Claiborne, Ch. 6 “Economics of Rebirth”

August 17, 2008

Claiborne writes, “Jesus did not set up a program but modeled a way of living that incarnated the reign of God, a community in which people are reconciled and our debts are forgiven just as we forgive our debtors” (159). We (at least, Presbyterians) are so program-oriented. I’ve been trying for two years to erase more than twenty years of program-mindedness. It’s about living, not structuring a program. Living, and living in community, is what draws people in…but that’s only because we’ve already gone OUT to live and move among the people we want to draw. I constantly wonder how to challenge my home church to reach out to the community in a visible way. We like to write checks, being a rich church, and we like to think we’re open to anyone who comes through the doors (yes, even the homeless!). But we don’t actually go volunteer as members of the church at the Rescue Mission down the street. We write checks to them, but we’ve never been inside. The idea of simplicity is simply outside the realm of experience of the majority of my fellow church members, some of whom actually define themselves by their zip code! What would it look like if we, as a community (albeit a large, rich one) were to attempt the practice of redistribution in our context?

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