I’ve been lacking in posts for a bit because I haven’t been at my computer in Hamilton and have been without constant net access for a while. I have been doing a lot of thinking while being at home in Sarnia and not having my brain fried from my computer monitor and a lot of the thinking has to do with my previous post. I was driving yesterday so I went to the local Christian bookstore and grabbed the book people have been raving about by Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution. After meeting an author I always want to read their books also, besides I knew it would speak a lot to what I was thinking about. Here are some quotes I’ve come across so far.
We try and make the world safe, knowing that the world will never be safe as long as millions live in poverty so a few can live as they wish.
There are congregations on nearly every corner. I’m not sure we need more churches. What we need is a church. I say one church is better than fifty. I have tried to remove the plural form churches from my vocabulary, training myself to think of the church as Christ did, and as the early Christians did. The metaphors for her are always singular – a body, a bride. I heard one gospel preacher say it like this, as he really wound up and broke a sweat: “We’ve got to unite ourselves as one body. Because Jesus is coming back, and he’s coming back for a bride not a harem.
And that’s when things get messy. When people begin moving beyond charity and toward justice and solidarity with the poor and oppressed, as Jesus did, they get in trouble. Once we are actually friends with the folks in struggle, we start to ask why people are poor, which is never as popular as giving to charity. One of my friends has a shirt marked with the words of late Catholic bishop Dom Helder Camara: “When I fed the hungry, they called me a saint. When I asked why people are hungry, they called me a communist.” Charity wins awards and applause but joining the poor gets you killed. People do not get crucified for living out of love that disrupts the social order that calls forth a new world. People are not crucified for helping poor people. People are crucified for joining them.
I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time wit the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. i had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.
But what had lasting significance were not the miracles themselves but Jesus’ love. Jesus raised his friend Lazarus from the dead, and a few years later, Lazarus died again. Jesus healed the sick, but eventually caught some other disease. He fed the ten thousands, and the next day they were hungry again. But we remember his love. It wasn’t that Jesus healed a leper but that he touched a leper, because no one touched lepers.