Mike Cope's blog

Saturday, June 04, 2005

My most recent article in the Christian Standard can be found here. - - - - Here's a letter that's gone out to faith leaders from Rick Warren. What an amazing plan. I've already signed! (I would encourage you to sign here.) June 3, 2005 Dear co-worker in Christ, I have a simple request -- but it could determine whether millions live or die. You’ve probably read in the papers about “The ONE Campaign: To Make Poverty History” that’s been endorsed by a wide coalition of folks from all across the faith and political spectrum. Helping the hurting is something we all want to do. I’ve never been involved in partisan politics -- and don’t intend to do so now -- but global poverty is an issue that rises far above mere politics. It is a moral issue … a compassion issue … and because Jesus commanded us to help the poor, it is an obedience issue! He told us to do all we can to alleviate the pain of our brothers and sisters: “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40, NKJV) That’s why John Stott, Billy Graham, and many other evangelical leaders are joining me in lending our names and prayers to this campaign. I deeply believe that if we as evangelicals remain silent and do not speak up in defense of the poor, we lose our credibility and our right to witness about God’s love for the world: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?” (1 John 3:17, NIV) We are blessed to be a blessing to others, and certainly America, as the most blessed nation on our planet, has the greatest obligation to help those who are stuck in poverty around the world. Last month, I was in Kenya and Uganda, and then in Rwanda where the average income in that nation is 67 cents a day! Imagine trying to raise a family on that. If you were hopelessly in debt, with no chance of ever getting out of debt -- or even your children getting out of debt -- you’d despair. But if someone cancelled all your debts -- as the Bible commanded Israel to often do -- you’d have the hope of a new future. The poor aren’t asking for a handout -- they just need a hand up! This summer, at the G8 conference, our nation has a historic opportunity to lead the world by showing a visible and significant commitment to the fight against global poverty, hunger, and disease. In early July, President Bush will gather together with leaders from the world’s eight wealthiest nations in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss these very issues -- especially in Africa. We all grieved when 250,000 lives were lost in the tsunami in Southeast Asia. But there is a health tsunami of that proportion in Africa every 12 days! What can we do? For the past two years, I’ve had 4,500 of our Saddleback members quietly testing a prototype of our global P.E.A.C.E. Plan in 47 countries. It is a strategy for small groups in churches to show compassion. Once we have the template perfected, we’ll share it with every church that’s interested. But there is something much simpler that you can do right now: Join me and other evangelical leaders in an open letter to President Bush that encourages him -- with our support and prayers -- to take specific, measurable actions to fight poverty, hunger, and disease at the G8 summit. Below is a copy of the text of this open letter we’re sending. All I need you to do is e-mail me back at rick@peace.gs giving your name and title, and I’ll add your name to the list. Also you can visit www.one.org for more information. If you can send a copy of your signature (preferably in a jpeg format) to add to the bottom of the letter, that would be great, but don’t let that delay your response. We'd rather hear from you now. Thanks in advance for showing your compassion for those suffering from disease, hunger, and poverty. May God bless your ministry, Dr. Rick Warren Pastor, Saddleback Church Author, The Purpose Driven Life ----------------------Original Message --------------------------- June 1, 2005 The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Bush, Because: · ONE billion people around the world live on less than ONE dollar a day; · The US government spends less than ONE percent of its budget on fighting global AIDS and poverty; · Americans are uniting as ONE across political and religious divides to support action to overcome the emergency of global AIDS and extreme poverty. At the G8 leaders meeting on July 6th we urge you to: · Help the poorest people of the world fight poverty, disease, and hunger at a cost equal to just ONE percent more of the US budget on a clear timetable; · Cancel 100% of the debts owed by the poorest countries; · Reform trade rules so poor countries can earn sustainable incomes. We urge you to lead an historic deal with other nations to help Africa and the poorest nations overcome global AIDS and extreme poverty. Together as ONE, we can Make Poverty History this July. Sincerely, U.S. Faith Leaders

14 Comments:

  • The One Campaign is a great thing. I am wearing my white "One" bracelet as I write. What if more religious leaders united their "political efforts" against world hunger, debt, human trafficking, etc.? I hope Bush takes into consideration the millions of people looking to him at the G8 Conference to make some kind of difference. One can only pray, I guess.

    Get your 10-pack of bracelets here and let's spread the word about the G8 Conference.

    By Blogger Steve Jr., at 6/04/2005 06:43:00 AM  

  • Mike,
    thank you for your article and post today. The story brings tears every time I read it. The followup story of your neighbors did the same and touches the heart and soul. This can be a summer of great works in our church communities and I'm excited to be a part of it.

    By Blogger Jim, at 6/04/2005 06:47:00 AM  

  • Thank you for inspiring me to love my children deeper and deeper. Also, opening my mind to all the children of the world.

    By Blogger David Michael, at 6/04/2005 07:48:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Anthony Parker, at 6/04/2005 10:08:00 AM  

  • I suggest that we go even one step further by naming the government programs and/or services, equal to 1% of the current budget, that we as a nation would be willing to EXCHANGE for the 1% going toward this much more worthy cause. It would force us to choose wasteful and unworthy programs to cease rather than ways to increase our taxes. All in all, that would seem good stewardship.

    By Blogger Cole, at 6/04/2005 11:50:00 AM  

  • There seems to be a common thread in both your article and in the One campaign. Whether as a country or as a church, we have a tendency to be overly concerned about "us", and not concerned enough about "them". The love of the good samaritans, and the voices of our brothers and sisters throughout the world, are unread epistles that God desires to use to shape our faith. Thank you for your words.

    By Blogger Kevin, at 6/05/2005 01:33:00 PM  

  • This rocks. I've been following this ONE thing for a while. I went online and signed on a few weeks. I can't wait for Warren to make the full reveal of the PEACE plan. I'm so pumped he's using his global sway like this.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 6/05/2005 08:58:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    This is a great campaign. I would also recommend a "One Big Table" (www.onebigtable.org) event for your congregation. It would provide an opportunity for the community to participate in a local event but also provide highland an opportunity for outreach.

    By Blogger happytheman, at 6/06/2005 06:59:00 AM  

  • We are blessed to be a blessing to others, and certainly America, as the most blessed nation on our planet, has the greatest obligation to help those who are stuck in poverty around the world.

    This bothers me.

    I agree that we must help the poor, but the U.S. is "The most blessed nation on our planet"? Why? Because we have lots of money?

    Then again, I suppose that's the definition of "blessing" we should expect from Rick Warren. I think the phrase "American success idolatry" was coined especially for him.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 6/06/2005 11:34:00 AM  

  • I thought it may be helpful to know that Rick Warren is a reverse tither....giving %90 of his income and living on %10. In addition, he has completely repaid the Saddleback Church his salary from the previous years there and currently is not paid by them. I believe he has some crediblity.
    Thanks, Mike, for reminding us of the responsibility of those who have been given much!

    By Blogger Karen, at 6/06/2005 01:49:00 PM  

  • I thought it may be helpful to know that Rick Warren is a reverse tither...

    Thanks for the additional information, Karen. I apologize if I insinuated that Warren is a greedy person. I meant to express my displeasure with the *way* he makes his money: pushing a theology of blessing that equates God's approval with Newer, Bigger and More.

    By Blogger Matthew, at 6/07/2005 11:11:00 AM  

  • I've given this a lot of thought, and here's my gratuitous plug. Check out www.charlesnorth.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Charles North, at 6/08/2005 12:53:00 PM  

  • As a certified professional food manager & dedicated Christian with over 25 yrs exp. in all aspects of food preparation, cooking, budgeting, fund raising ETC... I am looking for a church, outreach org. private facility or any location that can use my many talents.
    I can relocate.
    Please pass on my phone number to any one with whom you think may be able to utilize my professional skills. ( I can only return toll free numbers).

    Please help me to help others.
    Have a Blessed day,
    elizabeth

    By Blogger elizabeth, at 7/24/2005 04:12:00 AM  

  • godschef@hotmail.com

    certified professional food manager

    extensive background in all aspects of food preperation, cooking, fund raisers, menu and budgeting etc.
    I am looking for some one, some where or some place that can utilize my extensive culinary and human service background.

    941-755-8803
    I can only return toll free calls.

    By Blogger elizabeth, at 7/24/2005 04:19:00 AM  

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