The kingdom of carers

The paradox of how the flawed unveils the holy

Read an article recently about the life of the carer. Of course there are millions in our country, paid or unpaid. Perhaps you are one yourself. In any case a person going somewhere with his or her carer is a commonplace on every bus, town centre, or tourist spot.

The lessons carers learn:

enjoy the moment;

look at the heart, not the surface;

treasure every human;

understand that loving commitment enables you to travel miles together;

don’t mind walking pace;

don’t worry about tomorrow.

These are kingdom-of-God lessons. One almost wonders how you can have a kingdom of God without the need to care; like the Kingdom was made to flourish among imperfection, limitation, and brokenness. How can it flourish without it? This is akin to the question, if everything were perfect, where would be the place of love? Too difficult.

Eight hard truths about the contemporary church

The current book that I am reading, scrambling to understand, trying to assimilate, and also trying to argue with is this:

It is excellent (so far). I hope I am giving tasters rather than spoilers if I quote what comes at the end of his first chapter. The italicised bits are my commentary

Eight hard truths about the contemporary church

1. A great deal of Protestant Christian culture and practice is still perpetuating a sacred- secular dualism. Among the symptoms of this I notice can be a sense that ordinary work’s real value is generating resources to use on Christian stuff, paying the bills, and offering opportunities to share the gospel with workmates. Work done well, for its own sake, taking part in the re-creation of the world, perhaps, is underplayed as a Christian imperative.

2. Faithful biblical and relational whole life discipleship is a rare experience, but a strong desire, for most young people.

3. The ministry and mission of the whole people of God continue to be marginalized by many church leaders and by theological training programs. The church is still mostly training clergy.

4. With few exceptions, the church has lost a clear, gracious, and intelligent public voice and tends to sound either shrill or unsure of itself.

5. Much of the energy of Christian public engagement is focused on changing or preventing changes to legislation that would affect Christians. It is a lobbying exercise, not a missional exercise.

6. Church leaders spend most of their time on matters of internal organization and practise rather than on the church’s communal public works and witness.

7. Despite the lesson of World War II, much of the church is still vulnerable to ideological capture by the major narratives of western culture. Middle class values must be maintained at all costs.

8. Investment to ensure Bible confidence among Christians and church leaders is low.