INDIAN leader Mahatma Gandhi was once asked what he thought of western civilisation. He said: “I think it would be a good idea.’’
Gandhi had a wicked sense of humour, which he often effectively used to make a point.
He was a student of faith, not only of his own Hinduism but of others, including Christianity for which he expressed a great fondness.
“Everyone knows what Jesus taught, except for Christians,’’ he said.
Ask people what they think of Jesus and you are likely to hear words such as compassionate, loving and He cared for the poor. Ask about churches and youll often get a remarkably different opinion.
It’s easy to look from outside Christianity and make sweeping judgments about its adherents. To many, Christians are a bunch of dogmatic, non-thinking conservatives who work to a set of outdated rules and hate Muslims, gays and atheists. And sadly, that’s sometimes true.
American evangelist Tony Campolo, who was Bill Clintons spiritual adviser, has had enough of the stereotypes.
He has come under fire from some conservative Christian groups for daring to suggest that Christians and the churches should be standing for the same things Jesus did.
Campolo said Jesus would express love for Muslims. “Remember Jesus said `Other sheep I have who are not of this fold’.’’
The evangelist said the questions we would all be asked on Judgment Day would not be theological.
Instead, Jesus would ask: “I was hungry. Did you feed me? I was naked. Did you clothe me? I was an alien. Did you make room for me in your country?’’
Campolo said it was time for all Christians to live out the words of “the one they call Lord’’.
In his book The Irresistible Revolution, young Christian activist Shane Claiborne recounts his attempts to live the Christian Gospel in the streets of Calcutta and the war zones of Iraq,
Claiborne says many Christians are hungry for an agenda worthy of their commitment, energy and God-given gifts.
“Being a Christian is about choosing Jesus and deciding to do something incredibly something daring with your life,’’ he writes.
He quotes singer Rich Mullins, who died in a car accident 10 years ago this month..
“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and you perfect little children in a beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you,’’ he said.
“Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved. And Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken. He was radical, and his followers should be too.’’