“Journal Notes” submitted by home groups from Study Six: The Community at the Margins
Submitted August 26:
We pondered the ‘new community’ as described by the readings from Luke 5 &14, Acts 4 and Galatians 3.
People came up with the following adjectives to describe it: sharing, generous, non-judgmental, all-encompassing,compassionate, giving. loving, inviting, inclusive, humble, down to earth, selfless.
“I believe that the great tragedy is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor, but that they do not know the poor.”
We considered the question How do we engage with the poor? and found the barriers to be:
social and physical geography
our busy lives
It is easier to engage with people outside your own community – you don’t know the back stories. Jesus as Messiah was not recognized in his home town.
We considered the strong force of consumerism in our society.
Fear prevents us from giving up what we have and making major changes in our lives.
The key to an interdependent community is in learning to serve each other.
Submitted August 18:
Adjectives for the New Community described in Scripture: generous, egalitarian (people valued as people rather than their roles), inclusive, voluntary, spontaneous, unified, detached (from possessions)
Hospitality — at B@tCH people welcomed with no thought of return – need to remind ourselves to keep up hospitality to new people and visitors
Reflections on John 4.1-9:
1. We need to get to know people who are poor through conscious effort
2. If we work with them we have no energy left at the end of the day – could not live with them!
3. People come to rest homes with nothing and no family to take an interest in them at all (not speaking for years) – so what exactly are the margins? wider than study seems to imply?
4. The factors that distance us – are they also in our church – need to be sure anyone can come in and be welcomed no matter the background .
5. Normality? If you think the way you are is normal, how do you make changes – especially applies to mental health issues – church not good at helping people do ordinary normal things. eg we make conscious decision to come to B@tCH and Home Group- we bring ourselves – we need each other.
6. Should the church be involved involved in helping people or leave it to the professionals?
Reflections on 2 Cor 8.12-15
1. Some personal experience that poorer members of family are more generous than the richer.
Reflections on Mark 6.7 – 11
1. An interdependent church? helping people to become able to support themselves with no unhealthy dependence ie. feeling under obligation if receiving or feeding a need to be needed if giving
2. Would we cope with how the 1st Century churches were run?
3. Have we lost a sense of God’s presence?
Submitted May 9:
“Everybody has something to share with others”. Recognisation of this by the “financially poor” is a great morale boost.
Dunedin is a good city for the poor and rich to mix naturally (should they seek it). Mixed housing in the established suburbs; small city; easy access between suburbs etc.