One love people get ready

As Col 4:15 would put it, a few of us meet on a sunday morning, before all the real chruches get going and take a wee look at the book of Acts and spend some time trying to work out “what it all means” so to speak.

Today we were covering what i always thought of as Christian communism, (before i had much of an idea of what either “Christian” or “communism” meant…) and in particular its application to how we live our lives.

And the phrases that kind of struck us most were “…the believers were one in heart and mind…” and “…they shared everything they had…”

Which led to a few genius suggestions by Fin:

1) we’re in such disarray and disagreement as a body of believers that we spend all our time trying to reconcile the church to itself instead of spending time trying to reconcile the world to GOD.

2) we may actually be better (or at least more comfortable) with sharing our possessions than sharing our lives together.

As a group of people we are not particularly materialistic, we have the usual young, enthusiastic Christian aversion to money and materialism – not that we necessarily live that out particularly well, we’re just uncomfortable with it in a distant sort of way.

Most of us do have a bit of an issue when it comes to doing life together. The people i love the most and count as my closest friends are exceptionally busy people. Life is there to be lived, and the world there to be changed and they are doing their very utmost to bring that about. I envy and applaud them for it. They put me to shame.

As a result they are often quite tricky to get round for dinner or get out to the pub for a night.

I miss them.

Too often, i have no idea what is going on in their lives. Yes, i know they are doing this and that, and that so and so’s married, and so and so’s having a baby, and so and so’s doing this job, but that doesn’t tell me very much about what is actually going on in their lives.

We need to figure out some way of doing this better.

If we do not figure out how to love each other then we are useless to the world around us. Though of course it’s also true that unless we get round to loving the world around us we’re just a bunch of narrow-minded self-preserving bastards.

It is interesting that amongst us (in our wee group so to speak…), different folk have different issues. Some need to learn that loving those outside the church is no excuse to avoid loving those inside the church. And there are some (like myself) who need to learn to take it outside so to speak. Just because I find it exceptionally difficult to make contact and relationship in the current context does not give me reason to hide behind my books and blogs.

What i meant to get round to but will save for another day (it’s 1am, i’m on call and the only people sober in the department are the staff – at least they were when i left), is something that has been bothering me for some time. I love my theology, and my books and erudite ideas by what seems like the whole (or at least important part of the) population of Maynooth. But when it comes to the 23 year old with 5 kids, no GCSEs, a life time of benefits and an alcohol problem (never mind an individual, how about a whole community…) – how do i explain the gospel? And more than flippin words – what does the gospel even look like from their point of view?


2 Responses to “One love people get ready”

  1. 1 Kevin Hargaden May 25, 2009 at 8:59 am

    There’s that old apocryphal quote from St Francis, “Preach the Gospel, use words if needed”. He never said that it seems. Which I am delighted about.

    “Preach the Gospel, use deeds cos they’re needed” would be my take.

    Sharing the Gospel with my wealthy, educated peers in Maynooth is the same prospect with different words as sharing it with a girl in Sheriff St in the north inner city of Dublin where some of the IFESi crew used to have a house. You build relationships. You love well. You do life together. And when the opportunity comes you pray that you can speak with the power and relevance and authenticity that comes only from the Spirit.

    It flows naturally out of relationship, that’s how I see it. So share the Gospel with the 23 year old with no GCSEs and see where it goes.

  2. 2 Nelly And I May 25, 2009 at 10:12 am

    i love the fact that the gospel is simple enough to be grasped and understood by children but also breathtaking and complicated enough to engage the greatest minds we have.

    But i’m such a closet socialist at heart that i dislike the perception that education and class bring about different discussions of the gospel. I find myself uncomfortable the fact that books, and theology put a certain distance between people.

    [I emphasise perceived because the problem is more superficial than actual, but it’s a distant none the less.]

    I am scared of giving the impression that people view the church as a place for the educated and middle classes. Which you couldn’t really blame them for if you look at the make up of many contemporary churches.

    I find myself trying to live out Pulp’s Common People, but without the “dance, drink and screw” bit. Well definitely without the dancing anyhow.

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