This blog is meant to be an encouragement to you as you journey through your day. If you have a question about the life of faith, please feel free to email me. I certainly don't have all the answers, but I welcome the conversation.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Help - but don't touch

The other day I was reading and listening to the blog of one of the best communicators I know, Scott Daniels. In his devotional, he included these two quotes: 

"Many beautiful Christians working for social change in a range of movements believe we can bring about fundamental change by using power benevolently rather than reworking the power equation. We see ourselves as the good guys who will use our influence for justice - and perhaps, in these terms, we succeed in getting our candidate on the ballot or elected. But the Christ we follow has a different, harder path - one of downward mobility, of struggling to become the least, of joining those at the bottom.  - Shane Claiborne

"Jesus' whole life and mission involve accepting powerlessness and revealing in this powerlessness the limitlessness of God's love. Here we see what compassion means. It is not a bending toward the underprivileged from a privileged position; it is not a reaching out from on high to those who are less fortunate below; it is not a gesture of sympathy or pity for those who fail to make it in the upward pull. On the contrary, compassion means going directly to those people and places where suffering is most acute and building a home there." - Henri Nouwen 

This encouraged me to think a bit about our food and clothing ministry - The Bridge.

I have never really been surprised by folks who don't understand why we spend so much time and effort making The Bridge work. I have always known there are people whose worldview would not have room for such things, or who would think we should do it another way, or who would have a problem with "those people." I get that. I even get how folks who put great effort into being followers of Jesus do not understand why we do what we do,
even though I personally cannot be a follower of Jesus and not do what we do at The Bridge.

What surprised me, for a very long time, is how many people who give to the ministry refuse to have any contact with the people who need the food and clothing we share at The Bridge. They bring clothes, they donate canned goods, but they never participate in the best part of what we do - which is build relationships.  I think I think it has something to do with keeping a distance, although I doubt if any of these folks would recognize it as such. As long as I don't get to know needy people, I will never know how much alike we are. 

Most of us have an operational worldview, based upon our position of privilege, that suggests life is fair and everyone gets what they deserve (even if this idea directly contradicts our theology of grace). If I ever found out that the folks who need help feeding their kids are just as kind, just as nice, just as hard-working as I am, maybe I would have to face the reality that my worldview is really faulty. And I would also have to face the reality that I am not that much different from the folks who need some help making it every day. 

Like the wealthy Nicodemus in John 3 and the poor Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, unless I allow Jesus to change the way I view life and the world, and especially my place in it, the living water and eternal life Jesus offers will not only be just out of reach, but it also won't make much sense at all.

Grace and peace,