Saturday, November 29, 2008

loving...

In reading lately, it's been pointed out again that the Christian community comes together/lives out as something "otherly" in the world.

The writer was addressing the Civil rights movement of the mid-1900's. In that time, it was obvious that those following Christ should find themselves having compassion for those who are oppressed and living in unjust conditions. What was not so obvious was that the Christian community should be focusing on communicating love and grace to those powerful Caucasians who were afraid of what would happen to society if these "others" were granted rights.

This situation can translate into many different discriminated communities we find in our world today. Both internationally, and right here in the good ole' melting pot. Homosexuals, minorities (still), women (still), immigrants (legal AND illegal), etc. The way they are treated/talked about in many circumstances as sort of "sub-human" can inspire even the newest Christian to recognize that God would want justice done. It's easy for us to love the oppressed.

What is a bit harder for us, me at least, is the other side. To love the Pat Robertsons. The James Dobsons (on occasion, I realize Dobson's organization still accomplishes much good today). Doesn't have to be Christian leaders gone bad either, there are plenty of other leaders and political powers who would be guilty of oppression. Their hundreds (thousands?) of followers. The hard part is how to show love (real love, not showy huggy love) to these while at the same time standing for justice in a way that echoes Christs' same desires.

This element also stands out in how the Christian community emerges as "otherly" in the world. Even in a world where justice is seen as a highest priority, to love the oppressor (truly) would be a rare thing to find outside of the Body of Christ. With that understanding, we also must recognize that we cannot force a world-wide utopia by asking the entire world to follow suit. Our concern is now how it will be perceived by the world, or even by those who we love. It doesn't have to "make sense". And yet, it needs to be happening. Locally, nationally, world-wide.

I guess the hard part, for me at least, is this:

"This kind of love is more costly in its relation to the agents of evil than in its obvious agreements with those who suffer injustly."

I don't like the sound of that....but I'm working on it.

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