Hear The Call of the Poor
By Vicar Lisa
As I continue down my Theological Education for Emerging Ministries (TEEM) road, I have had the recent pleasure of reading a book called Faith-Rooted Organizing. It was interesting to me that I have very little experience in advocacy or organizing.
One of the first steps in faith-based organizing is to “hear the call of the poor”. “While societies ascribe status to specific groups, allowing higher status groups the right to define social reality and normative behavior, a consistent religious message is that the most accurate vantage point for viewing the world is from below.” I had never really thought of it that way.
Marshall Ganz, a Harvard professor, and long-time organizer compares the poor to the canary in the coal mine. From the lack of adequate health care to rampant inflation to the housing crisis, the impact of social problems on the poor is evident long before the rest of us have to deal with it.
Another step in the process is to identify the common lies perpetuated in and by our society. Common lies are:
It also pointed out that those who are raised with privilege receive the message that they are more worthy of a blessing than others. This hit me hard as a person who was raised as solidly in the middle class. The status quo that protected my way of life growing up was the same status quo that perpetuated racial segregation and prejudice in Memphis in the 60s and 70s.
The status quo that benefitted and protected me, oppressed others. The author points out that privilege strengthens the spiritual sickness of our society and that our society teaches us to be dissatisfied with what we have instead of being satisfied with what we are. Ouch!
As you go through the rest of this week, do some self-reflection. Have you viewed the world from below lately? Are you holding fast to one or more of the common lies? Do you have some deep-seated biases you need to let go of?
When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Living a Christian life sounds simple but that doesn’t mean it is easy! Pray for help in loving God and loving all others. Amen!
This week (other meetings/gatherings will be taking place as well but here are some things to note):
Sunday, Oct. 16, the 19th Sunday after Pentecost
In the gospel for this coming Sunday, a widow so pesters an unjust judge that finally, she gets the justice she seeks. We know in our world people like this widow who must plead and beg for justice. Come to worship and join the assembly to pray to God for justice in the world.
Believers are called to keep faith in God’s justice. Come, Lord Jesus, the church prays! By contrast with the unjust judge of the parable, the Son of Man will judge us all at the end. Luke’s focus on the needy widow is held next to the depiction of Christ as the judge.
Jews far more than Christians have been attracted to this picture of the faithful having to wrestle with God. The Psalms are filled with just such wrestling with God. In the end, God blesses Jacob, along with all of us who are on the run. The narrative is set next to the parable of the unjust judge since both imply that believers must tangle with an inscrutable God. If your God is easy, it probably isn’t God.
2 Timothy 3:14—4:5
This third selection from 2 Timothy contrasts the inspired Scripture and its correct interpretation by church leaders with self-serving heterodox teachers who attract “itching ears.” This passage became central to Christian fundamentalists who argue that divine inspiration implies inerrancy. With a wide variation in what is meant by divine inspiration—variations that might be upsetting to the author of 2 Timothy—all Christian churches say that they proclaim the inspired word of God. At weekly worship, we “proclaim the message.”
Zion's Lutheran Church
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