Thursday, November 9, 2023

I Wonder--November 9

This week I have spent some significant time reading and considering the work of Stanley Hauerwas. Specifically, I have been reading a longer essay that he wrote on a major social issue that we are facing as a culture. 

Now I am not going to comment on, or identify, the issue here. It is far too polarizing for an appropriate discussion in this space.

Instead as I read Hauerwas, I was struck by how his answer to the problems our society is facing is community and community caregiving. In his work Hauerwas does not critique and rebuke either side of the issue alone. Rather he takes the reader on a journey through both sides of the argument and wonders if being a Christian might call us to practices of community-building rather than division?

Division is what the community focuses on. They prefer to divide and categorize. Us/them language and practices are more common in the community that lives outside of the church.  

Now, certainly there is a place for judgment and correction as we read God's word and consider what God says to us. That is one of the basic messages that we find in the Bible. Time and again God's people are confronted with their poor choices and called to change their lives in response to God's self-revelation. 

But while we read, pray, and consider God and His voice, maybe we are invited to dwell with our community? Maybe as we think about how God asks each of us to live, we can abide with our neighbors, our community members. . . Maybe God wonders if we might dwell with them a little longer and as we dwell, perhaps we can offer them the care and support that we find in God's word? Care that was given to us once.

It is easy to judge and divide when we look at the choices that our community members make. But I think God is pleased when we opt to abide with them and to care for them first. I wonder if that is how the gospel is shared authentically? 

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