The Hole in Our Gospel
by Richard Stearns
(the first 140 pages - blogs are due today!)
A physician who works at the Columbia Orthopedic Group found that this book changed his life and decided to give a copy of it to everyone who works there. That's how a friend of mine got this book and how I, in turn, came to know about it. I don't usually read religious/Christian books, but I feel that this is an incredibly powerful book that I'm anxious for others to read so that I can discuss it with someone! I haven't finished it, but because this is the last day to blog, I will write about the first 140 pages of this 334 page book.
Richard Stearns left his job as CEO of the Lenox Corporation to become the director of World Vision. The first few chapters are about Richard's life - how he became a Christian and how he struggled to follow the teachings of The Bible.
The title of the book comes from a story he tells of how some college students took a Bible and cut out all of the passages that instruct us to help the poor. When the students were finished, what they had left was just a skeleton of a Bible - truly a HOLEY Bible. Yet we get so caught up in issues that the Bible spends so little time discussing - homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion, etc. The hole in our gospel (should we say "whole") is to care for other people. That's what Jesus came to tell us.
It was important for me to be reminded that on judgement day, "the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'" and later "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me."
I am slowly reading this book, really digesting portions before proceeding, and I have about 15 bright pink PostIts sticking out of the pages already marking important points I want to be sure to consider. I want everyone to read this book so we can get our priorities straightened out in our churches. The hole/whole of our gospel is service to others.
There is a companion journal for this book that lets the reader keep track of his thoughts and challenges the reader with tasks such as "Take a walk in a neighborhood you would not normally walk in." or "Carry three gallons of water for two miles." These tasks help us to understand the world in which others live.
This book won the 2010 Christian Book of the Year, but I think it's a terrific book for non-Christians, too. It's very thought-provoking.