Thursday, September 25, 2008

rich christians in and age of hunger, 2

ronald sider has written other books besides rich christian in an age of hunger, the most important of which is churches that make a difference: reaching your community with good news and good works. in this work sider talks about the holistic church, writing:
  • the holistic church integrates discipleship, evangelism and social action...
  • the holistic church works toward spiritual and social transformation
  • the holistic church supports a spectrum of social action that includes charity, compassion, community development, public policy, and justice advocacy, addressing both individual and systemic sources of human problems
  • in the holistic church ministry is seen as fundamentally relational, seeking to develop long-term relationships with ministry recipients and welcoming them into the church fellowship
  • in the holistic church mission is viewed as both local and global in scope. (page 16)

i think a strong argument could be made that, with the death of christendom (institutional demise), the subsequent loss of cultural position (marginalization) and failure of our cultural props (plausibility structure), the church in the west has lost its foundation and mission.

but here, in sider's holistic church, we find it all again. if we could somehow learn that the gospel is not about us, that the ministry of the gospel sends us into the streets, to the poor, to the left-out, locked-out and knocked-out, if we could get beyond our market capitalism and political aspirations, maybe we could still earn a hearing from our people.

but this takes work. it takes sacrifice. we can't build the multi-million dollar edifice to our empire. no, the phallic symbols of our potency -- buildings, crowds, tv time -- must be offered on the altar to the desperately needy.