reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Give me neither poverty nor riches....

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 7 comments
Well, back from Relay 2 where we tried an interesting social experiment making some people rich and some people poor, just for a day. Coupled with a great talk on money at a church I was visiting on Sunday night it made me think...

First of all - poverty is hard and it is nasty. On our rich/poor day, it was amazing how I, full time Christian worker and all round professional Christian had my sin revealed. It really helped me understand how mob mentality can take over when there were seconds of chilli at the evening meal. It showed me how likely I am to be jealous and dissatisfied. How impatient I was with people when I was tired and hungry. The majority of the church in the world lives in much less affluence than I do day by day yet remain a goldy upright pillar of truth to the community around it, often the place where people look for compassion and help, and a place where justice will be sought on behalf of others. Fair play to those Christians who deal every day with not having eaten enough, having no caffeine and sitting on the hard ground, and still honour the Lord Jesus in the way they behave.

Secondly - the injustice of the world is so much more clear when it is demonstrated in front of your eyes. One of the rich people said "I felt guilty - but it is what I do every day - I just can't see it." Who cares about social action vs evangelism debates, the way I behave every day adds to the inequalities of the world, which, if I could see them in front of me, I couldn't live with. I have got to change.

Thirdly - I spent all of the day being "poor" praying for strength to go on, taking comfort in the encouragement of others, and being so grateful for what I usually have. It really is true - being rich, as most of us are most of the time makes us arrogant as 1 Timothy warns. Money is dangerous.

My I have strength to pray the prayer of Proverbs 30:8 and mean it -
"Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
Give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise. I may have too much and disown you, and say
"Who is the Lord?"
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonour the name of my God."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Incarnation people

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 5 comments
This Christmas I spent more time than ever before actually thinking about the incarnation. One would think after 27 of them I might have got round to that before...but what can I say? I'm slow.

The incarnation has become much more important for evangelicals recently, because of the fevered rantings of Rev Chalke et al about penal substitution. As has been said many times his criticisms are undermined if one has a strong doctrine of the Trinity etc etc etc.

Well not wanting to rehash that whole argument, but I wonder if our weak doctrine of the Trinity, coupled with a very strong doctrine of the atonement has negative effects, at least on me. I am rubbish at spending time with non-Christians (I am going somewhere with this) and I am rubbish at having compassion and getting down into the mess with people who have messed everything up. I would love to be better, but my first reaction to non-Christians is to either shut up or think self righteous thoughts. And my first reaction instinctively (although I am working hard to control and develop my character) to people who have messed up is often irritation not compassion. I hate that about myself, and I have been really convicted about it seeing a female colleague at my church do her work so kindly....

But anyway. I wonder if my problem is/was a weak doctrine of the incarnation. (as`well as that of my own sin, but that's another story) I had a wrong view of God, which I was trying to copy of JUST being the one in heaven judging. But God is also the one on earth taking the judgement, the one rescuing us by being in the mess, the one compassionately stooping to help
the one taking the pain of my sin on himself. I wonder if a weak doctrine of the incarnation - not seeing that Jesus really was human - is what led the evangelicals of yesteryear to become to pietistic and withdrawn from society (despite all of their strengths). Well I don't know about them, but as always, believing things or not believing things in this case, was not turning me into a very nice person. Belief and behaviour people - they are totally linked. I want to be an incarnation person.