reload The Race by Maurice McCracken

Friday, May 02, 2008

Under-rated spirituality

posted by Little Mo | Permalink | 2 comments
Challenging stuff at house group last night.

We began with a discussion about how different we look to the people around us. Not very, was the answer - because our motivations which are often different are often not able to be seen.

Then we looked at 1 Peter - aliens and strangers in the world. And there is one major mark of Christian spirituality that makes us different to the world around us: submission. Even the section for husbands, which is about wives submitting is basically saying - make her more important than yourself. Which is a similar thing to submission - just worked out a bit differently.

Now, I would not have chosen that as a way to impact society for the Gospel. Submission. Particularly, when it comes to working relationships, submitting to being treated unfairly. I was rubbish at that when I was in the workplace, and complained loudly when I thought I had been unfairly treated. And who can deny that, had I submitted to unfair treatment, I would have looked hugely different to the culture around me?

I guess the passage leaves me with lots of questions: when is it right to submit, and when is it right to stand up for your rights? Is it possible to do both - stand up for the right to preach the Gospel but in a submissive way? Where does this leave Christianity and politics and fighting against injustice, which is so much the trendy label of Christian spirituality today? Yet, 1 Peter seems to say Jesus shaped spirituality puts up with injustice and submits. I'm not sure what I make of that.

But one thing is clear. To be an alien, a stranger, a sojourner in the world means to be the least likely person to react to being treated unfairly. There may be a Biblical mandate for defending victims of injustice, but there is not one for kicking against being treated unfairly yourself. The fact is that the culture, which I have bought into, is likely to make me happy to live with injustice to others and get really angry about personal unfairness to me. Biblical spirituality is the opposite - and would certainly mark me out as a stranger round here.