This is a Google Tech Talk by Marc Lesser. Even though he comes from a Zen background, there are still some excellent points, especially for those of us called to lead churches in this culture. One of the things he talks about (especially at the end of this) is about chaos/innovation. It makes sense but…
Henri Nouwen writes, The great illusion of leadership is to think that man can be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there. Our lives are filled with examples which tell us that leadership asks for understanding and that understanding requires sharing. So long as we define leadership in terms of…
I saw this article in the South Bend Tribune. While the topic of ‘church’ going into the bars has always been an interesting idea, I often wondered what it might “look” like. Well, here is what it could look like. Apparently this is working. Perhaps it is true that people aren’t anti-God or anti-Jesus. They…
Missional Church – LifeWiki Ah….Now this is more like it. A pretty good start on the definition of a missional church. Now…how does one transform from a from a traditional 100+ denominational church into a missional church?
Helping “the poor”
This has been on my mind and there is much rattling around regarding issues of poverty in America and what can be done. Perhaps I first need to make something clear. Poverty in America is of a different degree than poverty in the rest of the world. It seems that our lifestyle in America creates poverty in America. It isn’t that people here don’t have basic needs, or access to help, but rather, people for whatever reason, when people can’t rise to a certain lifestyle level and that makes them poor.
However, one could say that in order to rise to a ‘normal’ American lifestyle it causes people to make decisions that are not helpful or healthy. For example, the family that takes whatever they have and purchases the large screen TV, or orders satellite or cable service while the children go hungry. Yes, because of the American lifestyle some are left in need.
Some of the need is caused by an inability to understand future consequences. I don’t know of any scientific studies, but antidotally, I know people that don’t seem to be able to understand the consequences of current decisions. They don’t understand that if they spend their $200 for (whatever) they won’t be able to pay for their heat. They have the $200 now, and can’t see the bill at the end of the month. I use to believe this was all budgeting issue, or “self-control”, but now I’m not so sure.
I’m not sure if it is a lack of planning, or if they are literally missing something in their physiological make up. It seems like even though they understand the concept of future consequences (or budgeting), they can’t seem to do anything about it.
Usually when someone finds themselves in a difficult place because of 1) faulty planing, 2) irresponsible lifestyle, 3) some type of mistake they’ve made, etc., many will respond with care, but not grace. Care tries to take care of the person’s need. Grace receives them as they are. Care is concerned about being taken advantage of. Grace asks no questions. Care wants recognition. Grace works behind the scenes.
What would happen if we setup a Grace ministry, or Real Grace ministry? I believe it would look like this: We help, no matter what. Will RGM (Real Grace Ministry) be taken advantage of? YES! Of course! Will RGM make people change their lifestyles? No.
The whole point of such a ministry would be to let people know they are accepted just the way they are…even if they are scamming the ministry. It is a risk, just as grace is a risk. RGM takes a chance.
What would happen? For some, they would remain the same. Others might see this as a cash (or care) cow and abuse the system. But what if….what if after receiving grace after grace after grace, something deep within is awakened? What if after decades of receiving Radical Grace a light comes on deep within their soul?
Most of the care ministries I know require those who are helped to do _something_. RGM wouldn’t. They would be helped and loved.
Why do I write these things? Because as I reflect on the love of God through Jesus, I see real, radical grace. Do some abuse this grace? Yes! Do some receive this grace, yet remain the same? Yes. Do some after years and years of receiving radical grace from a loving God have something deep within awakened to the reality of God? Yes. That is the point.
I have not dealt with the resources to do something like RGM. They would be enormous in my opinion. Yet, God’s grace and God’s resources are also enormous, so when I look at it with a ‘faithfilled’ eye it seems doable (grin).