Sunday, August 12, 2012

I just finished The Hole in our Gospel

So, I am working on getting Trades of Hope up and running.  I have completed three parties! I am excited about learning the business of home parties and learning more about Trades of Hope and our artisans.  I feel a little busy with work, home and the kids lately.  My seed here needs more watering and nurturing because.....drum roll..... I have a TV appearance in less than two weeks!  I also have a speaking engagement that I am thrilled about at my hometown church.  So, with all of that going on, I need to continue learning.  I just finished reading Richard Stearns' The Hole in Our Gospel.  This book was compelling and motivating through Richard Stearns' portrayal of the world crisis of hunger, poverty and injustice.  He is the president of World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, that works with families all over the world. 

In this book, Stearns relays one common message: God cares for the poor immensely, and a person claiming to love God should be living a life mirroring His care and love.  And, he suggests that we in American are coming up way short.  According to him, American Christians on average give away only 2% of their income to churches or charities. And only 2% of this 2% goes to fund international work- this equals only 0.04% of American Christian's total income. Understanding that, look at these terribly convicting numbers:

* The total annual income of American churchgoers: $5.2 trillion
* Amount available if each of them gave 10% of their salary: $520 billion
* Estimated annual cost to eliminate extreme poverty in the world: $65 billion
* Annual cost for universal primary education for ALL children in the world: $6 billion
* Annual cost to bring clean water to most of the world: $9 billion
* Annual cost to bring basic health and nutrition for the world: $13 billion
* Total to eradicate the world's greatest problems: $93 billion (1.8% of American Christian's income)
These are staggering statistics! This book left me wanting to do more. Please read this book if you have the opportunity.  Be warned though, this is not an incredibly easy read, he deals with difficult situations in the world that most of us (including me and Stearns admits that he did too at points in his life) would rather ignore. But the book ends with hope.  Not hope that the crisis will be solved, but hope that we can at least attempt change.  Stearns encourages you to do something because anything you can do helps even though you can't do everything.  I truly believe this will change the way you look at the world.  I do not readily endorse books and have no intention to blog book reviews, but this one is worth your time. 


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