16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
This reminds me of an IMonk post from a while back, collecting cyberdust in my stories-to-blog-on folder.
I spoke to one person about the church embodying Kingdom life through transforming corporate practices. He told me that was the “social gospel,” a distraction from the mission of the church.
I said to another that based on a certain text in Mark, Jesus calls the church to take uncomfortable steps of faith—to go beyond what is familiar—in order to enact the Kingdom of God. He asked me for a few examples, so I suggested that he and a few of his friends initiate a church-based urban mentoring program, looking after some junior high boys who don’t have fathers.
He told me that “sounded emergent.”
That's because the typical evangelical is so worried about orthodoxy that good orthopraxy looks liberal/emergent; I've yet to see an emergent call the orthodox crowd out for their anti-social gospel (heaven help us if we rubbed shoulders with real unrepentant sinners), but it would fit.
"Doing the stuff" (as my old Vineyard pastor from Lakeland would say) is part of the gospel; the believer is called upon to be living out the gospel rather than just believing the right things. Helping the poor and the stranger is part of what Jesus did and what He ask us to do. One does need to make sure that they are still believing the right things, but doing the stuff isn't solely the province of a theologically-questionable left.
The emergent critique of evangelicaldom is that we haven't been doing the stuff, but they tend to chuck orthodoxy out the window in a headlong rush to be missional.
One reason why orthopraxy is avoided is that it cost time and treasure to do and often gets you out of your comfort zone; taking your stelth congregant out of his cushy suburban cocoon isn't what he has in mind. He'll nod in approval when doing-the-stuff passages show up in Sunday School or in a sermon; just don't ask him to skip his Saturday morning fishing trip to help out at the local homeless shelter or spend an evening tutoring a poor grade schooler behind in math.
By the way, three fingers are pointing back at me as I point at George McStealth. My cocoon doesn't get breached that much, either.
Another post that come to mind was a Kim F essay over at Connexions on Sodom, where the big sin of the locals was't that they were looking for a gay gang-bang with Lot's visitors but that they were looking for a gang-bang with Lot's visitors; a lack of hospitality was the primary vice-
The Bible, you see, doesn’t have all that much to say about sex, let alone about gay sex, but it’s got a lot to say about hospitality to strangers. And not as a matter of charity but of duty. In the Bible to welcome foreigners is not an option, it is a solemn obligation. It is a matter of justice.
I'll disagree with Kim's take on same-sex issues, but I agree that we out less weight in getting people to do the stuff than we should; taking about taking hospitality seriously effects everyone and costs everyone, while a vigorous bout of gay-bashing offends few (the ones that would be offended have largely gotten out of Dodge) and costs George McStealth nothing.
Helping the little guy actually has the fringe benefit of witnessing to folks, something that doesn't happen when you're in a bible study or prayer meeting with all your fellow chickens.