First I seem to be a little slack on the old posting front so a few catch ups.
I read a great (!!) response to a book this morning that made me laugh… Writing about a UK author, the person wrote: he might be a big shot in the UK but I tell you the truth the man is a blasphemer.
I tell you the truth!!!!
Now that is quite a statement…
Andy Knox, a good friend who has boundless energy and passion, has a blog Reimagining the future that provokes us just to do that. He works in the health sector and is appalled at the consistent breaking down of the health service in the UK (and beyond) through performance demands that are economically driven. So for fans of, and for those labouring inside the health service in the UK here is a great article written from the experience of a US doctor who had to use the NHS while in London. Care for those in the land – residents or not – is something that, for me, echoes the OT requirements.
But to the main thoughts of this post – two references to culture and the challenges. We are all appalled at the horrendous current scenario in Ferguson and Greg Boyd (who grew up as the son of a Civil rights supporter, and so was free of racism) writes an incisive reflection. He recounts how in the O.J. Simpson trial, close to 90% of African Americans thought O.J. should be acquitted, while the same percentage of whites thought he should be found guilty. Those were moments that caused him to ask a question (as a non-racist). His article suggests that there are walls that we as privileged (colour, race, class, gender, religion) never come up against. We are ‘free’ because we do not experience life from below. (Read the article here).
(Why the different responses from the two communities in the O.J. Simpson trial? Mainly down to their experience of authority.)
My second illustration is from a story recounted to me from Madrid. A (British) pastor went to visit a big Christian convention in Madrid. He left before the end and was just at the stage of putting his keys in the car lock when two men threatened him from behind demanding money. Shocked, he turned around, and recognised that he had seen both men inside the convention. He challenged them with, ‘But I saw you inside…’ The response:
“We are sorry we did not realise you were a brother.”
Funny and also sad. (Though of course we can all rejoice at the benefits of being a brother/sister!!)
And, if you are like me, something rises up within to go straight for the weakness of that expression of faith. I would be tempted to use the word ‘hypocrisy’. The convention was for a group of churches with a specific ethnic background, and although I would not suggest the questionable morals were reflective of the whole group, they probably expose a weakness in that culture. Easy to critique.
However it raises for me the question of what am I blind to because of my culture? Either (as per the Boyd article) I have never lived on the underside of a prevalent culture so am ‘free’, or am blind to what in my lifestyle negates my claim that ‘Jesus is Lord’.
In the Madrid scenario ‘non-brothers’ were viewed as fair game… do I view ‘others’ as fair game, where their loss, can be my gain?