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August 20, 2008

Comments

Jason Nate

GREAT Stuff man! Love the pic with JP on the side!

Couple of thoughts:

First, you are right on when you write "So how then does the “cross-life” coincide with the apparent power and self-interest that characterizes the economic and social fabric of the good ol’ US of A?" and the anecdote to your church experience at Memorial Day. Too many times we let our nationalism (not necessary wrong) coincide or run along the same lines as our Christian faith, as if they were one in the same. We speak of first amendment rights (right to bear arms, which I am for) as if they come from the Bible. It's tough to separate the two as for so long we lived under the assumption that we are a Christian nation, that we are the modern-day Israel - the people of God - and He protects us because we are American. But I think those days are over. We need to separate our politics from our faith, not that we can get political, but understanding that politics will come and go, the Kingdom and our faith will remain forever, no matter if Obama or McCain gets in or whether the political ideologies of the left or right prevail.

Second, I have to question your comments on third-world cheap labor and how our economy runs on it. Very true in many settings, but again I think the comments are peripheral and delve from the points you were trying to make. From my understanding, the third world cheap labor that you speak of is highly valued by those working in those settings...it allows them to feed their families, send their children to school, maybe even save for an actual dwelling of their own. I can't cite research here, but if my memory holds true from South Africa to Indonesia to China to Vietnam to India to every other place in the world, these Nike and Reebok and Ralph Lauren and other jobs are greatly cherished, the work and income is appreciated, and when Western NGO's come in and demand that these "sweat shops" be closed down, the people are devastated. (Of course, if there is any hint of slave or forced labor evident, it should be shut down, that cannot be allowed.) I know from experience that a great deal of women we work with in the Mathare and Kibera slums of Kenya virtually long for garment making and other such “third world cheap labor” work, and when trained properly and given tools to succeed in the trade, their stories bring tears to my eyes. I think we go wrong when we judge the living conditions of others around the world in comparison to ours, as their goals are not necessarily that they be brought up to our standards (though they no doubt would appreciate it) but rather the simple things in life: food, shelter, education, safety.

Good thoughts man, I love where you are heading with radically assessing the call of the Kingdom with the life we so easily take for granted here in the US. I am on the same journey, and your openness and honesty and insights help me along the road. Blessings man!

Doug Nolte

I need to read these books. Tell me how you think we can get white middle class America (those who profess Christ) to get involved in the inner city. Many are, but most aren't.

Jason Nate

It can't be about "us" getting "white middle class America" into the inner city, just like it can't be about "me" trying to get "the West" or "Christians" more involved in Africa, or Kenya specifically. It has to be about all of us, white middle class and inner city inhabitants alike, to follow Christ, and then respond to the heart He gives us for His people, whether that be those in the inner city, politicians, businessmen, slaves or slum dwellers. It can't be about us, but the desires of our heart that come from our relationship with Christ.

Doug Nolte

My comments are perhaps to narrow minded. But I see the need for a watchman to stand in the gap and influence people. Would you agree that in Christ's model of ministry, he stood in the gap for those in need period?

Maybe I have it all wrong . . .

Ryan

I don't think you have it all wrong, Doug. You and Jason are coming from different perspectives and this was a charged post.
To your initial question. The only way white middle class can get involved in the critical issues of the city is through intentional relationships-stepping out of our areas of comfort and prayer. I wouldn't say Adullam provides a model for it. There's not too many doing it.

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Words make Worlds...

  • "It becomes so clear to me as I grow older that people who change, and keep changing, are the only people who grow up." -Richard Rohr
  • “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be." -John Wooden
  • "Receptivity without confrontation leads to a bland neutrality that serves nobody. Confrontation without receptivity leads to an oppressive aggression which hurts everybody." - Henri Nouwen
  • "Spirituality is not a formula; it is not a test. It is a relationship. Spirituality is not about competency; it is about intimacy. Spirituality is not about perfection; it is about connection. The way of spirituality begins where we are now in the mess of our lives." -Mike Yaconelli
  • "But that doesn’t mean community is easy. For everything in this world tries to pull us away from community, pushes us to choose ourselves over others, to choose independence over interdependence, to choose great things over small things, to choose going fast alone over going far together." -Shane Claiborne
  • "Nothing that we despise in the other man is entirely absent from ourselves. We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or don’t do, and more in light of what they suffer." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create." Albert Einstein
  • "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Howard Thurman
  • "A nation that continues to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." -Dr. Martin Luther King
  • "Our relationship with each other is the criterion the world uses to judge whether our message is truthful--- Christian community is the final apologetic." -Francis Schaefer
  • "It is not allowable to love the Creation according to the purposes one has for it, any more than it is allowable to love one’s neighbor in order to borrow his tools." Wendell Berry
  • "All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. Each one owes infinitely more to the human race than the particular country in which he was born." -Francois Fenelon
  • "Ministry cannot be about maintenance, but it is about gathering, about embrace, about welcoming home all sorts of and conditions of people; home is a place for mother tongue, of basic soul food, of old stories told and treasured, of being at ease, known by name, belonging without qualifying for membership." -Walter Brueggemann
  • "Many poets are not poets for the same reason that many religious men are not saints: they never succeed in being themselves. They never get round to being the particular poet or particular monk that they are intended to be by God." "In order to become myself I must cease to be what I always thought I wanted to be." -Thomas Merton
  • "God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and God's been speaking through them ever since. So, if God chooses to speak through you don't think to highly of yourself." -Rich Mullins
  • "We must become holy not because we want to feel holy but because Christ must be able to live his life fully in us." Mother Teresa
  • "I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self." Henri Nouwen

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