This week I've been reading the book, Friendship at the Margins, by Christopher L. Heuertz and Christine D. Pohl. The book is part of a series produced by InterVarsity Press, called "Resources for Reconciliation." Each book in the series brings together a practitioner and a theologian, to write as a team. Heuertz is the International Director of Word Made Flesh. Pohl is a Professor of Social Ethics at Asbury Theological Seminary.
Ok, hopefully you are still with me! The book addresses the importance of building friendships with people on the margins of society. While the authors have much to say, two observations in particular were powerful for me.
First, our common understanding of "mission" in church is often known by two characteristics: resources flow in one direction only (from those who have to those who do not); and the donors and recipients are largely kept at a social distance from one another.
Think about the implications of such a model. We don't have to be connected to "those" people. We don't have to get our hands dirty. Even if we don't intend it, we are perhaps tempted to think of ourselves as superior, or at least more "blessed."