I have recently been writing about issues of power and privilege versus subordination and disadvantage, especially in the church.
Some behaviors cannot be overlooked in a religious context. The very foundation of our witness as Christians is how we love and treat one another. It is not an exaggeration to say that the same values of social status that exist in the world also exist in churches. Class systems are built on an underlying belief that some people are better than others.
Competition and comparison are like an infectious disease to a church community. Often church structures play into peoples’ need to belong and their desire for importance and purpose, actually perpetuating the problem.
This is not just about being critical or cynical. We must look at this. If we do not address the issue of how we see one another in the body of Christ, how can we ever hope to have a right attitude toward those we are called to love and serve who are not yet a part of the church?
On a Sunday morning, how many people will we walk past without even glancing their way? Who do we dismiss? Who is it easy to overlook?
Are we ready yet to stop viewing the poor, the needy, and the outsiders as “them” and to begin to consider them equally “one of us”?
“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
How is the quality of our love for one another? I believe it has to go beyond outward friendliness and must address our willingness to lay down our own status and privilege in order to oppose whatever systems of exclusion we encounter.
I don’t want to come off as preachy, but if I’m preaching to anyone, it is to myself. These are the issues I’m dealing with in my heart and life.