Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Monday, September 03, 2007

Trash Talking and Hermeneutics

This Saturday, the church I pastor will join with the Greater Aurora Involved Neighbors, to help clean up the neighborhood (8:30 at the church building for you locals). It’s just this kind of thing that is an example of what Jeremiah referred to when he encouraged those displaced by captivity to work for the well being of the city in which they lived, rather than simply disengaging and waiting for the end of captivity (or the rapture) to remove them from all unpleasantness. Such a posture of disengagement has the effect of declaring that we don’t care about the world around us, other than perhaps caring that souls be saved. And while the saving of souls is arguable a good thing, it’s possible for that care to take a form that says, “unless you come to my church – unless you believe like I do – then I don’t have time for you.”

This posture does immeasurable damage to the church, because it misrepresents the heart of Christ, who seemed to love all people regardless of their background or belief system, caring the well being even of the soldiers who had arrested him in the garden, not to mentions the socially marginalized. The reality is that our calling is to just love people; to care for their well being, and the well being of the space (city) they occupy. This includes picking up trash, painting over graffiti, getting to know our neighbors and working together to find ways to be a blessing. Out of such service comes relationships. But the important thing is that they be relationships without agenda – relationships that are willing to stand with, serve, celebrate with, and love – the other even if they don’t share our deepest held beliefs.

If you’re part of Bethany, I hope you’ll join us Saturday in serving and blessing the city in some small way.



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