What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. James 2:14-17
Christian love engages the world around it. It takes up the real causes of real people and does things about them, in the name of Jesus.
Jesus is the great Rebel, and his revolution revolves around his cross. Cross-like love is always rebellious: selflessly abandoned, extraordinarily costly, loving enemies, turning the world’s tables.
Christian love is deeply involved in the community in which it finds itself. Hedging our bets and staying inside the established circles are not options for people who hold up the cross as their banner. Our churches exist to take the cross, with its million applications, deep into the lives of our communities. Where this is not being done, our churches exist to plant new churches that will do it, whether for Stone Age tribes or for our own suburbs. Complacency kills.
John M. Perkins, a sharecropper’s son from Mississippi who fled poverty and his brother’s murder at age 17, only to return to his home state once Jesus grabbed his heart in 1960, was and is a civil rights activist whose life shows what it means for cross-like love to encounter a world of injustice, oppression, and repetitive, destructive cycles. Imitating Jesus, Perkins loved from the bottom of society up. Currently, his foundation serves and preaches good news to the poor of West Jackson, Mississippi – especially single moms. Check it out.
“The Sound” by Switchfoot is bringing Perkins and his message to worldwide attention.
In a world of chaos and idolatry, the church needs a different set of heroes from the world’s heroes, who are of a different type and caliber, who do not preach themselves, but who preach Jesus as Lord. And him crucified.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
[Jesus said,] “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27