Some months ago I posted a short reflection lamenting the lack of “plodders” in the church–those who toil thanklessly in the trenches as they work toward the glory of God’s kingdom. I contrasted the plodders to those Christians who pattern their behavior after rock-star Christians like U2 frontman Bono–those who save the world by “raising awareness” about social injustices, but who rarely get their hands dirty to contribute to long-term resolutions.
The post was rather provocative, and I was critiqued for going a bit overboard (one criticism coming from a favorite Jr High youth leader–which was awesome, by the way). After all, the Christian life is hard, especially when it comes to resolving social injustices, and we shouldn’t criticize the best efforts of God’s faithful servants. I sympathize deeply with this thought, but I also think it’s the responsibility of the teachers in the church to point others towards God’s truth, which sometimes requires exhortations against those behaviors in our lives that work against the Kingdom.
And so, I can’t help but think my old post was touching on some “truthiness” (as Stephen Colbert would say) after this report from The New York Post revealed that Bono’s ONE Foundation, an anti-poverty charity organization he founded in 2002, gave only 1.2 percent from its fundraising to those in actual need. Of the £9.6 million in donations it received, £5.1 million went to paying salaries, with the rest dedicated to advertising, political gifts, and campaigns to “raise awareness” (there’s that phrase again). Only £118,000 was donated to the poor.
The foundation defends their practices by saying the organization was never intended to donate funds to the poor–rather, they lobby others to fight poverty. Plodders they are not.
But I wonder: is it possibe to plod along to glory and raise awareness?
UPDATE: The ONE Foundation has provided a press release explaining their purpose and mission statement. View it here.