Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Reminds me of a couple verses

I was just going to post this as a comment but I think it stands on it's own
Isaiah 58:6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
58:7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Matthew 25:40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
25:41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
25:42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
25:43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
25:44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'
25:45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'
25:46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Hard words but we all need to practice comapassion and hospitality


Dave King said...

Thoses verses are quite scary. I messes up the nice tidy picture that we evangelicals crave. The first group is cluesless as to what they did and the second group is also clueless. I wonder if this means neighther group was made up of good Chruch people.

Richard said...

It also messes up the proper picture that "Conservative Catholics" crave too. For too long, "good Catholics" (which curiously enough did not include the Pope) have steered clear of "Social Justice" because of its association with rejecting orthodox teaching.

From the years I spent in the Baptist and IVCF community, I got the impression that these evangelical communities were also in the process of revitalizing their charitable ministries which had unfortunately lapsed because of its association with "liberalism". These verses got brought up a lot to re-awaken interest in charitable ministry amongst the "Scripture is the inerrant word of God" crowd.

I found Benedict's encyclical Deus Caritas Est particularly helpful in mending my broken thinking as well.

In particular, section 24 speaks of Julian the Apostate trying to replace Christianity with Paganism in Rome. Julian realizes that the defining and most attractive aspect of Christianity is its charitable ministry and so instructs the Pagan priests to imitate and outdo the Christians in this activity so as to win people over.

The realization then hit me that if "liberal Christians" have indeed defected from the Christian faith and are leading people astray yet attracting members by their charitable activity, then Evangelical Christians and Conservative Catholics (the two Christian groups I most strongly identify with) are making the situation even worse by staying away from such ministries.

I found section 19 onwards particularly helpful both in changing my attitudes towards charitable ministries and social justice and also in helping me clarify the "uneasy feelings" I had about some of the erroneous thinking that goes on in current "social justice" ministries.

Section 21 was particularly helpful in explaining why the early Church chose people with a reputation for being filled with the spirit to do "service ministries" like waiting on tables and other menial chores which do not appear to require deep theological insight.