I want to draw attention to my friend Rachel’s excellent post entitled My Carefully Calibrated Difference on her personal blog. http://rachelstanton.wordpress.com/ I really identify with her thoughts about identification with the ‘other’ and the internal struggle coinciding with it.
As we talk more with others about this church community we are preparing to form we get some interesting responses. At the suggestion that we desire to be a church of and among the poor, a few people have expressed their fear that we are making ourselves vulnerable to be victims of crime – even exposing our daughter to be raped! One well-meaning gentleman pulled me aside on two occasions to warn me about the way “those people” think and behave. One person suggested that if we have any home meetings, we should have them in the garage so that none of “those people” see our belongings and come back later to steal them.
It’s fine and noble that we want to help “those people,” but we should be careful not to expose ourselves or be too vulnerable. And we need to keep the invisible boundaries of superiority in place at all times. At least – this is the message so many communicate to us.
As we struggle to work out the implications of identification, which we readily concede to be a process barely begun within us and which we know to be impossible but for the grace of God, the warnings of our middle class friends only help us to see our own hypocrisy and strengthen our resolve to press on. The Church needs to be reconciled within itself among the rich, the poor, and the middle classes who look at one another across economic divides with suspicion and pride. We humbly pray for the grace to be an agent of that reconciliation.