stories of people living a socially engaged way of life

February 4, 2008

For long now I’ve been convinced that you’ll find an emerging worldview, theology, and way of doing church not in the first place in the books of French philosophers, American theologians and hip pastors, but by looking at what is happening around you. Sure, sometimes you need all these fancy people to teach you how to look, else you might miss the important things.

I’ve been connecting with some people in the congregation where I’m currently working, and yesterday a couple told me the most amazingly interesting things. Let me first say, I find these people to be highly commited Christians, but I’m not sure whether they are that activaly involved with the congregation, although they attend regularly. But from day one the way they did the day to day things got my attention.

So, yesterday they told me about a project they are involved with. A couple of friends get together, and they do projects or something, I’m not sure how it work, to collect money, and then they take the money, and give it to children that have needs, working with social workers in the North of Pretoria. Apparently some people want them to do this through official church channels, but they don’t think it will work, cause it have to be a friend thing, and the friends are members from different churches. I wanted to say that actually, I think they might be more church when doing that, than at any other time!

I’ve been feeling like blogging this story all day, but didn’t feel like blogging generally, so I just didn’t. But just now I was reading further in Gibbs and Bolger’s Emerging Churches, and got to the chapter on serving with generosity, and they were saying the exact same thing I’m seeing in these friends I’ve just mentioned. They observed an upcoming generation in emerging congregations that don’t like the programmatic approach of official social programs, that ask people to commit to something once-off, or just so a program will run, but rather encourage a socially engaged way of life.

To ask these people to do it the church way, might just mess up the great things they are doing for these kids. But churches would then have to change their ideas that we need to have long lists of projects with which we are involved with, because members of the congregation are involved with great things. On the other hand, we need to recognize the important work congregation have been doing officially, and talking about a socially engaged way of life must never become an excuse to get of the hook. But OK, I just thought I’d tell you about these friends.

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2 Responses to “stories of people living a socially engaged way of life”

  1. Ronald Says:

    It’s like giving the power back to the people, the way I see it. A responsibility shift – away from the institution towards the individual. But you’re right, taken the wrong way, this could be a horrible excuse for churches to avoid their responsibility.

  2. cobus Says:

    My grandfather left his congregation years ago because the church council’s mission report consisted only of that which individual farmers did in their own capacity on their own farms. The church claimed this for itself, because it had no mission to report.


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