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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Post Secular Caritas... Cloke 

Post Secular Caritas... Cloke

Looks at the reasons for community enagagement- using Romand Coles politics of generosity that looks at Christian Caritas, Secular humanism and post-secular charity.

On the distinctiveness of Secular humanism - narrtitives here steer clear of the CHristian precept of 'loving', perhaps because the concept of love is counter-cultural to the phenomenological nature of humanist outreach...

A common critique of charitable christian orgaisations such as TSA is that they represent institutions of oppressive social control. Staffed by supposedly zealous proselytizers and used as a last resort, TSA caritas can be presented as a giving which is totally self-identical, and blind to the alterity of its receivers. Such a stereotyping often reflects the historical circumstances of TSA which has in many ways reinvented itself in response to such critiques.

Post secular caritas - goes beyong christian caritas and secular humanism in that the giving of charity doesn't originate from self and there for doesn't discriminate against the giver. The arguemnet being that both CC and SH is encased within rational subjectivity and non-reciprocal alterity. Formed by wanting a response. Grace negates that - free gift whatever!

That should be CC but not preceived.


Thursday, May 18, 2006

An Approach to a theology of Christian Social Service 

Lt Col George Carpenter

Being involved in the apostalate of the Good Samaritan

A spirit filled spontaneous neighbourhood ministry bythe salvationist is virtually indestructible


Needham, P (1986) A Contemporary Theoogy of Social Service. sept the officer 

'In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth' (Genesis 1:1, RSV**). Dualism was denied. God was creator of all. Nothing was to be held back from his Lordship.

Included in his Lordship were human social relationships. It is no accident that six of the Ten Commandments have to do with social relationships and that the Old Testament is replete with social imperatives about righting injustices, advocating the cause of the poor, the outcasts and the disadvantaged, and offering concrete support to the sojourner, the widow, the fatherless, the brother in need. The psalmist cries out:

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3, 4 4)

The prophets intensified awareness of this covenant of social responsibility, often contrasting it with self-centred religious piety. In his first series of oracles, Isaiah, acting as spokesman for God, rails at Judean piety:

Bring no more vain offerings;incense is an abomination to me.When you spread forth your hands,1 will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, 1 will not listen; your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; defend the fatherless, plead for the widow. (Isaiah 1:13a, 15-17)

Sin had brought alienation not only from God but also from other persons, and the future to which God was calling his peopleincluded the healing of social wounds and the exaltation of social rejects:

The Christian's point of departure in the matter of social responsibilty, therefore, is that in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, there is the restoration of the social covenant and the power to live by it. If in his death Jesus 'has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility' (Ephesians 2:14b), then we have an unavoidable calling to reach out to the alienated and prove the whole truth of what the gospel of reconciliation is able to do. Indeed, according to Paul, the purpose of God in Christ is 'to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven'

We are compelled to conclude that the mission of the Church is authentic only where the poor and oppressed are being ministered to. Ministry which by its very nature excludes the poor or is insensitive to their needs is no real ministry at all because it has lost the gospel's focus.

What conclusions do we now draw with regard to a theology of social service which is faithful to the Scriptures? At this point we have come to the following conclusions:

(a) Social relationships are an important part of God's covenant with his people, and an unmistakable sign of man's sinfulness is his social irresponsibility and insensitivity.

(b) The poor and oppressed are the special focus of the social covenant inasmuch as their position in society tends strongly to exclude them from its benefits and opportunities.

(c) God's will for man's social relationships, expressed in the Old Testament law, is made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

(d) Christ calls his Church to servanthood and empowers his people to carry out a mission which is truly universal because it pays special attention to those whom society has excluded.

Social reconciliation

We move from these to two ific conclusions regarding a specific theology of social service:

(e) The starting point of a theology of social service is the covenant of social responsibility which was commanded in the Old Testament, established through Jesus Christ, and realised in the calling of his disciples.

(f) From this perspective it is impossible for social service to be perceived as charitable acts toward less fortunate people. Rather. it is to be understood as concrete steps toward realising the new reality of social reconciliation which has come in Christ. Social service takes place within the new human family which Christ makes possible. There is no condescension in it. It is based upon the deepest respect for persons as potential members of the household of faith.


The Bible and Mission: Some Interdisciplinary Implications for Teaching 

Brueggemann W. A (1982)

Duet 19:1-10 - Alternatice world

1 Sam 2:1:10 - Social Transformation

Hosea 2:14-15 - Fresh perception of social reality and social possibility

Isaiah 46-47 - two poems - rhetotical freedom


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Notes on Righteousness 


Sedeq denotes not so much the abstract idea of justice or virtue, as right standing and consequent right behaviour within a community.

The church is to be not only an example of God’s intended new humanity, but the means by which the eventual plan, including the establishment of world-wide justice, is to be put into effect. Lack of emphasis here in older theological writing, due sometimes to individualism and sometimes to a dualistic split between church and world, has led to a reaction (e.g. in some liberation theology) in which Justice as an abstract virtue has been elevated in an unbiblical manner (e.g. at the expense of mercy). This should not prevent a balanced orthodox view of world-wide justice from regaining, and retaining, its place in the church’s teaching and practice.

NT Wright (New Dictionary of Theology)


Righteousness a key theological motif in OT covers a broad range of meanings and pertains both to God’s character and to human conduct. Understanding righteousness makes sense within the great commandment that obligates us to love God and to love neighbour.

The righteous person is characteristically one who invests in the community, showing special attentiveness to the poor and the needy. Psalms 15, 24 37 112and Job 31sketch this out.

Righteousness is used regularly in Proverbs to mark people who live with integrity and gravitas, who by their presence and their actions lend stability to the community. The prophets use the term specifically concerning the care of the poor, but more generally refers to taking responsibility for the community Isa 5:7 amos 5:7, 24 6:12 Hos 10:12.

Antitheses of righteous are the wicked who are characterised as selfish, greedy and eventually destructive, because the do ho care for the poor (Jer 5:27-28). Ps 10 makes it clear that a rapacious attitude toward the neighbour is intimately connected to a disregard for the character and governance of YHWH


Monday, May 08, 2006

Picoult, J(2001) Salem Falls 

Great novel


Bauckham, R(2005) Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World 

Blessing is a rich biblical notion that has been rather neglected in Christian theology. Blessing in the Bible refers to God's characteristically generous and abundant giving of all good to his creatures and his continual renewal of the abundance of created life. Blessing is God's provision for human flourishing. But it is also relational to be blessed by God is not only to know God's good gifts but to know God himself in his generous giving. Because it is relational the movement of blessing is a movement that goes out from God and returns to him. God's blessing of people overflows in their blessing of others and those who experience blessing from God in turn bless God, which means that they give all that creatures really can give to God: thanksgiving and praise. pp34

Salvation too is God's blessing, since salvation is the fulfilment of God's good purposes for his creation, purposes already expressed in creation. But salvation is the fulfilment of God's purposes in spite of the damage evil does to God's creation. pp 35

church's mission cannot be indifferent to the inequalities and injustices of the world into which it is sent. The gospel does not come to each person only in terms of some abstracted generality of human nature, but in the realities and differences of their social and economic situations. It engages with the injustices of the world on its way to the kingdom of God. This means that as well as the outward movement of the church's mission in geographical extension and numerical increase, there must also be this (in the Bible's imagery) downward movement of solidarity with the people at the bottom of the social scale of importance and wealth. It is to these - the poorest, those with no power or influence, the wretched, the neglected - to whom God has given priority in the kingdom, not only for their own sake, but also for all the rest of us who can enter the kingdom only alongside them. pp54

Coercion contradicts the nature of truth. It opens the door to the distortion of truth into a vehicle of the will to power. There certainly are few more oppressive regimes than those that believe they stand for a truth that must be enforced. Because Christians have, sadly, in the past themselves treated Christianity as a truth to be enforced, we need to be very clear and resolute about this. It is in the very nature of Christian truth that it cannot be enforced. Coerce belief and you destroy belief and turn the truth believed into a lie. pp99


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