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Q & A with Tony Campolo
By : Craig Brown
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Tony Campolo, with Tim Costello, participated in a public discussion on the topic of "can mercy and justice meet?" at the Melbourne City Hall. Craig Brown was fortunate enough to grab 15 minutes with Tony Campolo, educator, social commentator, speaker (at this week's UNOH Surrender: 06) and author of over thirty books. CB: Do you think churches understand that they have a role to play in compassion and social justice? TC: I think they have a very clear sense that Jesus has called them to minister to the poor. Jesus makes it obvious that to not respond to the poor is sinful. The thing that needs to happen is that they have to have some concrete ways in which they can be personally involved. That is where I think the church has failed. They failed to connect people with things that can be specifically done, that they can do - consequently they get all worked up and don't know where to channel their energies. Think of it as the responsibility of a good church to provide specific things that church people can do. CB: So it's not so much that they don't want to do it, it's that they lack the necessary information? TC: It's a matter of programming. To tell people that they have to take care of the poor is one thing, but their immediate question is how?

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