Friday, June 3, 2011

"I love ministering to the poor. I just don't want to, you know, hang out with them."

There's a hard rub in Crosswind style missional life. If we are going to throw our lives in with the poor... how far in do we go? I mean, we really love the poor but are we gonna have to hang out with them too?

Crosswind life is integrated. We have people from very different backgrounds together in the intimate settings of bible study, sharing life stories and just 'doing life' together. We can characterize 'us' into two basic groups... the 'haves' and the 'have nots'.

1) There are the 'silver spooners' who have never struggled and have no clue even what that means. Similar to them are the 'bootstrap bunch' who were born needy but took the bull by the horn and did the best with what was available to them and now have a lot.

2) There are the 'working poor' who make enough to get by and the 'struggling to survive' bunch. Now it seems on it's face that's a great bunch to put together. One can help the other in so many different ways. But as you can guess and if you go to any church on Sunday you'll see... it hard to hang out with folks that aren't like you.

What are some examples of the practical problems?

Well, when it comes to church camp one group can send their kids and the other group can't. For that matter, anything that costs a lot and requires discretionary income to fund falls in that category, including going out to eat and even the movies.

When it comes to the particular house used for the home group meeting, the 'haves' can meet together and the 'havenots' can meet together but if you mix em you are going to meet some tension. Even the meal that you bring can potentially cause tension... one not able to bring food and the other brings disproportionately more compared to if we were segregated.

One of the great areas of growth in our collective lives is due to this dynamic. The 'haves' find that their pettiness sounds almost harsh to the 'havenots'. The 'havenots' struggle with jealousy and regret. The 'haves' get bitter when their extra mile is not appreciated and the 'havenots' take and take without thanks and sometimes abuse the relationship.

And suddenly in the middle of it all, the gospel comes alive. The Holy Spirit quickens the hearts of both groups to love each other and there is a depth that comes to our lives and relationships as we walk life's journey together.

I believe this is exactly what the first century church felt when they laid whatever they had at the apostles feet so that everyone's needs would be met. Unfortunately in the church today the 'haves' meet together so there are no needs to meet and the 'have nots' meet together so they can't meet each others needs if they wanted to.

We wouldn't take anything for the growth that this experience is giving us. It exposes our hearts in community so that the gospel can bring the change we need. It rips and tears at our deepest sins and idolatry like nothing else can. It lays bare our selfishness and jealousy, greed and envy. And it allows us to be free. Free to love and enjoy each other and slowly but surely by God's Spirit and His grace makes us a family.

Yesterday, a great 'have not' friend of mine said, "I don't think I'll ever feel like one of you guys" and he let the sting of that settle in and then said "but I love you man, I really love you." That's enough for me, for now.


0 - read/write comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.