5 Good Minutes With: Tony Campolo

The Humanitarian Jesus Interview Series

Tony Campolo 

If you don’t know Tony Campolo you should want to.  Not because you will agree with everything he says, but because you can’t disagree with his passion and relentless pursuit of doing things better. 

When we sat down in an old hall at Eastern University, I didn’t expect to leave understanding him completely, but I also didn’t expect to leave respecting him as much as I did.  It wasn’t that I agreed with everything he said, but at 33, I was struck by the intensity and irreverence to ideology and labels I discovered in a man of 75 years who had advised at least one president and countless other leaders and students.  The following few minutes of text is how our hour + interview launched off...

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5 Good Minutes With: Franklin Graham

The Humanitarian Jesus Interview Series

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham has been the subject of much current debate and controversy (see National Day of Prayer, etc.), but it would be hard to overstate the shadow cast by his father, especially where preaching the Gospel is concerned. 

But Franklin appears to be right at home in his own preaching of the Gospel, both in word and deed, as he heads one of the largest Gospel centered humanitarian organizations on the globe (over $300 million in support and revenues in 2008). 

We spoke over the phone for last year and this is a portion of that conversation…

CB: What is the difference between humanitarian work and Christian humanitarian work? 

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A Father’s Forgotten Delight

When Bridget and I had our first child, little Maeve, I began to consider for the first time what it meant to be a father.  I found my mind returning over and over to two concepts that more than anything have influenced my parenting over the last six years and I hope the next sixty.

The first was an image of a fatherly lion, like C.S. Lewis’ Aslan - good but not tame, with all that such an image might signify. I want my children to see me as the lion of the home and then to see God as the lion of their lives.  More on that some other time…

The second was the word delight.  Every time I think about being a father I think about the idea of delight. I want my children to experience my delight in them just as God delights in me.

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Is the world a better place because you’re in it?

Over the past several weeks, with the impending launch of Humanitarian Jesus, I have been asked numerous times what the basic point of the book is all about. The question is not always asked the same way, but when you get down to the bottom of it, the person really wants to know the punch-line in a sentence or two.

If you have ever written anything longer than your name, you probably know trying to reduce your writing to a single sentence is a hard and fairly aggravating effort.  My first thought is always that if I could do that, if I could tell you the story of the book in a sentence, I probably should not have written a book.  My second thought is that my one line answer always seems to be changing, so maybe I really don’t know or maybe I am giving a bad answer most of the time.

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It Was a Good Day

Sometimes as a grownup it is hard to tell the good days from the bad.  Actually, sometimes it is just hard to tell one day from another.  Work smashes into home smashes into faith smashes into life and it all seems to just get lost in translation.  But every once in a while, a good day just sneaks up on you when you least expect it…that is if you stop to think about it.

Tonight, driving home at 8:30, my two year old son Brendan looked over at his six year old sister Maeve, and after finishing a deep yawn and fervent eye rub, put a fine point on things by saying in a tired yet satisfied voice, “Maeve, it was a good day huh.”

My wife Bridget smiled at me and I choked back a tear because, as anyone with two small children can tell you, sometimes we need to be reminded of just how good our days really are.

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Glenn Beck might hate me, but I didn't know "Social Justice" was a bad word.....oops.

When you write a book for a big publisher, you inevitably lose control of parts of it. Humanitarian Jesus is no exception to that rule.  But I never knew that when I finally agreed to the publisher’s sub-title, “Social Justice and The Cross” I might be making an enemy of Glenn Beck and other conservatives who view the words Social Justice as a profane attack on all things American and I suppose for that matter Christian (if you don’t know what I am talking about click this link).

While the book doesn’t come out until May 1, I have given a few copies to close friends and family and to my surprise one of the reactions has been, “Oh wow, have you heard what is going on with those words ‘social justice’?  I mean, it is a really big thing right now.  What do you think about wealth redistribution?”

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5 Good Minutes With: Francis Chan (author, pastor, humanitarian)

When it came to writing a book on the social gospel and Christian humanitarianism, Ryan Dobson and I decided that it would be important to engage people who were active in the work and ideas -- people who were living out the notion that God has called us to invest in His world for His glory and His mission.

That led me on a journey last year during which I interviewed thirteen passionate, interesting, and highly invested servants.  Some of them you will know (like Tony Campolo, Francis Chan, Franklin Graham) and some of them you might not (like Jim Moriarty, Gilbert Lennox, Brad Corrigan) but all are worth the read.

This series is an effort to introduce them to you.  The full interviews are in the book, but I hope these passages will be engaging and uplifting as you consider what it means to follow the Humanitarian Jesus.

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President Obama on Easter and his "Risen Savior"

One of the things I HATE...YES HATE...is when we think we know something that we really have no idea about. 

I HATE that conservatives love to HATE Obama and consider him the end of America. 

I HATE that liberals HATED Bush and considered him the end of America.

On those notes, a friend of a friend attended President Obama's Easter Prayer Breakfast on April 6th and sent his speach along for me (and others) to read.  You can read it if you want at the White House Press Page, but I thought I would post some very interesting chunks.

I don't know that I like Obama and I don't know that I don't. But I do know that much of what he said is down right true and frankly not even being said (let alone) preached by many of the people who should know better...

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Cheering for Tiger?

This entry is about Tiger Woods and the fact that according to Jim Nance (the head broadcaster at the Masters this past weekend) about 80% of the gallery (or fans in attendance) cheered for him from the start to the finish in a wellspring of support. 

But, before I get there, I have to confess that I love the Masters. I am an average golfer and don’t follow the tour closely, but if you like golf at all or have ever thought about thinking about liking golf, you know that the Masters is without a doubt the greatest weekend in Golf and perhaps one of the great American sporting traditions.  

This is partly due to the irrefutable fact that the golf tournament is played on -- and in -- Golf Heaven.  I have never played Augusta National (founded by Bobby Jones in 1931, designed by the great Alister MacKenzie, and perhaps the most exclusive course in the world with about 300 members), but it is considered by almost all golf aficionados to be THE golf course on earth alongside St. Andrews which is widely believed to have been designed and created by nature (or God – depending on which Scott you ask) and the birth place of golf in the 1570’s.  

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Defining Humanitarianism – Take 2: Defy Circumstance (and by the way it's friday..but sunday's coming)

If you asked 100 people what philanthropy or humanitarianism was all about, my bet is that almost all of them would very quickly begin to talk about circumstances. 

Some might talk about education and healthcare - others about poverty, disease, deforestation, or hunger.  Many would begin to describe the conditions in the “inner city” or Haiti or Africa.  Perhaps a few would talk about solutions or their experience in reaching a need or touching a life.  In the end, most, if not all, would in some way talk about circumstances.  And, in many ways, they would be right.

“Circumstance - which moves by laws of its own, regardless of parties and policies, and whose decrees are final and must be obeyed by all - and will be”

                                               Mark Twain

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This is about looking at truth from the other side of the road. It is about Why more than What and almost never about How. As for me, I just never want to look at the world the same way again.