Just a quick shout out to let you know that there are still a couple of spots left for the upcoming episode of The Path. This is an incredible experience; this time around it's a women's Path, so if you're interested let us know.
It is my fervent hope that we Christians will not be forever stuck in our Christianity. Look for something new; for a life in God. Look for God's spirit in everyone you meet.
C. F. Blumhardt
A couple of thoughts come to mind. I remember Dallas Willard telling us at Emergent a couple of years ago that when he speaks with someone he tries to address the Spirit in them. That sounds like a great discipline to development.
This week at the whatever we had a great discussion on the difference between "irreligious" and "irreverent". Jesus was irreligious, and as his followers we are to be the same. The problem is though that sometimes I think Jesus Himself couldn't drag us out of our Chrisitianity. Food for thought.
Which do you want first? Never mind - it turns out they're both the same piece of information. Will success against AIDS in children in the developed world turn out to be yet another cruel joke on Africa?
We are thrilled to hear that mother-to-child transmission of the AIDS virus has been nearly wiped out in America and Western Europe, thanks to early H.I.V. testing for pregnant women and the widespread use of antiretroviral therapy, which inhibits the passage of the virus to babies.
Bizarrely, this could be bad news for the rest of the world. AIDS treatment exists for adults because adults get the disease in America and Europe. That provides a paying market for drugs and diagnostic tests. People with AIDS have also become vocal advocates who have shamed the world into manufacturing AIDS drugs for poor countries. But with few children with AIDS in rich nations, companies will have little incentive to improve on current pediatric AIDS products, and governments will continue to make sick children an afterthought.
I wonder if "the least of these" only qualified for our attention because they were actually "the least of us." I wonder what happens when they turn out to be only "the least of those"?
Labeling somebody presupposes that we know everything there is to know about them. It allows us to dismiss what they have to say because, after all, we know why they're saying it, and by extension, why they're wrong. And when we label ourselves - well, that's a different story. Have you ever noticed that generally when we label others it's to their detriment, and when we label ourselves it's to our benefit? Interesting.
Apparently we're living in the "post age", so why can't we be "post labels"?
Clearly I have label issues, so having said all that, let me continue on to contradict myself.
If you insist on applying a label or labels to yourself would you please do us a favour and at least make them as succinct as possible?
Perhaps a couple of "for instances" would be in order:
For instance, those of you running around with the label "Pro-Family" (or "Pro-Marriage") firmly affixed to your metaphorical bumper - I have news for you: You are not all pro-family. Some of you (the loud ones, apparently) are only anti-homosexual.
We're all adults here. You can be anti-homosexual if you want. But at least have the courage of your convictions and call it what it is. If you were really pro-family you would be worried about the number of people living in poverty, and the working poor. You would be making a loud noise about single parents having to work two jobs to pay the rent and put food on the table, and a decent minimum wage. You would be upset about young children spending most of their day without a parent, about poor nutrition and it's impact on learning, and about inadequate day care, for that matter. And please tell me if you were pro-family you would be concerned - nay, you would be trying to do something about - the huge percentage of marriages ("Christian marriages" included) that end in divorce.
While we're at it, even if you take my advice and label yourself appropriately, please do not go on international television unprepared for the reasonable question, "Why are you against gay marriage?"
"Well, you know... there's the AIDS" is not an answer.
Sorry, I digress. Moving right along...
For instance, to those of you proudly waving high your "Pro-Life" placards - I have news for you. Some of you are not pro-life. Some of you are just anti-abortion.
Let me explain the use of the word just in the previous paragraph. Being anti-abortion is on the list of possible attributes of a pro-life person, but it's not the only one. (Don't get me wrong - I am not a fan of abortion. It makes me sick.)
If you were really pro-life you would, by definition, be... well... anti-capital punishment. You would also be concerned about an administration that wages war to spread democracy while placing such little value on civilian life that it fails to include them in casualty counts. You would be upset, perhaps to the point of sleeplessness, about the outrageous numbers of young pregnant women who feel there is nowhere to go and no alternative. And if we were really pro-life (notice the switch in personal pronoun here) while waiting for our tsunami relief cheques to clear our bank accounts we would give a moment (if not a dollar) to thinking about how we could apply some of our meager resources to the preventable catastrophes taking place, everyday, out there. (Yes, you're right - you can't save them all. But you know what? You can save some of them.)
Grudgingly, I admit it's probably naive of me to long for a post label culture. If we're going to use them though, let's try to make them accurate.
And did I mention that Jesus called and He wants His name back?