Tuesday, November 8

Credit goes to Mike Cope for pointing me towards this article by Tom Smith in Relevant magazine. Mike is a minister in Abilene, TX whose blog I read on a regular basis. Though I have met his brother and niece, I have never met Mike. But his blog is often insightful and thought-provoking.

Tom Smith's article starts like this:

I love experiments. A few years ago I wore my Jabez T-shirt in Colorado Springs. It said, "I prayed the prayer of Jabez for thirty days and the only thing I got was this lousy shirt." The reactions I got were truly amazing. Some people were furious while others thanked me.
A few weeks ago I embarked on another one of my ventures. The laboratory I chose was the local Christian bookstores in Johannesburg, South Africa. The experiment was really simple; I would browse the store in search of books on helping the poor and fighting AIDS. After I saw a million, "Here's how to use Jesus to make you more successful" titles, I would then ask the sales clerk or manager if they stock books about helping the hurting and helpless.
The first store's clerk looked confused when I asked the question, and the manager intervened and said, "If you find a book on the subject you should immediately buy it."
Two days later I took my science to a bookstore in another mall. I walked in with one of my seventeen year old friends, who happened to be someone who was on the receiving end of apartheid. I asked the clerk if they had books on poverty or AIDS. Nothing could have prepared me for the answer she gave me.
"No sir, this is a religious bookstore. I think you should try the secular bookstore around the corner." In utter shock I asked her if she didn't think that helping the poor or sick had anything to do with religion. I only got a blank stare. Now it's easy to harp on this poor girl but to tell you the truth, if you asked my the same question a few years ago, I probably would have had the same confused look, and I'm a pastor! I often wonder why I never made the link between my relationship with Christ and my responsibility towards the people who suffer and are poor.

To read the rest of the article, go here.

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