Friday, February 8, 2008

A Bono Looking Church?

Hello blogg'n buds,

Well, I got a little flack from a few of you for claiming that the Product (RED) Campaign is a powerful Kingdom movement. Several wondered how something intertwined with consumerism could be called "Kingdom." One worried that I was subtly endorsing consumerism by endorsing Product (RED). And someone suggested that the Product (RED) Campaign would be more authentically Kingdom if people were encouraged to simply sacrifice for those in need, without getting clothing or other merchandise out of the deal.

Okay, let me explain.

Of course
it would be much more Christ-like if people sacrificially gave money to help people in need without getting anything in return. But most western people aren't going to do that. And besides, there's already plenty of venues available for people who are willing to do this.

What most western people are going to do is continue to buy lots of stuff. At the same time, most western people on some level would like to help out people in misery. Bono ingeniously thought of a way to combine these motives, cash in on his celebrity status, and relieve a lot of suffering in the world. He didn't rely on government to address these issues. He just did it.

What would happen if the Church, as a whole, approached issues with Bono's mindset? What if we just did what Jesus called us and empowered us to do? What would happen if Jesus followers around the world were willing to live outrageously generous self-sacrificial lives? What would happen if a majority of Christians asked the question of how they could use whatever advantages they have to benefit disadvantaged people? And what would happen if the global Church were united enough to pool its ingenuity and resources to help impoverished and afflicted people, for the glory of God, without having to rely on government?

I submit we would do a thousand times more than all the governments of the world combined could do. This is how we are to advance God's will "on earth as it is in heaven" and advance the Kingdom of God.

Sadly, it seems insanely naive to entertain this vision of the Church even for a moment. While there are beautiful examples of Jesus-looking individuals and movements throughout history and yet today, the Church on the whole has for centuries been fragmented, impotent, uncreative and self-indulgent. The Church has not often transformed its surrounding culture by doing what Jesus commanded and empowered it to do, namely, manifesting his servant love to hurting people.

Consequently, the only kind of power most Christians see making an actual difference in the world is political power, which is why so many Christians think it's their job to grab as much of this kind of power as possible. And so we find ourselves in the tragically ironic position of being a profoundly broken Church, doing little of what Jesus did and little of what he told us to do, while being obsessed with fixing government, which is something Jesus never did or told us to do.

Maybe shooting to be like Jesus is too much of a stretch for us right now. But perhaps we could set our sites on Bono?

"Lord, fix us, for we are profoundly broken."