Expectation Number One: Christianity is a blessing to sinful, broken, defeated, marginalized humanity.

Expectation Number Two:The larger the percentage of Christians within a given population center the greater the blessing that will flow to the sinful, broken, defeated, marginalized human beings living within that population center.

The Shocking Reality: There is no correlation between the number of Christians living in a given population center and the amount of blessing received by the sinful, broken, defeated, and marginalized human beings living in that population center. In some cases an inverse relationship can be demonstrated.

A few years ago a study was conducted  on this issue. It was determined that Dallas, Texas was one of the most “churched cities in America” (people in church services on a given Sunday per capita). The researchers then studied “social issues” in Dallas, Texas. Here is what the researchers said:

We looked at various statistics and studies, including crime, safety on the streets, police enforcement, and the justice and penal system. We looked at health care, hospitals, emergency care, contagious diseases, infant mortality rate, and the distribution of care givers. We reviewed education, equality of schools, safety, test scores and graduation statistics. Jobs, housing, and general economics were evaluated. Could you get a job? Could you get housing? Did potential income match available housing? We looked at homelessness and programs for those unable to care for themselves. Each of these categories was evaluated using racial and economic factors. Was there equity regardless of color, creed or income? And so on.

What did the researchers conclude?

Assessing Dallas from the vantage point of an average family seeking a place to raise children, no one would want to live in a city in the condition of Dallas. The crime, the decrepit social systems, the disease, the economic discrepancies, the racial injustice all disqualified this community from having an adequate quality of life.

The study was not concluded, however. These meddling researchers now wanted to find out how the most respected Christian leaders in Dallas would respond to such findings. Here is what they discovered:

We now took this devastating picture of a broken community to the Christian leaders and asked for their observations. We chose leaders of status and integrity. We chose the kind of Christian leaders other Christians would respect. One by one, each pastor viewed the same facts about the condition of his city. We asked each minister, “As a Christian leader what is your response to the condition of your community?” Without exception, in various ways, they all said the same thing, “This is not our concern… we are spiritual leaders.”

And so the question remains: “Is poverty a Christian issue?” Does the gospel have anything to say about the physical, political, and sociological consequences of a fallen creation? Asked another way, is salvation concerned merely with making sure people go to heaven when they die or does salvation have more mundane concerns as well?

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