A friend posted a blog about how his day was "interrupted" when he was sitting in a coffee shop and he tried to help a stranger who had his laptop stolen by offering him a lift. He reflected how there are opportunities all around us for our lives to be "interrupted" and there are opportunities for us to "get involved". Don't get me wrong, this guy is a radical christian who is often found among the poor, has lived in very broken communities and I would certainly regard him as a radical Christian, but it got me wondering about my own life before and after moving to Hillbrow... where I am now in the midst of extreme poverty and need all around me (all the time)... there are now literally 10s of thousands of people with stolen laptops all around me (well not literally stolen laptops), but you know what I mean... actually their "stolen laptops" are real life and death crises... like malnutrition or no food, heroine addictions, exclusions from schooling, poor water and sanitation, evictions, horrific housing conditions, exploitative labor conditions, rats eating children while they are sleeping (actually got an sms from a friend two weeks ago about this) and much, much more... actually a stolen laptop, while a HUGE irritation, is not that bad when I think of the scale of human suffering around me... and this got me thinking more... about the church, where it is at and about how the church is "looking for something to do", and people are wondering "is there someone, somewhere that I can help" or "oh, maybe one day God will place someone in my path" Is this the Christianity we find in the bible??? There really is something very wrong with this picture in a world with so much human suffering... why is the church not here in Hillbrow and places like it instead of hanging out in places where it is very unlikely to be confronted with real life and death human needs? In my heart I understand - I was there... I still often am - hanging out in safe places far from hurt. I know that I long for something more! I dream of another kind of church... one that is not afraid of going to "dangerous", or "needy" places on the margins... where what is required of us is more that "to be a little inconvenienced", but rather to share generously and abundantly of our possessions, time, talents, friendships, influence, perhaps even our lives... where our prayers will be filled with passion and desperation and lament and longing for God to intervene and bring justice...
And this got me thinking of how much of the modern church reads Luke 4:18-19...
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me...
To gently, though friendships that are non-judgmental and uplifting, over a cup of specialty coffee, share the story about how they are forgiven and now a have a secure future in the clouds, and they never have to do anything else with their lives of that is of significance - except share this message with their friends in the middle class;
He has sent Me to heal those who had a rough day at work;
To proclaim liberty to those struggling with negative words that were spoken to them this week;
And recovery of sight to those who don't see the how nice and special they really are,
To set at liberty those who are struggling with low self esteem;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (as long as I am not too inconvenienced by all this)!
What happened to the literal "poor", "brokenhearted", "blind" and those actually "oppressed"... uuuuuuggggg!!!! What has happened to the gospel? There has to be more!
Maybe it is time Jesus came into our separated lives, spilled our specialty coffee, turned the tables to chase us out to where we are really needed!