I love Tony Campolo. Seriously. The man is a sociologist, a Christian, and an advocate for social justice. Today I was re-reading his book, "Red Letter Christians" (THe term "red-letter" Christian refers to a Christian who strives to live out the words of Jesus in a practical, tangible way....older Bibles print all of Jesus' spoken words in red ink).
Here's my favorite exerpt from Chapter 1, "A Biblical Approach to Politics.."
"On another occasion, Mother Teresa spoke to a graduating class at Harvard University. Again, she said things about sexual morality and the sacredness of life that ran counter to the beliefs of most in the audience, And again, the audience listened withrespect because she spoke with authority. I surmise that if push came to shove, most Catholics would more likely have listened to Mother Teresa who gained authority through her sacrifices than to the pope, regardless of all the power he wields as head of the Vatican State.
I contend that Christians will only have authority if they first serve the needs of others in sacrificial ways, especially the poor and oppressed. When those who hold power witness how Christians live out love - meeting the needs of others and binding up the wounds who have been left hurting by society's waysides - Christians will earn the authority to speak. When Christians sacrificially give of their time and resources to run soup kitches for the hungry and provide shelters for the homeless, they gain the right to be heard. When they tutor poor childred and care for those with AIDS, they expand their mandate to call for change. But, before they speak, Christians must demonstrate God's love through sacrificial ministries. Sacrifice gives them the ability to be taken seriously by those who seem to be in control of political machines."