Doug Payton at Stones Cry Out commenting that Americans are really generous. I have read this before, I believe in the Wall Street Journal, and other places, and this concept makes me feel strange. We are generous, isn't that nice of us? Come to think of it, we are also clean, brave, thrifty, and reverent (well, sort of), we Americans. Please reference the graphic above, as it is self congratulation time. Oh wait, I forgot to mention that we Americans are also humble. As a matter of fact, in scientific studies, Americans were found to be 15 times more humble that any other major population occupying a land mass north of the Equator.

Alright, I am sorry, the sarcasm is getting too thick. But in response, I want to share with you this (HT to Tod Bolsinger) which for me, captures what really should be happening. I just have to quote my favorite paragraph:

Why appeal to government when the church is a far better resource? John L. and Sylvia Ronsvalle, authors of The State of Church Giving Through 2001, note that if American Christians gave 10 percent of their income to support the work of the church, it would provide $143 billion to equip the church to do what she is called to do. Why ask for a measly $25 billion when the American church has more money and can directly support those private groups charged with addressing the greatest needs in the most effective ways? This approach allows governments to focus on things like building infrastructure and securing peace and justice.

So, is the church a better resource? What you say? No?! What is wrong with us self-congratulatory American Christians? When will the church stand up and become something more than an institution, but rather a living, breathing vessel of the transformational Christ? When will we stop sitting on our wallets and open them? Perhaps then, those around us who sit on the sidelines and giggle at our little church silliness (as I have been recently discussing, and have been a part of myself) will begin to see a community of Believers that actually can and do make a difference? Oh, and if that is not enough, you might want to get a hold of this (it is amazing), because it seems there are a lot of non-Christian folk who are doing work that is more redemtive than a lot of church folk can often do.

Stepping down off my soap box now. Thanks for letting me rant.
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