Friday, April 27, 2007

An essay from Sharon Chittock. A good friend of mine... who "gets it"...

For all those who claim Christianity

I look around, and I wonder how it is possible for those of us who say we love Christ to live a life of pure comfort and wealth. To live a life for ourselves, to live a life to please our own material and emotional needs. To those who, like myself, spend 99% of your thoughts on yourself and your own happiness, let us be challenged through the example of Jesus himself. Let us be challenged to literally do as he did; to sit with those we hate, to purposely befriend those the world will not acknowledge, and to invite the ones we want nothing to do with into our own lives. Imagine how this world would be different if Christians were at the forefront of social justice causes. What if Christians were standing with those struggling during the civil rights movement? How would this world be better if Christians spoke up every time a child were starving and end every time another young girl is sold into prostitution? What if we were right there, with homosexuals, fighting for their right to be treated as equals? Why do we sit by our own Chistian-selves when the "losers" sit by themselves? Why do we ignore those every day who despise us because we have abused them in the name of God. Why do we sit here and go about our lives as if we are the star in our own movie while our fellow humans are starving, are being exiled, and are refugees? We watch and read the news and feel mercy, but go on with our lives and change NOTHING to help others. Why does this not enrage us to the point of action, to the point of putting forth our own efforot to write a politician, volunteer, or start a petition or awareness program? Jesus was revolutionary. Jesus purposely and lovingly invited those into his heart who society no longer wanted. Why have we forgotten this? I wonder how the world would be different if we DIDN'T hang out with our youth groups, Bible studies, and Christian friends for just one night, and sat with those the Church turns its eyes from. I wonder why if Jesus actually did this himself, why he wouldn't want us to do it, too? I wonder how, after the Church's complete irresponsibility to counter the injustices that choke our society, we the church are able to sleep at night. I am ashamed that I have not been living a life of radical compassion, kindness, love, and justice. I am ashamed of those of us who believe "the poor will always be with us," and who believe that we can do nothing because this world will always be bad.

"He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Micah 6:8

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The wonderful... STEVE STOCKMAN!

If you have spent any time with the Hos in the past three years you have heard us talk about our good friend Steve Stockman from Belfast, Northern Ireland. I met Steve just a little over three years ago after I read his book "Walk On: The Spiritual Journey of U2". My friend Ryan gave me a copy of "Walk On" since he knew I was a huge U2 fan. After reading it, I noticed the author was from Belfast and since I was helping to plan a mission trip to Northern Ireland I decided to send Steve an email and the rest, they say, is history.

Since then, we have coordinated three trips for Steve to come speak in the U.S. Including appearances at; Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, the Jubilee Conference in Pittsburgh; and Kenyon College near Mt. Vernon, Ohio. He jokes about me being his "road manager". I'm not really sure about that, but I would be proud to be called his friend.

Steve's day job is the Presbyterian Chaplain at Queen's University. This May he and his staff will be assisting our next mission team during our time in Belfast. Last July, Luong and I were blessed to stay with the Stockmans at their cottage near Ballycastle, Northern Ireland where we got to know his family- daughters Jasmine and Catlin, and wife Janice. Now we know what really makes Steve so great!