Thursday, September 17, 2009

trolls & truth by jimmy dorrell

It's a book written by a guy who pastors a church under an interstate bridge. It started with 5 homeless guys. What's not to like about that?

Dorrell lays it to us early on, citing offenses against the poor and homeless of the world. He decries our obsession with outward beauty, both of ourselves and our church buildings, and pleads for some real attention to the words of James "For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "You sit here in a good place," while you say to the poor man, "You stand over there," or, "Sit down at my feet," have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?"

A few chapters later he talks about the disparity in ethnicity and socioeconomics, decrying our ambivalence towards these things and calling us to bring them out into the light. We have to be up-front about these issues if we are going to bring about real change.

The book is a challenge to love the "least of these" with the love of Christ. That means not making them a charity case but truly accepting them as part of the community and family of God. It means befriending them. It means serving alongside them.

Of his own heart, Dorrell says, "Years later, I recognized that charity involved sacrifice, not giving leftovers or things I did not want to the poor. It meant giving the food I like to eat or the clothes I like to wear or the time I wanted to keep for myself. In a culture of too much, it is easy to get rid of the leftovers, but to the Christian there is an expectation and privilege of giving that which I deeply value."

My one issue with the book is the consistent praising of his own church. I don't think he meant it to come off this way, but it seems like he is saying that his church has it all right. That they're being the real hands and feet...and hardly anyone else is. (Of course, he is largely correct in the instances he sights.)

But, if you can get past this slightly narcissistic tint, this book is for the privileged of the world. It's for Americans in the church who rarely look to serve. It'll open your eyes to people you've probably never given the time of day and by God's grace you'll act differently because of it.


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