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December 23rd, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My take: Why my church rebelled against the American Dream

Editor’s Note: David Platt, Ph.D., is the author of the New York Times bestseller Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream and is senior pastor of the 4,000-member Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Alabama.

By David Platt, Special to CNN

We American Christians have a way of taking the Jesus of the Bible and twisting him into a version of Jesus that we are more comfortable with.

A nice middle-class American Jesus. A Jesus who doesn’t mind materialism and would never call us to give away everything we have. A Jesus who is fine with nominal devotion that does not infringe on our comforts.

A Jesus who wants us to be balanced, who wants us to avoid dangerous extremes, and who for that matter wants us to avoid danger altogether. A Jesus who brings comfort and prosperity to us as we live out our Christian spin on the American Dream.

But lately I’ve begun to have hope that the situation is changing.

The 20th-century historian who coined the term “American Dream,” James Truslow Adams, defined it as “a dream… in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are.”

But many of us are realizing that Jesus has different priorities. Instead of congratulating us on our self-fulfillment, he confronts us with our inability to accomplish anything of value apart from God. Instead of wanting us to be recognized by others, he beckons us to die to ourselves and seek above all the glory of God.

In my own faith family, the Church at Brook Hills, we have tried to get out from under the American Dream mindset and start living and serving differently.

Like many other large American churches, we had a multimillion-dollar campus and plans to make it even larger to house programs that would cater to our own desires. But then we started looking at the world we live in.

It’s a world where 26,000 children die every day of starvation or a preventable disease. A world where billions live in situations of such grinding poverty that an American middle-class neighborhood looks like Beverly Hills by comparison. A world where more than a billion people have never even heard the name Jesus. So we asked ourselves, “What are we spending our time and money on that is less important than meeting these needs?” And that’s when things started to change.

First we gave away our entire surplus fund - $500,000 - through partnerships with churches in India, where 41 percent of the world’s poor live. Then we trimmed another $1.5 million from our budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world. Literally hundreds of church members have gone overseas temporarily or permanently to serve in such places.

And it’s not just distant needs we’re trying to meet. It’s also needs near at hand.

One day I called up the Department of Human Resources in Shelby County, Alabama, where our church is located, and asked, “How many families would you need in order to take care of all the foster and adoption needs that we have in our county?”

The woman I was talking to laughed.

I said, “No, really, if a miracle were to take place, how many families would be sufficient to cover all the different needs you have?”

She replied, “It would be a miracle if we had 150 more families.”

When I shared this conversation with our church, over 160 families signed up to help with foster care and adoption. We don’t want even one child in our county to be without a loving home. It’s not the way of the American Dream. It doesn’t add to our comfort, prosperity, or ease. But we are discovering the indescribable joy of sacrificial love for others, and along the way we are learning more about the inexpressible wonder of God’s sacrificial love for us.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love my country and I couldn’t be more grateful for its hard-won freedoms. The challenge before we American Christians, as I see it, is to use the freedoms, resources, and opportunities at our disposal while making sure not to embrace values and assumptions that contradict what God has said in the Bible.

I believe God has a dream for people today. It’s just not the same as the American Dream.

I believe God is saying to us that real success is found in radical sacrifice. That ultimate satisfaction is found not in making much of ourselves but in making much of him. That the purpose of our lives transcends the country and culture in which we live. That meaning is found in community, not individualism. That joy is found in generosity, not materialism. And that Jesus is a reward worth risking everything for.

Indeed, the gospel compels us to live for the glory of God in a world of urgent spiritual and physical need, and this is a dream worth giving our lives to pursue.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of David Platt.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (556 Responses)
  1. Richxx

    Why should I give up materialism when I see all the multi-million dollar churches? When the catholic church sells the vatican I will think about it. They could use the proceeds to support the thousands of children born in Haiti that they encourage but the parents can't afford.

    December 23, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      You think the Church is rich? C'mon, seriously? How else are they supposed support 100,000 priests and 50,000 nuns with food, water, and clothing? Be realistic, buddy.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:11 pm |
  2. Truth Hurts

    @David Johnson

    You seriously need some help, and I am judging based on your bad fruit!!!

    December 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Truth Hurts

      I need help, because I don't believe in a sky daddy? Get real Sparky!

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:16 pm |
    • notsurprised

      Where did he buy his bad fruit? Remind me not to shop there again. BAD! BAD FRUIT!!!11 Oh wait, doesn't my desire to buy fruit make me a materialistic person? Can't exactly give away bad fruit, can you?

      December 24, 2010 at 3:03 am |
  3. JimJim

    Great work pastor!
    But don't forget the reason you CAN help is because your people are earning and achieving in a free-enterprise system.
    You can't look out for the poor if you don't have the $! Try giving to the poor when you're starving in North Korea or some African village.
    The focus on helping is great, but don't dis the system (American Way) that makes it possible. Maybe "the American Way" is an instrument of blessing for the world. You can be an achiever AND a giver.

    December 23, 2010 at 5:08 pm |
  4. Bill Fitzgerald

    Keep searching for the truth and when your search leads you to the Book of Mormon and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, prepare for the truth to flood your mind with understanding and knowledge. Merry Christmas

    December 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bill Fitzgerald

      I saw the episode about the Mormon Religion on South Park. I wouldn't brag on it, if I were you. Dumb, Dumb, Dumb, Dumb Dumb!

      All religion is worthless.

      Cheers!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:15 pm |
    • notsurprised

      Yes the Church of Latter-Day Saints – the folks whose leader marries under-aged girls to of-age men, and coerces the girls to have intercourse with them. If this is the Truth, i'll pass. You're a sick, mentally ill individual, good sir. Do a favour to society – and get some serious professional help. May God help you if you don't.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:53 am |
  5. Ed

    Just a bunch of crap. It is all mind control and heaps of guilt. Religion is a farce. Get real folks all this is nothing more than Tinker Bell stuff so some fat asses preacher can get easy money and live tax free.

    December 23, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • Steve

      Hard to read what you wrote, Ed. I personally left the comforts of the US to move to the desert lands of Namibia (in southern Africa) to help the local people with the orphans and vulnerable children that would otherwise not have families or homes – all in the name of Jesus, and because of my faith. My family would not be able to bear the loss of our own extended family and friends in our move just out of a good heart. We would not be able to endure having been victims several times of theft and scams and still live our lives for the sake of others without the strength that God provides. We would not have been able to stomach the difference in our own living conditions and struggling in relative poverty along with the people of our adopted country. We certainly would not be giving up our own financial security to take in 3 children who were abandoned in our town – if we were trying to pad our pockets.

      While I don't have all the answers for why our efforts are even needed, I DO know that the God who loves and redeems the lowly is the One giving purpose and definition to what we are doing.

      So, while you may feel that pastors are trying to pad their pockets, it may challenge your belief a bit to know that there are thousands upon thousands of missionaries just like me who left behind their homes, families, friends, churches, and the land of convenience – all in the name of Jesus, and for the sake of those in desperate need. Without God, I would more likely be too selfish to do something like this. Without the Lord I would have remained blind to the hearts and souls of REAL PEOPLE who die daily because of other's selfishness and corruption. In fact, all I know really is that I once was blind and now I see. Care to have your eye's opened? You would be welcome to visit with us anytime, and we will introduce you to some of those hearts and souls. Just let me know.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:36 am |
    • Pastor's Wife

      Sorry Ed, but this pastor's wife is far from rich. My husband is a pastor and a law enforcement chaplain. He's the guy that shows up at your door and has to tell you that your son or daughter or wife or husband has been killed by a drunk driver. He's the guy who is at the plane crash, serving coffee to the rescue workers who are collecting body parts. He is not rich by any means. We live paycheck to paycheck and have done so for 30 years. Our kids grew up with hand-me-downs or clothes from WalMart and KMart. We've never owned a new car. We just bought our first home last year because we cashed in part of our 401K and found a house that was an exceptional deal. My husband works 70 hours a week, and if you were to calculate his hourly pay, it would be about $11 an hour and supports a family of 4 on that. Most pastors head churches that have less than 250 people. We aren't all like Rick Warren or Joel Osteen (thank God). So before you start shooting your mouth off about how rich pastor's are, you really should do some research and talking with local pastors in your area instead of spewing venom. You are obviously very bitter against Christians, and that is sad. I feel sorry for you.

      December 24, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • ybs

      Pastor's Wife, right! Not all apples are bad; but in the US, the bulk are. That's why non-believers are forced down their throat with "in god we trust," "so help me god" crap. You (and religious folks) can believe in whatever you want. Just don't force things down non-believers' throat.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:10 am |
    • notsurprised

      Big cheers to Ed. He's hit he nail right on the head. Religion is a tax shelter for the mentally ill. I believe in God, but I don't make those who don't believe, suffer for it. Stupid people.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:48 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Pastor's Wife

      If your husband doesn't like his job, tell him to quit.

      Love and Prayers!

      December 24, 2010 at 9:59 am |
  6. CalgarySandy

    Bravo. It sounds like you and your church have decided to follow the teachings of Jesus to live like he did rather than turning the religion and the Bible into the objects of worship. If everyone did this people who not be so hostile towards Christians and the "Christian" world would be a kinder place to live.

    BTW, for those who do not believe in the influence of genes, I was adopted. I was adopted by a crazed Baptist mother who beat me and emotionally abused me for being so different. My father was a drunk, a gambler and a womanizer who considered me fair game. The whole family thought I read books and asked questions about everything as a deliberate insult to them. As they had no desire to learn they assumed I was just up to something. Genes will out. I could not be more different than them. It is not a reaction against them either as I tested as gifted when I was 5. They hated me for it and did all they could to destroy it. I suffer massive emotional problems but I still got the degrees and the high paying jobs that required talent and education. So get a grip and look into the work being done in genetics.

    December 23, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  7. Reality

    Once a day WARNING for new commentators:

    • The moderators of this blog have set up a secret forbidden word filter which unfortunately not only will delete or put your comment in the dreaded "waiting for moderation" category but also will do the same to words having fragments of these words. For example, "t-it" is in the set but the filter will also pick up words like Hitt-ite, t-itle, beati-tude, practi-tioner and const-tution. Then there words like "an-al" thereby flagging words like an-alysis and "c-um" flagging acc-umulate or doc-ument. And there is also "r-a-pe", “a-pe” and “gra-pe”, "s-ex", and "hom-ose-xual". You would think that the moderators would have corrected this by now considering the number of times this has been commented on but they have not. To be safe, I typically add hyphens in any word that said filter might judge "of-fensive".

    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.

    Sum Dude routinely updates the list of forbidden words/fragments.

    Two of the most filtered words are those containing the fragments "t-it" and "c-um". To quickly check your comments for these fragments, click on "Edit" on the Tool Bar and then "Find" on the menu. Add a fragment (without hyphens) one at a time in the "Find" slot and the offending fragment will be highlighted in your comments before you hit the Post button. Hyphenate the fragment(s) and then hit Post. And remember more than one full web address will also gain a "Waiting for Moderation".

    December 23, 2010 at 4:04 pm |
  8. James

    As a visionary statement that focuses the USA toward a civil society based on the actualization of human potential, Adams's declaration still rings true. The problem is when groups elevate an idealized middle-class 1950s suburban lifestyle into the status of a religion, human rights persistently fail as those of us who are seen as The Other – blacks, gays, Muslims, gender different, immigrants – are marginalized and demonized by a religion that purports to promote unconditional love. A sad comment on a beautiful philosophy to "love one another".

    December 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
    • Dani

      Thank you!

      December 24, 2010 at 9:52 am |
  9. Chris

    As an American, a Humanist, and an Athiest I respect those who have faith. I hope for the same in return. I applaud the Pastor and the Congregations efforts. I suppose what I don't understand is the condradiction the pastor poses between "Living the American Dream" and "radical sacrafice." I think if there was a God He/She would want us to live up to our full potential...physically, emotionally and financially. Giving away "everything" I don't think is what a God would want. Giving generously of time, effort and finances is part of being a good Human Being, it's also part of being a good American. To put your family, your business..um, your church in peril to help others is in my opinion...foolish.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
    • von Stemwede

      Giving from your surplus requires no real sacrifice on your part. God wants us to learn to live sacrificially.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @von Stemwede

      You said: "Giving from your surplus requires no real sacrifice on your part. God wants us to learn to live sacrificially."

      Give 'till it hurts, huh Sparky?

      I don't plan on running around in rags, just to please a non-existent god.

      I make a fair living, so I have extra to give to charity. I'm not going to buy the cheap beer or sit in the dark, so I can give more.

      I do not feel guilty that I buy presents for my loved ones. Or, that we will eat and drink, probably too well, later today.

      My and my families' comforts come first. Charity gets a portion of what is left.

      If you want to do without shoes or a big screen TV, to give more to charity, then go for it. Just sacrifice 'till you drop!

      Someday, we will die, and we will exist no more. There won't be anybody to tell you, "Well done!".

      Give to charity. But there is no blessing in feeling guilt over buying a new car. It is why I work.

      Cheers!

      December 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  10. Chantelle

    I am not religious in really any way shape or form but I do like what Im seeing here. Maybe not the millions havent heard jesus blah blah... But these people are helping out their community which is the point. Maybe Id like it a little better if I knew for sure they werent going to try converting these kids but whatever the case, its better than letting them go into violent foster homes or living situations. The american dream for many is to have a house three cars a LCD tv and have cash to spare. For some people its having the ability to sleep soundly and have full bellies and people who care about them. And I think that before Amreica should be helping everyone and the world over we really need to strengthen and help our own communities like these people did. If I could afford to adopt a child I would, but Im a college student so I do my part by donations and volunteer work. I think attacking the christian viewpoint here is missing the point, yes its a christian blogger, but the point that I took was that people need to stop living in extreme excess and do a little more to help those in need

    December 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  11. brookln231

    I"t’s a world where 26,000 children die every day of starvation or a preventable disease. A world where billions live in situations of such grinding poverty that an American middle-class neighborhood looks like Beverly Hills by comparison. A world where more than a billion people have never even heard the name Jesus."

    This statement is ridiculous. He's basically lumping starvation and poverty into the same category as people not hearing of Jesus. He then goes on to say

    "Then we trimmed another $1.5 million from our budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world."

    Why do you feel the need to share the gospel in impoverished nations. Go there and build wells, improve education, there's no need to force Christianity on them as well. Can't you just help them out and not have a motivation behind it.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • von Stemwede

      You comletely miss the point of the Gospel and the Great Commission. It's what Jesus called Christians to do.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • ybs

      It sounds like Christians need to be told what to do and what not to do!

      So, if you don't like the OT, try the NT, or wait for future editions - I'm waiting! 🙂

      December 24, 2010 at 2:04 am |
    • notsurprised

      That's what these "non-profit organizations do". They hold up the carrot in front of the poor, and unless they join the religious cult, they can't take a bite. When the poor refuse, they're told (as children) that they'll be condemned by god. Pentacostals are the worst for this. Food for Religion programs are painted as "non-profit organizations", but are just a long-term torture & assimilation programs, with a cash grab bonus – those who attend the church have to cough out their money to be "saved".

      December 24, 2010 at 2:36 am |
    • Josh Rabatin

      Great words I have never heard that before I rather enjoyed that.

      I'm very upset to tell You what You may already know, nobody will ever hear You they may listen but
      they will never hear You as long as they mix opinions with anger.

      Thank You.

      – Josh Rabatin

      December 24, 2010 at 10:02 am |
  12. Goddog

    Think of this, really; If Jesus wants you to give up most of your possessions and not strive for a position of riches and affluence, who does that leave to do the giving?

    December 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • thelunarboy

      I believe the answer to your question lies in an old Korean proverb:

      "In Korea, there is a legend about a native warrior who died and went to heaven. "Before I enter," he said to the gatekeeper, "I would like you to take me on a tour of hell." The gatekeeper found a guide to take the warrior to hell. When they got there, the warrior was astonished to see a great table piled high with every tasty food he could imagine – anything one could possibly want to eat or drink. The warrior then looked at the people. They were all starving. "How could this be?" he asked the guide. "Are they not allowed to eat?" "Oh yes, they can eat," said the guide "but they must use the chopsticks they are given. They are five feet long and they must hold them at the end. Just look at them. They miss their mouths every time!" "Enough," said the warrior, "This is hell, indeed! Please take me back to heaven."

      In heaven, to his surprise, he saw a similar room, with a similar table loaded with all the same food. But, the people were in radiant health, happy and well-nourished. The warrior turned to the guide and said, "I see – no chopsticks here." The guide replied that yes, the people were still issued chopsticks and yes, they were still five feet long and that they still must be held at the end – but, the difference was that in heaven the people learned to feed each other."

      If we all learned to understand that none of us are the centre but all of us were the body... we would take care of one another properly. Unfortunately we are crippled to some degree or other by our selfish nature. and this causes us to be unwilling to let go. Questions like "What do I get out of it?" "What's to stop X from abusing my generosity and giving nothing in return?"

      The whole point of true generosity is that it requires all to give and all to receive.

      Who gives?

      ...Everyone.

      Who receives?

      ...Everyone.

      The biggest problem is for those who have the most to give... because often the temptation for them is to mistake that position for instead having the most to lose.

      Our biggest problem... the one plaguing us since day 1 has always been our inability to remove the letter "i" out of the equation. Our ambition, our fears, our insecurities, our pride, our ego... all of these things become to important to us... and hamper us.

      I'm not saying we should not have ambitions or dreams... I'm just saying that they shouldn't be the governing force in our life... we should see them in the context of the lives of others... and for those who are willing to believe.... God.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm |
  13. Goddog

    David Johnson... You can't talk sense into people who believe in magic. Science is for observing and reporting on what is observed. The reason science doesn't have anything to say about a god is that there is nothing to observe. I don't feel like I am missing anything in my life. I feel complete. People of faith will stand there on their crutches and call people of no faith broken. The only responses you will get from your rational thoughts are "I will pray for you" "I feel sorry for you" and the likes. It is this looking down the nose that is ridiculous. But we don't live in the same world with a god as we would without one... we live in a worse world with a god. When people lose their accountability and blame/praise something that does not exist, it makes them someone who's decision making I find hard to trust in other areas.

    Here ye, here ye all Atheists... rise up at crush all of the people of faith for we have no morals to stop us!

    Can you imagine if we were as bad as they think us to be? As a logical thinker, looking at all of the religions out there, I know that they all can't be right. Therefore I have to conclude that either none of them are right or the one true god out there isn't a good communicator.

    Peace to everyone... just because.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
    • Dan

      It's "Hear ye, hear ye." The idea is that you are asking people to listen to you. It's kind of silly to go around making yourself out to be more intelligent than others and then miss something so obvious.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • Alan

      Although it may appear to be logical to assume that not all religions can be right, this is only so from a human perspective. For all we know, God may have given us humans many different ways to know Him (and many different ways to fight and kill each other) .... so there is still the potential for many or all religions to be correct (although I accept that this is unlikely, but then what do I know how God thinks or behaves). So, my thinking on this subject goes like:
      There are many different religions ...... (thousands actually)
      Only one religion can be TRUE, therefore the rest are FALSE
      OR, More than religion one may be TRUE, but the others are FALSE
      OR, Every religion may be TRUE, so none are FALSE
      OR, All religions are FALSE, so none are TRUE

      Not very helpful I'm afraid, but still .... Merry Christmas ... to Christians, Infidels and Atheists alike!

      December 24, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Anup

      actually, that scripture rerfes to the day and hour the heavens and earth pass away not the day Christ returns. However, we will not know the day Christ returns but we will know the season. Yah bless

      November 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  14. QS

    A couple things stand out to me: "We don’t want even one child in our county to be without a loving home." So since the article didn't address this, I have to assume that by making this statement his church is all for gay couples adopting as well. Curious to know if my assumption is correct or not.

    And second, "Then we trimmed another $1.5 million from our budget and used the savings to build wells, improve education, provide medical care and share the gospel in impoverished places around the world." This is all well and good, but still continues to prove my point that whenever a faith based group does something "good", it's never 100% altruistic, there are always strings attached.

    If they would just do these things for charity, and not try to convert others to their religion while doing so, I might have a bit more respect for what they do. But the way most religious groups go about these things always seems more like their "donations" to charity are actually payments to fund a campaign to convert as many people as they can. Like they're buying people for their religion. Ulterior motives are ulterior motives, regardless of however "good" the outcome may seem.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • brookln231

      I should have read your post before I commented below, you're right on.

      December 23, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
    • FolkEngineer

      As to your second point, I have a question. If a person has a genuine belief in the Christian religious tenets such that they believe that a person's eternal spiritual welfare is contingent on conversion, how is that not altruistic FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of the person with the belief? I can definitely see how it would appear that way from the outside, but if the person doing the helping honestly believes that the help-ee's eternal life is at stake, then I would say that makes the motive of the helper quite altruistic.

      Yes, the entire argument of whether the person with the belief is right or not is an entirely different (and gigantic) argument, I agree. I'm just saying that I see the argument centering around the validity of the belief they're trying to espouse, rather than how altruistic their motives are in trying to spread that belief.

      December 23, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
    • DeeDee

      I saw nothing in the blog or the posts commented on that supports the conclusion that these good efforts are linked to evangelization, or are either direct or indirect efforts to convert the beneficiaries. That is a assumption. I do not presume to speak for every fatih-based group, but the ones that I am familiar with DO NOT require the beneficiariies of their efforts to do anything, or believe anything, in order to receive this aid. They do it because they want to help those in need. Period. Why can't all these negative posters say, "Well done" and go and do likewise instead of dissing this effort because they assume that they must have an ulterior motive or do not believe in a god?

      And why assume that this church or any of the churches are fundamentalist ( David Johnon refers to them pejoratatively as "fundies"(??)) when none of us know if that is true or not? Or make assumptions about their politics? Let's comment on what we know about the matter from the article – not set up straw men and then knock them down. This group is apparently doing good things. Commendation, not criticism, would seem in order without further facts – not assumptions.

      December 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @DeeDee

      You said: "I saw nothing in the blog or the posts commented on that supports the conclusion that these good efforts are linked to evangelization, or are either direct or indirect efforts to convert the beneficiaries. That is a assumption."

      Statement from Platt's article: "A world where more than a billion people have never even heard the name Jesus."

      May just be me, but I think Platt's Churches intentions are clear.

      Evangelicals feel the intense need to spread the good news. I think the assumption of wanting to convert the beneficiaries is not out of line. LOL

      Love and Prayers!

      December 24, 2010 at 9:55 am |
    • AKL

      I know you'd like to think that strings are attached when churches talk about building wells and schools and providing for the needy. But you know what? The wells get built and the food & medical attention gets given whether the people in that community agree to call Jesus their Savior - not BECAUSE. Everyone benefits, regardless of their faith.

      January 6, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
  15. Silver Chair

    The article reminded me of this chorus from a song by Brandon Heath:

    Give me Your eyes for just one second
    Give me Your eyes so I can see
    Everything that I keep missing
    Give me Your love for humanity

    Give me Your arms for the broken hearted
    The ones that are far beyond my reach
    Give me Your heart for the one's forgotten
    Give me Your eyes so I can see

    December 23, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  16. donald hearn

    Sarah Palin can see the edge of the earth from her front porch in Alaska, so I know the earth is flat

    December 23, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  17. JohnQuest

    Steve, Question: if the only way for people in abject poverty to be helped out of poverty is through the good well and charity of other (more affluent) people, then what's the point of God?

    December 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  18. cellblock131

    I wish there were more articles like this on CNN. I get tired of reading the negative news and the very blatant anti-christian ideologies.

    December 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  19. HotAirAce

    I agree with David J – all these good things could have been done without the influence of an imaginary supernatural being. I'll be even more impressed with their good works if they take the next logical step and shed their childish tribal beliefs and drop their need to bring the word-of-medieval-man to the 1,000,000,000 who have not heard the jesus myth and are probably quite happy believing whatever they currently believe.

    December 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm |
  20. Sndp

    Wow – such a genuine article, great work. It's a rare sight on CNN. Good work.

    December 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm |
    • Alexandrine

      I agree. And so true. Jesus is our example of how we are to live. Sometimes it's really hard to do the things that Christ wants me too but his grace pulls me through. I think more churches should be like this one and see the light. Be a doer of the word and not just a listener. We will all have to give an account to God on Judgement Day. Christ will even tell some Christians, "I never knew you!" Paul says to test your faith, see if it's genuine.

      December 24, 2010 at 1:31 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.