Posted by: DCox | November 4, 2009

Becoming the Church of the Poor

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When we claim our own poverty and connect our poverty with the poverty of our brothers and sisters, we become the Church of the poor, which is the Church of Jesus. Solidarity is essential for the Church of the poor. Both pain and joy must be shared. As one body we will experience deeply one another’s agonies as well as one another’s ecstasies. As Paul says: “If one part is hurt, all the parts share its pain. And if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy” (1 Corinthians 12:26).



If each of us could admit that we are fundamentally flawed, that would go a long way to making the Church the Church of the poor. The Church of the poor is a church that is safe because there isn’t the dynamic of pretense. The Church of the poor is a place where mercy and grace are readily received and passed forward. Reciprocity is possible because we truly understand we are broken and the recipient of God’s unconditional love. What could be better?

Unfortunately, so many of us in the Church are afraid of knowing the depth of the poverty of our lives. We avoid pain like the plague.


Responses

  1. Having grown up poor in a large, rural farm family in Minnesota and not even realizing we were at the time [post WII so pretty much everyone was], I’m very aware of the affluence I’ve experienced in my lifetime–and I’m FAR from what one would consider being RICH.

    My issue with discussion related to church and the poor is that I understand Jesus instructed the CHURCH to care for the poor, the sick, the widowed, etc. We VERY much need to respond to that calling by DOING!

    I don’t recall he ever spoke to the Government of any land/nation to do this…enlighten me if I’m wrong on this. The efforts for Government to impose the calling to care for others are doomed to failure because first of all the condition of the “heart” of man needs to be addressed. If the Government were committed to the teachings of Jesus [which it surely is not] then I would take a different view [maybe].

    • Maxine, I don’t disagree that the Church needs to be the Church. However, if we don’t start from the common ground of understanding that we are all poor – so far less than God intended for humanity – we will care for others in ways that are disempowering. And without this attitude the Church will an unattractive place.

  2. Oops…that would be WWII


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