Over the past few weeks a couple of events have been on my mind (Holocaust Memorial Day & a planned UK Tour by evangelist Franklin Graham). They are completely unrelated and yet both leave me with the resounding message of the importance of loving our neighbours, of not 'othering' those who are different from ourselves.
There is a fairly common expression of Christian relationships that speaks of three dimensions - Up to God, In to the church, and Out to the unbelieving world. I think this provides a useful summary of Christian community which I hope to unpack in future posts; but I have come to realise at least one axis is missing.
My wife and I enjoy making up stories about people. We might be out for coffee, sitting on a train or walking through town. Just based on what someone is wearing or how they present themselves we imagine a whole back story to their life, relationships they have or don't have, and what they are … Continue reading A Vision for Church: Listening
One week I am waking up wondering about the safety of a journey across Harare to the airport, the next I am taking my kids to school then heading towards the Houses of Parliament. One week I have no internet due to the Zimbabwe government shutting it down, the next I have easy access to high speed broadband and 4G wherever I go. One week I am in glorious sunshine the next I am wondering if the snow might settle or if it will just blow around a do nothing.
Jesus preached that we should love God and love our neighbours. This week I heard a preacher subtly preach condemnation, encouraging the congregation to boldly stand up for rights, to be ready to fight. It was a sermon that misused scripture and encouraged hatred for anything that is other. It was a sermon that subtly made space for racism, sexism and homophobia. The church is broken because it’s forgotten to love her neighbours and is choosing to fight them instead.
I heard some of the most beautiful and painful words this week. The sentence was translated as something along the lines of “I have discovered humanity again today.” Beautiful because of what the person making the statement was experiencing in that moment but painful because of the journey and experiences that lay behind them. Why … Continue reading Discovering Humanity