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tv   Tavis Smiley  PBS  September 17, 2010 12:30am-1:00am EDT

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a conversation with one of this country's most prominent preachers, max lucado. he has sold 65 million copies around the world. his latest is a look at how each one of us can leave a lasting legacy will be on our time at birth. the new text is called "outlive your life." also, a special performance from john mellencamp. it is in stores this week. author and preacher max lucado and a special performance from john mellencamp. >> his name is james and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide is proud to
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join tavis a. nationwide is on your side. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] captioned by the national captioning institute tavis: max lucado is a renowned preacher who sit -- preaches in san antonio. he is a best-selling author whose books have sold more than a 55 million copies around the world. his latest text is called "outlive your life: if you were made to make a difference." thank you for joining us. i was immediately struck by this
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book because of the title. how is that possible? >> i think that it is. down deep, we all want to. we all want to leave -- leave a legacy. we want to do more than just live. we want to make a difference while we are here. for some people, life is tough. how could i do more than put food on the table? one of the secrets in life that you have discovered, we really live a better life when we live for others than for ourselves. that is the way that the creator intended it to be. if we live for other people, we leave this world in a different way. if you are a great christian heritage, this goes into the next life. this is an exciting part of christian service. the part of the service they have forgotten for the poor, the
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disenfranchised, the lonely, it will be remembered in the live to come. tavis: how did you begin the process of thinking about your legacy? thinking about trying to outlive your life when people are having trouble trying to live their life. when you are trying to make it in the here and now, how do you think about the, and then? >> nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something. the problems are so immense. we are overwhelmed with the statistics. the statistics are important. 1.75 billion people are destitute. people die every day of preventable diseases. the numbers kind of knock you down. i do not know where to start. the place not to start is to
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say, i have got to solve all of that. the place to start is to say, when i see a person in need, i am going to see what i can do to help that person. volunteering in school to help somebody learn how to read. giving the best of my ability, energy, and skills to mitt -- to try to make where i live a better place. we can trust that the sum total of all of those, some people doing a lot and other people doing what seems to not be much, but doing what they can. that will all make this world better. tavis: is that just about seeing was the need is and trying to respond to that need? in the process, you create a legacy. is it more deliberate? we were talking about presidents.
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i made the point that it seems to me that every president has the same goal in his first term, which is to get reelected. every president has the same goal in the second term, which is to focus on the legacy. the first term, you have got to get reelected. the second, you have got to work on the legacy. i wonder if creating the legacy is following the need or respond to it wherever you find it. is indeliberate? this is what i'm going to spend my life's work on. this is going to be my legacy. >> i think it is going to be more deliberate. we analyze the opportunities we have been given and the opportunities that we have. not everybody can be a tavis smiley. not everybody can have a successful program like this. tavis: thank god.
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i do not need any more competition. >> not all of us can create a foundation that is worth $1 billion. i would encourage everybody to look back at your life and find the things you have done well and find the things that you enjoy doing. i think that god loves us too much to help -- have as to something we do not want to do. some people have a heart for orphans, somehow for justice, some for education. what gets you going? when you find a need and a skill and you stand at the intersection of the need and the skill and you stand in a way to honor god and yourself, i think that is a successful life. everybody can do that to one degree or another. >> it sounds to me that bank i take what you said at face
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value, then -- if i take this at face value, it sounds like even agnostics and atheists can buy into that. >> you talk about a common ground that we can work on. it seems like we are going on the 11th. the common ground that we can all work on it is this. we may have differing philosophies as to how people got into the mess that we are in, but we can all agree that there are too many people hungry, there are too many people dying of preventable diseases. compassion gives us a common ground to stand on. regardless of your faith or background, it gives you a chance to stand shoulder to shoulder rather than to go fist to fist with somebody. it gives us an opportunity for
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some good, honest dialogue. let's work together. i've lived in san antonio, texas. we are seeing our city come together in trying to find a solution to the inner city problems. i do not take any credit. there is another team that has rallied non-profit organizations to get under the same roof. they have done some successful fund-raising. they have been working together to try to help solve the challenge about what to do with the inner city and the homeless. it is a phenomenal story. it can happen. tavis: i believe it can happen. what troubles me and many others watching right now, they probably empathize with the point i am trying to make, that is that it seems to me that the very church from which you come, the very church from which i come, has too many disparate
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opinions about that word compassion. i am talking about the examples popping into my head where i think the church, as we know it, is inconsistent on this notion of compassion. we are consistent on compassion where immigrants are concerned. we are inconsistent on compassion about this mosque in new york. we are inconsistent about compassion as far as the environment is concerned. i know people that are better to animals than to negros. i think you are right. i wonder bank it is more aspiration. the idea that we can and do. >> you are very pragmatic in your observation. what i try to do in the book is
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to call people back to the first 12 chapters of the book of acts, which is really the history of the church. those are the early days of the church in jerusalem. it is not like the church that we see today. gives us hope. we are thinking, maybe it can happen again. it is a church of racial equity. it is a church that breaks down walls of bias. there are ancient walls of bias between the jew and samaritan. the new testament opened doors and built bridges instead of walls. one of the most famous conversions is the ethiopian you next. there was a disciple named philip reaching out to the black from ethiopia. they go into the water together
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and get baptized. every generation since then has been trying to go back and read discover this. this is part of what this message is about. tavis: i wonder bank it is your sense that most of us truly believe -- if it is your sense that most of us truly believe in your subtitle. by fundamentally do not believe that most people do not believe. nobody is trying to put that in them. i am not convinced we are live it -- a living in a nation that people believe that they were made for a purpose. that purpose is to make a difference. >> that is a good point. there is such a tendency to get in side are shells. -- inside our shelves -- shells.
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i have to keep all that i can as long as i can. a couple of things here on this book. one thing that i discovered, i have been preaching all of these years and i did not realize. some of the basic opportunities, there is enough food on the globe to feed everybody in the world. that is astounding to me. there are some of the most successful non-profit, both faith-based and non-faith-based organizations. i am convinced that we have tools at our disposal that can allow this generation if not eradicate, at least make a dent in human suffering. if the charge would be the way -- church would lead the way,
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that is what people expect out of the followers of christ. even if new do not believe in christ, you believe that he loved the poor. they see the inconsistency there. they say that they are followers of christ. he said that i am here to speak the gospel to the poor. he could not begin his first sermon without talking about it. that is where this has to be. >> how much are you willing to indict the church? that is a strange phrase for me to use. i am not sure there is this entity, the church, as there used to be back in the day. how willing are you to indict the church on what is wrong with the world in which we live? if be church were to take the lead, if we could address these
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issues more aggressively, homelessness and poverty, if jesus' life is about anything, it is about that. how willing are you to indict the church? >> i would give the church a round of applause burst. you think about the amazing amounts of compassion that are happening right now. our church just sent a group to haiti. the churches are carrying a lot of the load in a lot of the struggling countries in terms of boots on the ground and not giving up and touching the needs of the people. i would not be hard on the church. i would say that there are so many things that we could do better. if the church could only increase its giving by about 1%, it is a phenomenal amount of money. just 1%.
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i am not convinced that the real compassion taking place in the western culture, as much as we are seeing out of the korean churches and even the church is out of china and south america. they could be more closely connected to struggling and suffering than any of us are. tavis: i do not think they're closer to suffering. i think it is a sad indictment on the church in our country. we are the most prosperous nation in the world. how could we be the church in the most prosperous nation in the world and fall behind korea in doing the work that needs to be done. >> we get inside our shells. we really do. one of the things that the church in the united states is struggling with is that the church exists to equip me. tavis: the old prosperity gospel.
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it is not about giving. it is what you can have. >> i am made -- have been a pastor all of my life. it pushes my button when not one bank of my church member says that we are not doing things the way i want it to be done. the church exists to equip us to be better people rather than entertain me. the entertainment mentality is tough to overcome. everything else in life is entertainment. we assume that the church exists to take care of me, too. at the same time, there are some wonderful church is doing some phenomenal things. i am very encouraged by the younger generation. there seems to be a rawness and freshness about them that is going to take this seriously. tavis: we are in a nation where
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there is a separation of church and state. that is what we say. we know that is not the case. politicians use their faith in their campaign. a lot of politicians are putting their faith out front. they are not ashamed of that. a whole lot of churches are engaging themselves in politics of our nation. what is your sense of how this intersection of church and politics is hurting or helping, depending on your perspective? >> this is going to be a tension that is always going to exist. it has always existed. the united states government does not exist to promote any religion, but to protect the expression of any religion. tavis: unless you are a mosque in new york city. >> i am not one that once the government to endorse or criticize my church.
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that is up to the questions or the muslims or the jews, whoever that person is. that is up to us to promote our own faith. we need the government to be the greenhouse the permits are faith to grow. -- our faith to grow. it is a tense issue. i do not think we're doing that good on our topic. i sense the government wanting to metal just a little bit. i like the image of a greenhouse. let people express their faith. it is up for me to promote my faith and somebody else to promote theirs. protect our rights. tavis: i have said many times that we live in the most multi- ethnic america ever. many of us, protector early in these hard, economically
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challenging times, so many are turning nativist. how does that challenge each of us trying to our lives our own lives? >> here is where faith should set the standard. we should set the pace. while we appreciate our ancestry as americans or are ethnic ancestry, we believe that our real citizenship is in heaven. we want opportunities to help as many people as possible. this life is terribly short and passing very quickly. i want to help as many people as possible. there is the christian posture. we should be less about protecting any type of identity affiliated to a country or ethnic background. we should be more about the fact that we are here for a short time. heaven is going to be a rainbow
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of people. every generation. let's reach out to as many people while we can and help as many people as possible to get there. tavis: so much resonates with a particular passage in a book. everyone of us wants to be appreciated and respected and regarded for the good that we do. we live in a world where everything is about chest thumping. we have got to tell everybody about what we are doing. not enough people are doing good. there are enough people doing good -- there are not enough people doing good quietly. >> some of the strongest church discipline was towards the people that try to get credit for the things that they did. it is a strong chapter in the book of acts. for the people reading that the first time they are saying, in
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the world is happening here? god is saying that the church is not a place to show off. do not seek to be seen. do not let the church become a place that is a las vegas display place to show off. i think a revolution could take place. tavis: i am going quietly. i think this conversation, max lucado and his new book. good to have you on the program. >> it is a great honor. tavis: we continue our week of special performances from john mellencamp and his band. from his new cd, and here is john mellencamp and company performing the title track "know better than best." -- than this."
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good night and keep the faith. >> ♪ give me $25 solve all of my problems ♪ ♪ ♪ take me to a party where i am the only man
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feed me milk and honey ♪ ♪ give me television i've got the bells and whistles and the world on a string ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ give me back my youth do not let me waste it this time stanley cup at the golden gates at the front of the line -- stand me up at the golden gates at the front of the line ♪
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♪ ♪ [applause] >> for more information tavis s. join us next week for a final performance by john mellencamp. >> he needed extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance supports tavis smiley. with every question and every answer, nationwide is proud to
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join tavis in improving financial literacy and removing obstacles to economic empowerment. >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television]
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>> tom: treasury secretary geithner s u


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