Thursday, July 14, 2011

Beyond Brokerage

 Here is a small section of Chapter 6 of the book:
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne
I suggest you check this book out. Lots to ponder on.

" It is much more comfortable to depersonalize the poor so we don't feel responsible for the catastrophic human failure that results in someone sleeping on the street while people have spare bedrooms in their homes. We can volunteer in a social program or distribute excess food and clothing through organizations and never have to open up our homes, our beds, our dinner tables.  When we go to heaven, we will be separated into those sheep and goats Jesus talks about in Matthew 25  based on how we cared for the least among us, I'm just not convinced that Jesus is going to say, "When I was hungry, you gave a check to the United Way and they fed me," or, "When I was naked, you donated clothes to Salvation Army and they clothed me."  Jesus is not seeking distant acts of charity.  He seeks concrete acts of love: " You fed me...You visited me in prison... you welcomed me into your home... you clothed me."  Rich and poor are kept in separate worlds, and inequality is carefully managed but not dismantled.

When the church becomes a place of brokerage  rather than an organic community, she ceases to be alive.  She ceases to be something we are, the living bride of Christ.  The church becomes a distribution center, a place where the poor come to get stuff and the rich come to dump stuff.  Both go away satisfied (the rich feels good , the poor get clothed and fed), but no one leaves transformed. And Jesus did notset up a program but modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors (all economic words).  That reign did not spread through organizational establishments or structural systems.  It spread like disease- through touch, through breath, through life.  It spread through people infected by love."

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