Jesus didn’t sit with the marginalised

In mission I often talk about the need to break the gravitational pull (just search “gravitational Pull for a shed load of posts on here around that) of church, and how we need to break out if we are going to engage people more meaningfully. I was wondering where the current centre of gravity was in the church, is it dispersed, centralised or on the centre, how we shift it so it becomes a centripetal force sending people out to love and serve rather than a centrifugal force that is self serving?

Yet in many ways I’ve been asking the wrong questions. When we think about the incarnation we see a move from the centre to the edge. We see a christ figure who by his presence completely shifts the centre of gravity from the religious community to the margins. The locus of God is on the edge, it is outside the church, beyond the institution, outside the doors. Jesus didn’t sit with the marginalised because by his presence the centre of gravity shifted and the margins ceased to be the margins by the presence of the incarnated God. (HT to John Swinton)

This completely shifts how real meaning making then can happen, and calls into question the validity of the meaning making that takes place within established religious communities. It completely challenges notions of discipleship based on banking knowledge within a structure. It pulls the rug out from underneath notions of sacred and secular, and calls the walls to dust.

5 thoughts on “Jesus didn’t sit with the marginalised

  1. Helpful, Richard, thanks. I would express it as a challenge to those of us who, in one way or another, are “church-centred” (in conventional understandings of that term) to open ourselves to bring radically de-centred… not only to rediscover a centre that is elsewhere (in what we thought were the ‘margins’), but also to discover that we ourselves are not ‘centre-stage’ (that the agency of others is in fact if profound significance – for us, and in spite of us).

  2. thanks Al I agree I was thinking about my own role with Fresh Expressions and locating the edge there, wondering if it less about economics, and more about that “centre stage” positioning you mention. Im really wrestling with the shift in my current location and role which has shifted me away from street based marginal spaces, to a different kind of space, where the agency of others is more embraced, and we search for belonging rather than inclusion.

  3. Enjoying the more frequent Sunday Papers – thanks.
    Is there something about institutions and organisations that creates mass (‘weight’), leading to both inertia and ‘gravitational pull’? Whatever that force is in institutions, those with less mass 😉 find it easier to move against the pull…I think some, including the Word, manage to shed the stuff that encumbers more easily than others – that’s why prophets travel light, I guess. A common marker for meaningful engagement seems so often to be relational capital… which creates its own, different, attraction…
    …just musing.

  4. Pingback: Was Jesus a both/and kind of dude? | SUNDAY PAPERS – THE SUPPLEMENT

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