Friday, March 31, 2006

Are You a Good Lover?

I've been thinking and writing quite a bit recently about issues of power and privelege versus subordination and disadvantage, especially in the church.

Some behaviors cannot be overlooked as we continue to play religious games. The very foundation of our witness as Christians is in how we love and treat one another.

It isn't an exaggeration to say that the same values of social status that exist in the world also exist in our churches. The class system is built on an underlying belief that some of us are better than others.

Competition and comparison are like an infectious disease to a church community. Often our church structures play into peoples' need to belong and desire for importance and purpose, actually perpetuating the problem.

Rather than simply being critical or cynical, I am trying to say, "Let's take a look at this."

If we don't address the issue of how we see one another in the body, how can we ever hope to have the right attitude towards those we are called to love and serve who are not yet a part of the kingdom?

On a Sunday morning, how many people will we walk past without even glancing their way? Who do we dismiss? Who is it easy to overlook?

Are we ready yet to stop viewing the poor, the needy, and the outsiders as "them" and to begin to consider them equally "one of us"?
"By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35)

How is the quality of our love for one another? I believe it has to go beyond outward friendliness and must address our willingness to lay down our own status in order to oppose whatever systems of power and exclusion we encounter.

I hope this doesn't come off as preachy, but if I'm preaching to anyone, it is to myself. These are the issues I'm dealing with in my heart and life.


4 comments:

Pam Hogeweide said...

i'm with ya grace. the more i discover the love of God the more I realize how judgemental and conditional i am with love. jesus is the fiercest, most impartial Lover I have ever known. He inspires me to love.....

I wonder how much humility is tied together to loving others???

grace said...

Pam,
What I am learning is that we can't possibly love in a real way unless we are willing to choose humility first. This puts us into a proper relationship for loving in a way that isn't self-serving or condescending.

Inheritor of Heaven said...

One thing that being in the "Care Ministry" (as proposed by Ken Houts in his book "You are a Miracle Waiting to Happen") has done for me is to look around more. Who looks new (the deer in the headlights look)? Who looks like they are looking for something (or someone)? Who looks like they need prayer (or a hug or whatever)? Who is bursting with joy (I want some of that joy to spill over onto me)? This inserting of ourselves into someone elses situation takes courage and humility and sometimes a thick skin (if we are rejected in some way).

grace said...

inheritor,
Those are some really good tips for observing who needs to be reached out to. You are right, it can be scary, but it means we are putting someone else's needs above our own.
Thanks for sharing your comment.