Here are a couple of passages:
"The [financial] gap is so extreme in our world that we have to take lightly passages such as Luke 12:33: 'Sell your possessions and give it to the poor.'"
"We either close the gap or don't take the words of the Bible literally."
Speaking about biblical examples of faith, Francis Chan says:
"Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy. Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers."
These excerpts were kind of a challenge to reconcile in my mind.
I really like what Francis Chan has to say in this and other chapters I've read so far, so I was surprised when I found I couldn't easily agree when he says that Christians lives shouldn't make sense to unbelievers.
Let me back up.
What he's basically talking about in the chapter is a radical faith that should be ordinary in Christian's lives. Specifically, he mentions sacrifical love and a servant's heart that benefits others and works toward bridging the gap between the haves and have-nots.
I've seen this kind of faith lived out. Even the author mentions people who exemplify his idea. However, I've also seen it in the unbeliever. I've seen atheists and sinners and rock stars and ordinary people live this. I have friends at work who will give you their last couple of dollars so you can get a soda. We know celebrities and rock stars who utilize their influence to benefit the most needy. I've seen family members willing to open up their homes to teenagers who need a safe place to live.
It's not radical Christian living that says we should treat others better than ourselves. It doesn't need to be preached from a pulpit or recited in a prayer or written in scripture.
The other day a friend at work was offering to buy someone's lunch. They couldn't afford groceries that week so my friend got him something to eat. A little after lunch she told me that she completely understood what it's like to be without and, when she does have, she likes to share freely with those who need the help.
For some reason that stayed with me. She didn't need to hear a sermon or read a book to understand how we should treat one another. And her actions taught me a lesson that years in church had never quite gotten through to me.
Christian ideals aren't a mystery to the world. Christianity doesn't own the copyright to "Do unto others." It's a basic message for humanity and it's a little shameful that many Christians could easily be called out for their lack of compassion for those in need.
So it's really everyone's responsibility to treat others with great respect and be willing to help those in need always. And if you're motivation is also to follow Christ's example, then it's just all that much more worth it.
By that way, I totally recommend this book.
It's called "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a relentless God" by Francis Chan.