The outcasts, the downtrodden, the broken, the aching, the forgotten, the discriminated against, the homeless, the helpless, the addicted, the angry, the mentally disturbed, the disabled, the fearful, the unpresentable, and the weakest…

they are essential to the body of Christ

Without these people in the church, the body of Christ, we as a body are missing pieces.  In light of 1 Corinthians 12, they are members of the body.  So without them, we are not whole and we suffer without them.  We would much rather expend energy in our churches creating a sub-culture that appeals to the eye and to our comfort level.  Christ challenges that whole concept by hanging out with prostitutes, loan sharks, thieves, and the most common and broken and lost of people.

If you’re interested in reading a challenging concept, you should check out a book called “Living Gently in a Violent World” by Stanley Hauerwas and Jean Vanier.   They tackle the concept of the prophetic witness of weakness, which goes against everything that the western world teaches people.  I picked up this book at Urbana 09, and just got around to reading it.  It’s an amazing piece of work.  It’s challenging and allows people to look into a community that, if taken seriously, one cannot look at their own community again with the same set of eyes as they had before.  Read that again, allows

I’m currently taking time to meditate on Christ’s suffering and sacrifice for the Lenten season.  It appears that Christ also encourages us to celebrate His body the way He did, the way He does.  Isn’t it wonderful that God wants us to be us in His church.  If we’re an ear, we’re an ear.  If we’re a toe, we’re a toe.  Broken, homeless, addicted, affluent, accomplished, disabled, disgusting, impeccable…

We’re all beloved and integral to Jesus’s picture of His kingdom here on earth. 

We’re all beloved.  Fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.  There is true freedom here.  There is true joy here. 

Identity and community.