Friday, September 16, 2005

A Curious Thought

A curious thought struck me yesterday.

One of the things that has warmed my heart about the response to the hurricane in the last three weeks is the one that people of faith have taken towards it. It seems that people from every tribe of Christianity (and other faiths) have taken it upon themselves to take in and care for the evacuees, to go down to Louisiana and Mississippi and Alabama to clean up and start rebuilding. This is a good thing.

The curious thought came out of the context of these actions. Most of you know that I’ve done a lot of reading over the last 2 years or so. Brian McLaren, N.T. Wright, copious blogs, etc. The trap of this kind of reading is that it becomes very easy to take pride in my knowledge, my enlightened understanding of Jesus, God, and the duty of Christians as the body of Christ in this world. Those are not bad things in and of themselves, but the spiritual arrogance or the spiritual superiority complex that I blogged about a while ago is so subtle. I can listen to someone talk, blog, or even preach, and think, “Wow, they just don’t have the understanding I do. How sad for them. How great for me.” Stupid? Yes. A part of my flesh that I have yet to completely put aside? Absolutely.

And then I hear about all the great works being done in the area of the hurricane. And I hear about some of the churches that are doing that work and the truth is that I probably wouldn’t feel very comfortable in most of those churches. I’d either find the theology too lacking for me, or the worship style not exuberant enough, or I’d find some other way to judge the whole thing. And that’s stupid. Because I truly believe that God sees the comfort these churches are giving to the least of these and smiles. I believe that He walks with us through His Spirit as we try to do these things, beside brothers and sisters that we wouldn’t normally associate with to do good work for the Kingdom. And He is well pleased with His sons and daughters.


Rob Cox said...

I was in the same boat when I went and helped load trucks at C of C Disaster Relief. There were probably 200 C of C people there working together to help those who needed it. At times I would consider how I probably disagree with them on many issues. Fortunately I would catch myself and throw those thoughts out of my mind. Those things are just so unimportant. The people there seemed to be working out of genuine love and I didn't want to judge them.

It's always good to remember that the kind of arrogance and superiority you describe is not just a conservative thing. It happens on all sides of all issues.

Brandon Scott said...

Great post Phil.

Fajita said...

Good observation. I hope that the church is moved by this enough to be different than it has been. I hope the church will find perpetualt reason for mercy that goes beyond Katrina

Malia said...

Crisis brings unity. It may not exactly be the unity that Christ wants for his church, but at least it's a start.

jazztheo said...

I really appreciate your heart as expressed here in this post. It is my deepest desire to see the body of Christ working in unity across racial and denominational difference when there is not a crisis like this.

thanks so much for the mention of my blog in your previous post...that was very kind.

Phil said...

And thanks for your words, jazztheo. I'm probably going to write about this at some point, but the issues surrounding race and class are fascinating to me, particularly from a Christian's perspective.

It's a hurdle I honestly find difficult to deal with at times in a way that is respectful of all sides.

DB Carden said...

There are things about my weekend I can't talk about right now, just too much possibility to come out wrong. Our little group found a constant struggle to find the most desperate people to help. There was an obvoius need to triage the help given that wasn't being done well, but the church was helping in any way they could and were doing the best they could. It is not like churches train themselves to become a disaster relief center. Race and class were obvious problems in what I saw. If you can find a way to go help, please do. Sending money and stuff helps, but the people impacted need hands, feet, hugs, strong backs, and shoulders as well. I am going to blog about my experience over the next few days.

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