More than a mission project

My niece gave me a book to read by Shane Claiborne titled, “The Irresistible Revolution.”  Shane obviously likes to stir the pot and, in doing so, he gives the Church much to think about.  In a world where pop Christian theology seems to look forward to leaving this world behind, this book offers another view of the Kingdom of God.

Shane provides a picture of hope.  He writes of the Church, the body of Christ, serving the poor as Jesus did.  But it is not just about mission projects or giving money to the mission fund.  In an environment where evangelism has been politicized and Christian living is about doing things right, Shane tells of a Church movement that is at work doing the right things. [1]   He provides a hope that this world can, through the body of Christ, be transformed by God.

Key to imitating Jesus, Shane believes that if we have two coats, one belongs to us and the other belongs to the poor.  If we have an unused bedroom in our house, we have a place for the homeless.  Living in community with the poor, Shane practices what he preaches.  I’m not sure, but it seems as if Shane might believe that all Christians should live as he does.  That’s a discussion for another time, but for now he provides a message that Christians need to hear.  The following are a few of his thoughts that are speaking to me and I offer them for contemplation (the titles are my comments):

More than fire insurance:

“Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.”

To know you is to love you:

“…the great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”

More than pity; I am, I said:

“It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a mission project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream, and struggle.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”

I find these thoughts convicting and I’m not sure how they are to play out in my life.  This I know: God’s plan for His kingdom is not merely to do a work in and for the individual, it is to work through us to transform His creation. [2]   As a member of the body of Christ, this speaks deeply to me.  How will this affect how I serve Him?

[1] A twist on a Peter Drucker statement on leadership.
[2] A thought paraphrased from N. T. Wright’s book, “Surprised by Hope.”

2 thoughts on “More than a mission project”

  1. What insight! Makes me think about the life and teachings of Jesus. . . One day the Pharisees asked Him, “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus told them, “The Kingdom of God isn’t ushered in with visible signs. You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:20-21,NLT) It’s not a place far off in the future. The Kingdom of God is present, living among us now. May we live accordingly.

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