Chapter Six: Economics of Rebirth

“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 special program or distribute excess food and clothing through organizations and never have to open up our homes, our beds, our dinner tables. When we get to heaven, we will be separated into those sheets 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 the Salvation Army and they clothed me.’” (p 148). In what ways do some of our ministries contribute to depersonalizing the poor?

“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 feel good, the poor get clothed and fed), but no one leaves transformed. No radical new community is formed.” (p 149). Does your church provide you with space for transformation and radical new community?

“One of the challenges I see is that it can be fashionable to talk about justice and still not know, personally, many of the people affected by injustice. We can have conferences where we care about justice from a safe distance, but still may not have the voices of those most affected by injustice among us…Real justice goes deeper—it changes us, it keeps us up at night, it causes us to ache in our guts and to weep from the depths of our souls because we know by name the people being abused. It might even mean we go to jail or suffer with them for trying to put our bodies in the way of whatever is about to run over them.” (p 151-152). How have you come to personally know injustice - either in your life or in the lives of others?