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Heavenly-Minded Christians Care for Refugees

It's possible to be so heavenly-minded that we are of no earthly good. But Professor Todd Whitmore from Notre Dame has also observed how being heavenly-minded can lead to incredible deeds of earthly goodness. After the war in Uganda had dragged on for over 20 years, Whitmore moved into the refugee camps in northern Uganda to hear the stories of the displaced Acholi people. As he observed the Christians who were working among the Acholi, he saw what he called "what real Christianity looks like." Whitmore discovered that the most practical and helpful workers among the Acholi were also the most heavenly-minded. He called them "reasonable apocalyptists," which means that these Christian workers thought a lot about God's intervention at the end of history.

These heavenly-minded Christians believed that no human effort could be relied upon to help the Acholi; it had to come from God. As one of the Christian workers in the camps said, "God is tired [of this war and suffering], and he will intervene." Because they believed that God would intervene, they also believed that it's worthwhile to work for good. In the United States, people who talk about God's future intervention are often accused of being escapists, impractical, or even mentally unstable. But in the refugee camps of northern Uganda they were the most rational people. Whitmore discovered that they were the ones who kept saying things like, "We want to make a difference here and now. We want to help with the orphans."

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