No More Self-Satisfied Christians

By Bill Hybels
I post my final response for this exchange with a tinge of sadness. I have never met Paul, but I find him to be a kindred spirit—albeit a much smarter and more well-read one.
His recent point about sanctifying society while we attempt to sanctify ourselves reminds me of a personal, sobering realization I made seven years ago. At the time, I was reading a book on racial reconciliation and found myself feeling pretty self-satisfied: I harbored no ill will toward anyone of color; I had scores of friendships spanning all sorts of racial and ethnic divides; and I encouraged everyone in my sphere of influence to be the very first person in every social setting to reach out a hand of fellowship and friendship to those of a different race or ethnicity.


In the midst of my smugness, I read a section of the book that challenged all Christ-followers to commit themselves to confronting every remaining vestige of structural injustice that oppresses any person of diversity, be it unequal public education systems, housing discrimination, or racial profiling.
I was humbled to tears.
Not contributing to racial tension is a far cry from dedicating myself—proactively and with great passion—to eradicating injustice altogether.
I prayed a prayer of repentance for my ignorance and arrogance and vowed that day that, in my own small way, I would attempt to leverage my God-given platform in defense of the grander vision of Dr. Martin Luther King and others who have loyally and nobly lived out his legacy. It’s an example, I think, of what Paul is arguing for—as he so eloquently said, that we as Christians would be marked by the lifelong process of trying to bring God’s will more fully into our lives. And I find myself wanting to high-five him—and his grandfather—for possessing the courage and confidence to grapple with a more robust and Christlike faith than the one for which most of us evangelicals have been willing to contend.
I hope that when I reach the end of my short time here on earth, I will have more to show than merely a tidied-up life (although given how much I sin, that would be quite an achievement). I hope that in some small way, the community I live in will shine a little brighter and be a tad more “just” than before I moved into it decades ago.
Thanks, Paul. You have bolstered my commitment to holistic ministry, and your grandfather’s classic book is on my desk, waiting for me to break it open on my flight to Europe next week.

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posted October 1, 2007 at 8:25 pm

Well, if you are leading a campaign against racism then why are the noose’s being hung everywhere?
Talk is cheap!
This is a time when America is separated more so than ever regarding race. I like to look at it like this, moving forward fast, back to the past.
I’m going to give a few words of wisdom, as Christians or evangelicals you need to run as far as you can from these politicians, trust me on this one. Christ is not going there with you. The last eight years of this administration has become successful at placing many at odds. America is involved in war overseas and now we are beginning to war (racially) at home. I think this administration has achieved what it set out to achieve. I think you will be satisfied when you see the blood of Blacks flowing through the streets. I am positive about one thing my Savior will never be a part of this.
Wiretapping innocent Americans phones and then spreading the dubbed conversation to the public. I feel so sorry for you so-called evangelicals that is so obsessed with politicians, it shows.
Now, I leave you with this,
Ephesians 5:12 Deuteronomy 29:29
You evangelicals have supported everything this administration is to blame for, the wiretapping innocent Americans phone and the revoking of this black womans rights when exposing my nakedness to the world. The Supreme Court did nothing and you evangelicals are all for whatever these republican politicians and judges do. Just peek a booing all over the place, corrupt. God have mercy on you!

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brian d

posted October 3, 2007 at 11:08 pm

all i can think,being lutheran,is…oh,this again.
justification by faith,not works …
yet, faith without works is dead…
and yet,thru personal experiance,
i can tell you that some are touched by faith
simply by witnessing acts of charity

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Sr Andrea Cohen

posted October 13, 2007 at 2:43 am

I appreciated your comments about how deeply responsible those of are that are awake and care about the earth, our brothers and sisters on it, and the message that Jesus taught regarding true love for one another.
Paul’s post discussed those Christians that focus on social causes – who have been criticized for loosing site of their ties to Christianity in the first place. I think there’s something to learn in that criticism. We have to feel Jesus and God in a real way – in our life, our attitide, and our heart for us to effect change on our planet. We need to commit to work on our own attitudes, emotional patterns, thoughts, feelings, and consciousness to create true and lasting peace. Not just being a good person – as you say. I, too, don’t want to reach the end of my life and meet Jesus and feel like I didn’t give 100%. Martin Luther King, Jr. did it – he gave all. He could have stepped down – he had that choice – and he stepped up and met the challenge – even when he knew his life was in danger. That attitude is what we are called to and asked to do. And the benefits of that choice will be true and lasting peace for us and other brothers and sisters on the planet.
Here’s a great peace blog for more about creating inner and outer peace.

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Deacon Christa

posted October 21, 2007 at 12:03 am

What is our responsibility as followers of Christ? I think our first responsibility is to do no evil, which is much easier said than done. When we gripe about people, out loud or in our heads, we are doing evil. When we tolerate racism, we are doing evil. When we go to bed at night and know that we live in a country where people are in despair and hunger, and we feel complacent, that is evil. When we think we are better than anyone at all, that is evil. But the next question is, how can we change this common reality? We first change ourselves. We change in the way the apostles changed: by putting God first above all things, especially family and tribal ties; by submitting ourselves to a spiritual teacher to whom we confess everything, so that we may be guided into healing and transformation; by seeing people as whole, as souls who are shining deep down inside and who are longing for the good news that they can be healed, they can know God and hear God, that God is inside them in the place where they are perfect. It is our prayer work and our work on our own hearts and minds that will change the world. It is our compassion and the light yoke of faith, hope and charity that we take on to follow Christ. It is knowing we are loved, and never allowing the evil of doubt to shake that knowing.
I thank you for this site and for the opportunity to hear and share. Blessings to you, and thanks for mentioning the Peace site, Andrea. Deacon Christa

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