The Holiness of Success

Sometimes people wonder what keeps me focused on social justice. They ask me, “What makes you do all this for other people?” Well, I do it because I care about other people. I love them, and I love the God that created them. It’s the same God that created me. He saved my life! So I want to help save others.

I’m focused on success for the same reason. I focus on success because I want to achieve something, not only for myself, but for those who do not have. I’m talking about those who do not have food, or clean water, or a mom and dad to love them, or even basic freedom.

I’d love to see that same approach to success take root in the world on a global scale. Continue reading

A Tough Habit to Break

Airlines basically try to re-create middle school society: a small clique of the privileged few envied by everyone on the outside. John Ortberg, Who Is This Man?

I wrote last time about the phenomenon of saving seats for the privileged few. In Rome, reserving special treatment for men of high status served to reinforce social class hierarchy. Jesus taught us not to do that. His brother, James, was very explicit in his instructions to treat everyone the same. But it’s a tough habit to break.

It even happens on airplanes! Continue reading

To Stir A Movement

The movement I have in mind begins with awareness.  It begins with the awareness that people all over the world, our neighbors and God’s children, are suffering, and we are called to help.

The awareness I’m talking about goes much further than knowing the world has problems.  I’m talking about awareness that you can help alleviate people’s suffering and pain.  You can take part in ending the hunger crisis, or the water crisis.  You can help free slaves and provide homes and families for orphans.

This awareness reaches even deeper than doing something to help. It goes deeper than donating or volunteering.  Continue reading

One Of Those Crazy Ideas

I play in a sport where we try to get kids to want to be like us.  But I’ve seen some of us.  And I’m not proud of some of us.  I am not proud at all.  Please, kids, do not be like some of us.

Of course there are other athletes that are great role models.  They are the ones you point out, and you turn to your kids and say, “If you want to be like a pro athlete, be like him.”

It’s not always easy to know which is which.  It can be really tough.  Do I want a kid to be like me?  In some ways, yes!  But in other ways, you know, no!  We change.  We learn, we grow, we mature.  I mean, I’ve sure learned!  But I’d rather see kids learn differently than the way I did, because I’ve learned the hard way.  I’ve done things I’m really not proud of.  In Kansas City, I attacked my bench coach, and it was on television.  Can you imagine?  If that’s all anyone knows about me, then I’d say to a kid, “Don’t be like me.  Not like that.”

But it would be really fulfilling to think that kids would want to be like me because I try to love others the way the King of Kings has loved me.  I would love for more pro athletes to embrace the love angle, the humanitarian angle, the justice angle.

Professional athletes have the ability to make a lot of money, just because people want to be entertained.  And this creates an incredible opportunity.  Because we can make a lot of money, we can do a lot of good.  Here’s an idea: what if more ballplayers got involved in humanitarian issues?  You know what that would do?  It would involve the fans! Continue reading

Tell Me What You’re Going To Do!

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I really don’t understand what it will take to move people to understand the love of Jesus appropriately.

I’m trying to do my best. I’m trying to help people see that we can make a difference. I’m trying to show them that we can love our neighbors as ourselves. We can smile on them with the smile of Jesus. We can let them feel the warmth and love that He shows us. We can do that. It’s going to take some time, but we can do that.

But it’s hard. Sometimes you think you’re reaching people. They’re like, “Hey man, preach it brother!” But then they go home. And you never hear from them again. Continue reading

Feed the Hunger

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I’ve been doing a lot of public speaking this off season, at schools (public and Christian) and churches. I tell young people how important it is to understand that when it comes to issues of social justice, it’s their generation that is largely under attack. And my message is always very simple. “You can make a difference.”

But you feel like you don’t ever really know if you reached them. Do they really truly believe that they can make a difference?

After what we experienced on Saturday, January 22nd, I would have to say yes, absolutely.

That was our first Feed the Hunger event in Spokane. We linked up with Youthfront of Kansas City, and Mike King and some of his assistants came to Spokane to walk us through the process and help us make sure everything went smoothly. Continue reading

Christians and Social Justice, Part 2

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Thank you for all the awesome comments on last Tuesday’s post! I can tell a lot of us are thinking along the same lines. Since I’ve been blogging about the questions that I ask God and the things He shows me, I’m hoping you’ll do the same. Check out my blog’s new God page, and share your best stories about Him! I’d love to hear from you!

Annie asked me to say more about my definition of social justice and its part in Christianity. That’s a humongous challenge Annie! There are so many dimensions to the question. I’d like to focus on what God shows me, and what He calls me to do. I may not say much today about social justice and its part in Christianity, but I’ve got plenty to say about Christianity’s part in social justice!

I think God has asked me to hang out with people who have had things stolen from them. Think of all the people who have been enslaved, or struggle without water or food. Think of all the kids who struggle without parents. They’ve had things stolen from them, taken from them, and if you really want to get graphic, they’ve even had things raped from them. Think of what’s been taken from these girls that have been raped. They wind up in sex slavery and even their identities are stolen from them. Continue reading