Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Kids are Alright

I'm not an "evangelical Christian" in the contemporary understanding of the term. But if young "evangelicals" are saying things like this:

“Jesus, when he lived on this earth, was with the poor and the outcasts,” Ms. Liao said in an interview. “And I want to be where God was at.”
Then I stand in unity with them. We may still disagree on abortion or school vouchers, but we can agree on that. And they are putting their faith where their keister is.

“It’s not that we’ve rejected the issues that our parents were concerned about,” Mr. Soerens said. “We’ve widened the spectrum of issues that can be dealt with on a biblical basis and that our Christian faith speaks to.”
And how did this happen?

While still a student at Wheaton, Ms. Liao took part in a national conference about AIDS for young evangelicals. She volunteered on a weekly basis at a homeless shelter for gay men in Chicago. She met her future husband, Richard Liao, literally over the ladle at a soup kitchen.

Every experience served to confirm what Ms. Liao thought of as her scriptural mission statement, the passage in the Beatitudes that blesses the poor, the meek, the mournful, the oppressed.

As Ms. Liao’s conscience stirred, so did the community of Wheaton’s. Starting with a sprinkling of Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s, the town and its scores of churches welcomed a growing stream of refugees — few of them white, many of them not Christian. World Relief opened here in 1984 and now has an annual budget of $3.7 million and a caseload of 5,000 immigrants and refugees.
God moves in mysterious ways. And it's almost always personal. As Wendell Berry taught me, you can't think globally and act locally. You can only think and act locally. You work with what is right in front of you; and that is the world, for you. To tell yourself otherwise, is to fool yourself. To act on that truth, is to be a Christian indeed.

Or enough of one, anyway.

"Welcoming the Stranger." A good lesson for Advent. A good lesson, indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment