Thought a lot about the whole issue of church and social action recently.
And discovered a great book (a friend sent it to me as a gift - friends are great) and read it in one go.
Bart Pierce: Seeking your brother. Restoring compassionate Christiantiy to the church.
A fascinating book, describing how one church is aiming to reach out to their community. "If you will take care of the ones nobody wants, I will give you the ones everybody is after" was a word God spoke to the pastor Bart Pierce, himself a drug addict.
And he acted on it.
He describes not only the various way the church is reaching out to the poor, destitute and needy in Baltimore where they are located and gives practical advice on how to go about. But he also shows that passion for god and compassion for men are just the two sides of the coins of love. Their church is an example of both: They experience long, deep intimate times of sensing the presence of God and being close to Him. And they reach out in compassion to their city in a meaningful practical way: Serving single moms, streetsleepers, hungy people and changing whole blocks - one at a time.
The church has often split the two aspects of serving Jesus. Some churches focus on the "Martha" aspect of caring for
the "human" Jesus by caring for people. Other focus on the "Mary" aspect of ministering to the "divine" Jesus by ministering to him in worship, adoration and contemplation.
However we need both "Mary and Martha" for the church to be a place where Jesus and people are welcome.
The book is encouraging, practical and most needed in this time of increasing spiritual and practical need. I highly recommed it to anyone hungry for wholesome Christianity.