Get Mucky 2

Some late reading before sleep last night, I got back into Other: Loving Self, God and Neighbour in a World of Fractures by Kester Brewin. I thought the chapter I read seemed to share my thoughts from yesterday’s post…

We can see both strategies in the church: buildings and services fortified against welcome, missions boards thumb-tacked with photos of those we support in far off places. We don’t fear reaching out to those who in turn are out of reach. We can support African children precisely because they are in Africa; the issue of disaffected children on our own streets is far more problematic because it may require us to do more than put our hands in our pockets. We might actually have to get our hands dirty. The irony of this sterilised view of mission is that our faith is based on the fact that things did get dirty.

…it’s only through intimate involvement with local processes that aid makes any long-term difference. The risk of the food-parcel aid culture is that we create a people totally dependent on hand-outs. Is this not what we are in danger of creating in the church? Don’t we risk producing generations of Christians unable to think or act or create for themselves because we’ve made them totally dependent on the rations thrown out of aeroplanes by the latest big conference shticks? It is against this sort of supply-plane intervention that God in Jesus creeps into our world, virtually unseen.

…there’s a lot of great stuff in this book, very well written, fantastic. Recommended.

Aid does need intimate involvement. We need to anonymously donate sometimes, giving other charity workers the opportunity to use the money to intimately help people themselves, but we can’t just throw money or food at people if they stand in front of us. Aid does need intimate involvement, so next time you meet a homeless person instead of ignoring them or throwing some coppers into a cup, how about a chat?

I won’t forget the time I spent sat with homeless man Duncan whilst on my visit to Salisbury. I hope more people have helped him since I left, and I hope to help more people like him in the future…

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3 Responses to Get Mucky 2

  1. Great post! There are some tough and true statements made about missions. Christians in the west have developed a culture of pocket giving instead of time. I certainly have been challenged by this post.

    Nissi.

  2. Really great post…I want to read that book you are reading! I am constantly frustrated at local churches wanting to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, but most of us can’t even take it to the ends of our street!
    Thank you for sharing and God bless

  3. Rachael Eliz says:

    Thanks to you both for sharing. It is a very good read and recommended! Yes too many churches fall into those ways. Sometimes it’s not a selfish thing they just get caught up in other “missions”, but often it is, which is a great shame and puts a bad name against religion… as do many things unfortunately! Where there is conflict there are imperators – seekers of power. Writing an essay on conflict at the moment, and reminded of a popular post I wrote in the summer you might be interested in:
    https://rachaeleliz94.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/defining-church/

    God bless 🙂

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