procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

does social action save?

at bible study on wednesday we looked at Matthew 5:13-16; the metaphor of unsalty salt being trampled underfoot was quite frightening, and had a completely opposite effect to the reassuring metaphor of light on a hill - we were encouraged to be lights, but warned against being flavourless salt.

we then went on to read Matthew 25:31-46, which Tim Keller picks up in the Prodigal God (which i finished last night). he says
There is no contradiction to what we have heard from Jesus in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. He is not saying that only the social workers get into heaven. Rather, he is saying that the inevitable sign that you know you are a sinner saved by sheer, costly grace is a sensitive social conscience and a life poured our in deeds of service to the poor. p112

i should mention, we started out by reading Amos 5, and i just kept thinking, 'we're gonna get so hammered for this'. to define 'we', 'hammered' and 'this' in reverse order,
  • this = turning aside the needy (Amos 5:12), taking pride in our buildings of stone and the ceremonies that go within them (Amos 5:21)
  • hammered = the day of the Lord for such as these will be darkness and not light (Amos 5:18)
  • we = pretty much all western Christians

i might add, the sunday morning before this i visited a well known church and saw a hapless welcomer faced with a homeless man joining church that morning. they didn't say 'welcome, please take a seat, would you like a glass of water, meet gerald, one of our regulars', but 'can i help you?'

James would have welcomed him with open arms, walked him up the front, kicked one of the regulars out of their personalised pews and sat this man down there so he had every opportunity to hear of the healing words of a loving God (James 2:1-7).

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Blogger Hon said...

This might be my favorite ducky post so far.

2:15 pm  
Blogger Sam C said...


3:29 pm  
Blogger Mel Fung said...

Me three.

Duckman, I hope you don't mind but I posted a link to this post on my Blog. Excellent post in so many ways. Keen observation of a polite greeting with some darker undertones at church - the way we perceive people comes out in subtle ways... scary thing is, I can imagine myself doing similarly.

Thanks for posting Tim Keller's excerpt on Matthew 25. I think many miss the meaning of this parable but Keller gets to the heart of it.

PS: I thought of you when watching the classic Molly Ringwald flick Pretty In Pink. Though you're much more tolerable than Ducky.

6:37 am  
Blogger psychodougie said...

thx all. no worries mel. (email me ur blog address so i can have a look see - ur profile isn't enabled)

i wonder whether the example i saw speaks about people feeling TOO at home, and wanting only YOUR type of people in YOUR house - not really those from luke 14 - the poor, crippled, blind and lame. not viewing church as a banquet where we are all unworthy to be there.

9:55 am  
Blogger Mel Fung said...

Good point, Doug! Unfortuntely I think I know where you can find the answer to that query... in our own hearts. Perhaps this is why in Galatians 1, Paul says he was keen to "remember the poor". We easily forget people who are not like us, and thus we need the Gospel to give us this reminder.

I like your last line "a banquet where we are all unworthy to be there". If we compare ourselves to other humans, then we could possibly think we are worthy. The true measure is the law and the embodiment of the law is Jesus... and oh how should we dare to think ourselves worthy next to him.

11:47 pm  

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