O Me of Little Faith

Thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday’s “ideas needed” post. I’ve passed your suggestions along to the church guy and they are much appreciated…and might eventually be implemented. Who knows?

Since you were so helpful yesterday, I’d like to pose another question and see how you might respond to it. Because I’ve written a few advice books — Pocket Guide to Adulthood for 20somethings and A Guy’s Guide to Life for teens — I occasionally get sincere questions about certain issues from readers. I can’t answer all of them, but I do try to answer a few as I have time.

Yesterday I received the following email from a young man who is a senior in high school and seems to be pretty thoughtful. Read his questions below. (He’s agreed to allow me to post this, though I’ve edited out any identifying stuff to keep it anonymous.)

If you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear what you might say in response.


Dear Jason,

Recently I’ve had a growing sense of frustration with the American Church in general and value your advice (and I’ll try to not make sweeping generalizations where one bad experience labels Christians everywhere).

But recently my Humanities class took a look at the genocide, cruelty and injustice that has ravaged the Darfur region of Sudan. My heart broke for the people as they related tale after tale of rape, murder, slaughter and starvation. One PBS video criticized the UN and Bush’s administration for essentially ignoring or understating the problem, but in disgust I asked, “Where is the church? Where are the advocates of the orphan and widow, the hands and feet of God reaching to the least of these?” I can’t help but question our incentives as we construct multi-million dollar facilities, skate parks, game rooms, and coffee shops that are built for our own comfort, while the world is bleeding all around us. Couldn’t those resources be better used to hold our palms against their wounds and cater to the needs of the hurting?

Not that I am above that affluence; as I write this I gorge myself on a plate of chicken in the comfort of a large home and later plan to drive in my truck that costs thousands of dollars. I don’t know, I guess my point is that I struggle to see the practicality of the extravagant money spent of making our churches comfortable. I know that the rich need to be ministered to, but wasn’t the only thing Paul and Barnabas were asked to do was to remember the poor, the very thing they were eager to do? As I read the gospels, it appears to me that things like comfort, fashion and entertainment weren’t very important to Jesus. I’ll be the first to admit to my own greed, pride and lust for comfort and the plank in my own eye; but should or shouldn’t our churches prioritize service to the hurting and poor community? Is there a balance in there somewhere?

That’s what’s been on my heart lately and I can’t really figure it out, and I appreciate you taking the time to look at this.


Serious questions. How would you respond?

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