:: Friday, February 25, 2005 ::
George Verwer Speaks Out
This evening I attended All-Campus Worship, an event put on by the University of Illinois Evangelical Christian Union. ACW is a gathering of over 20 evangelical campus ministries at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held once a semester in the University's largest auditorium, the Foellinger Auditorium.
As usual, it was a powerful two-and-a-half hour event, with music, prayer, an offering, and a speaker. This semester's speaker was George Verwer of Operation Mobilization.
Verwer spoke on Luke 10:25 - 37, known as the Parable of the Good Samaritan. He argued that we have seven different kinds of people that are on the side of the road; as believers in Jesus Christ, as his followers, we are called to care for these.
The seven are as follows:
1. Children at Risk: when war, famine, abuse and other sorts of tragedy hit, the children get hit the hardest. As believers in Jesus Christ we are called to care for children at risk all over the world.
2. Abused Women: One third of American women have been abused; globally (according to Verwer, could someone check this out?) that rate is dramatically higher. One of those ways is Female Circumcision - which, apart from being morally reprehensible, causes the death of many due to poor surgical practices globally. Of course there are many other ways women are abused: another he mentioned was women globally who receive HIV/AIDS through their philandering husbands.
3. Globally Poor: We as Americans do not understand poverty. Verwer encouraged the 2000+ college students to go visit third-world slums - only then would they be able to comprehend the level of poverty at which vast numbers of people live. Moreover, he joins the Liberation Theologians in stating that the Bible has a bias toward the poor, but that the developed world does not. We must be willing to adjust our national policies to deal with that issue.
4. HIV/AIDS: Having traveled extensively in Africa, he says that as big as we think the AIDS Crisis is, it's at least 5 - 10 times larger than any of us can fathom. We are called as believers to work in AIDS prevention globally.
5. Persons Without Pure Water: Lack of pure water causes many preventable diseases and disorders. We are called to respond to help bring safe water to every human being on this planet.
6. Aborted Babies: As believers we are called to speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves. We are called to speak up for the widows and the fatherless, the orphans, the children. We are called to lovingly deal with the abortion issue to stop the meaningless slaughter of millions of children worldwide. Once again, not just an American problem.
7. Planet Earth: God created our world, and called it "good." We are called to care for our environment, to cease our overconsumption of resources, to develop environmentally sustainable life habits - all these things will promote life in the world, something God is genuinely interested in.
This was a powerful message. It is rare for me to hear these seven issues discussed by the same person with a singular goal in mind: that believers in Jesus Christ should act upon all of these together. These are the "moral values" that we Americans must deal with - not just one or two off of the list. I hope that we are all able to hear this message: Christ cares about these things; if we do not care about them we deny Christ.
:: Matt 2/25/2005 11:31:00 PM :: permalink ::