Life 103

Saturday, January 07, 2006

integral mission

The primary reason I'm attracted to the emerging church is its reintegration of the social gospel back into the message of the church; the message that says living out a life of love for God and others isn't an appendix to the mission of the church, it is the mission of the church.

Lately I’ve been wrestling with the disconnect between preaching the Word and doing the Word. As a “doer,” I am a tad over sensitive when those who preach don’t appear to value my life mission of “caring for the widows and orphans” in the form of our most marginalized citizens, the elderly and disabled. Because of my job, I am a member of a monthly meeting for local clergy and these meetings have been sparking an ugly negative internal reaction toward "preachers" lately. It is especially ironic that this group is one of the signers on the original grant to start my organization, Faith in Action, 10 years ago.

The funny thing about wanting to be valued as a doer of the gospel is that, that desire goes completely against Jesus’ call to humility. I shouldn’t need to be patted on the back by anyone but him. I shouldn’t need to be validated by the clergy club because Christ himself is validating me.

I know I don’t have my own integral mission exactly right. If I did, I wouldn’t be this defensive. Hopefully, my friends in the pastorate will put up with me while I’m working this all out for myself. Thanks to Scott Wagoner for his very helpful words on “Philanthropy vs. Christian mission” posted at his Quaker Renewal Forum blog and to the friends and co-workers who have probably already figured this out for themselves but who willingly lend their listening ear anyway.


  • I think the work you do is absolutely at the heart of Christ's call: you're not doing it trying to "get other to be like you" - you're doing it out of the love you've experienced from Christ, and you share that love with others.

    Thanks for what you do, friend.

    By Blogger Aj Schwanz, at 12:41 PM, January 07, 2006  

  • Oh, if I could only remember Bob Crandall's wise words to me so many years ago, "Every Christian doing what God has called her to do is in ministry," in the moment!

    By Blogger kathy, at 7:06 PM, January 09, 2006  

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