A New Kind of Generosity

One of the websites I visit often has a new section called Reject Apathy. In discussing it, the founder of the company quoted Bono’s 2001 commencement address to Harvard University, saying that he was “rebelling against [his] own indifference” and that this new section on rejecting apathy would be a means of helping our generation rebel against our indifference.

To tell the truth, this annoyed me at first. I don’t want to have someone else tell me that I don’t care enough. Most days, I think I care plenty. There are too many people in the world for me to save all of them, and I think I do a decent job helping those I can. I don’t need to be reminded of all the causes I can’t support.

But the truth is, I don’t care enough. I have a lot of time, and compared with the rest of the world, a lot of money. And I do really selfish things with those resources.

This realization was generated by this letter to the affluent church, by Jeff Goins. The article made me mad. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says. But this paragraph gave me pause:

I’m concerned that there may be more at stake here than just your family’s ability to go on vacation or buy more plasma screen TVs. A world that has been skeptical of evangelicalism for awhile now has an opportunity to be proven wrong, and I’m worried that we’re missing it. Because we’re caught up in the melodrama of our own inconveniences, we’re missing the chance to show those who have yet to see true Christianity in action.I’m not talking about megachurches and light shows. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity that puts generosity above self-preservation. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity that gives not just out of its affluence, but even out of its poverty. I’m talking about the kind of Christianity where solidarity doesn’t just mean being united in orthodox beliefs, but it also means sharing each other’s resources.

I italicized the part that got me; the “melodrama of our own inconveniences”. Ouch. And yet he has a good point. What would it look like to “put generosity above self-preservation”? And what would that mean to the watching world?

I welcome you to think about it with me.

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