Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why we need one more rule.

Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert, 2 guys from the Chalmers Center at Covenant College in Lookout Mountain GA have really got me thinking.

At Sunshine we have 3 rules for the kids:

Respect God
Respect Others
Respect the Building

We try to keep it simple and build discernment with the kids rather than a long list of do's and dont's. I was listening to Pastor Pete (or is that "The Father"?) explain our rules for Summer Blast (50 kids in the building for summer VBS type programming all summer). The BB students help run the program. . . anyway, he was explaining this and other concepts for our working with the youth and doing a great job talking about how we share the gospel, love the kids, encourage/challenge them in these 3 areas.

The ironic thing was that I had just finished teaching about "Shalom" and on a dry erase board near the sign with the 3 R's listed above, I had written out that Shalom entails 3 things:

Joy in Relationship to:
our Environment.

As I sat back listening to Pete I realized that these rules are anchored in a much deeper set of truths than "tell 'em about Jesus and keep 'em in line". Of course I already knew this but sitting back with fresh review of "Shalom" and then hearing The Father speak, it just clicked: even our rules with our kids are anchored in this pursuit of what we as Image Bearers were designed for, the Shalom of God.

Back to Steve and Brian: I am reading their new book "When Helping Hurts" which is a serious critique and overall very insightful book about "alleviating poverty" aka. ministry among the poor.

They made this connection between what poverty is and what Shalom is that got me thinking. As westerners we tend to define poverty in material and financial terms, whereas most of those who are actually poor tend to define poverty in relational and psychological terms of brokkeness.

"Poverty is the result of relationships that do not work, that are not just, that are not for life, that are not harmonious or enjoyable. Poverty is the absence of shalom in all its meanings." p15, quoting B Myers.

This is a rich and complicated statement but goes to the heart of alleviating poverty that we all suffer under, just in differing ways. The narrative of scripture is Creation, Fall, Redemption. Everything is broken. . . all relationships. . . for poverty to be addressed and shalom to be attained, we need healing in all areas and to add to our list above. When it says Jesus was about restoring "All things" (Col 1) is is consistent with his announcement of his public ministry that was equally all encompassing (Luke 4).

To consider our "rules" we have to recognized that part of our poverty is about the broken relationship we have with ourselves. We tend either toward "God complexes" (the rich) or toward "shame" (the poor).

So let's add one important aspect of shalom ruling:
Respect yourself (its part of shalom!)

No comments: