Saturday, October 28, 2006

What Is Kingdom Work?

This week I have been attending a conference on transformation. It wasn’t your typical evangelical meeting where the emphasis was on transformation of the heart, but the transformation of community and nations through social action. Though I was uncomfortable with, what I perceived to be some radical rhetoric, I can’t ignore the reality of the social ills of this country. Forty percent of the population live in one room; female infanticide, though outlawed, is still a common practice; most Dalit children have no educational opportunities; most of the poor are in perpetual slavery as bonded laborers. The heart of the message of Jesus was to those who are poor and marginalized. The one common theme throughout Scripture is God’s judgment on people and nations who oppress the poor. For a gathering of Christian leaders discussing transforming communities it was both good and right to discuss political and social injustice.

But, as with all things, it’s important to maintain balance in discussing sensitive issues. Transformation of community will never happen by having cleaner water, better housing or legislation for equal rights. Helpful, certainly, but good deeds is only part of the equation. For true transformation to take place there must be a transformation of the heart. For followers of Jesus, we believe that only Christ can truly bring about heart transformation. I am not Pollyannaish; bigotry, racism, tribalism and casteism will never be completely eradicated, even among those who claim to be Christians. And, I concede that compassion for the poor can and does reside in the heart of some Hindu’s, Muslims and people of other faiths. The point is, deeds without faith is mere social ritual whereas faith with deed is a demonstration of what we believe God would have us to do in loving others as we love ourselves.

Most evangelicals do not know how to do social work well. We either do it as a part of our agenda (feed the poor as a means to bring people to conversion), or, more likely, don’t do anything, as we don’t see social work as a part of Christ’s command to take the Good News to the nations. In spite our Lord’s work in healing the sick and His teaching on social action (giving a cup of water, the example of the Good Samaritan, the crime of unfair loans, the corrupt judge, etc.) we still have and aversion to be socially active in our communities. The great challenge for evangelicals is finding ways to bridge the gap between “felt” and “real” needs.

The question, to be explored next time, is where and in what way should we be involved? Perhaps the short answer is, “just because,” and that should be enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bentley Makes it Debut in Hyderabad Car Market with an Exclusive

Hyderabad: Wyclef Jean sang, `Life styles of the rich and famous.
Some die with a name, some die nameless'. Well, it is these nameless
rich that are grabbing the headlines for willing to spend Rs 2 crore
on a car and that too to drive in Hyderabadi traffic! Yet these
courageous crorepatis chose to remain anonymous issuing standing
instructions to the car distributors not to disclose their names.
The car is Bentley Continental Flying Spur, that is dubbed to be
the fastest four door in the company's history with horsepower to
reach 60 miles per hour in 4.9 seconds.
This car was unveiled in the city exclusively for a select
gathering of 100 guests — mostly the high and mighty
businessmen,Politicans — who have shown interest in the car, or own
other such luxury cars.
And so, in attendance at this special party held at the Novatel
hotel in Hi-Tec City on Friday night were the bigwigs of Hyderabadi
business circles — all the prominent Reddys and Rajus and a handful
of movie stars.
Spotted eying the car were Venkatram Reddy Owner of Deccan
Chronicle Holdings who owns a Rolls Royce Phantom worth 2.5 Crores
in Hyderabad ,Teja Raju, son of Ramalinga Raju of Satyam computers ,
Mustafa Alam Khan from the Shah Alam Khan family who owns some of
the best vintage cars and a Mercedes Benz C class in the city worth
35 lakhs, businessmen brothers Prakash Jain and Gautam Jain of
Stanza retail outlet,Akbaruddin Owaisi MiM Leader from Owaisi Family
who owns a Volkswagen Touareg V10 SUV ,Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes
Benz CLS 350 worth 2.5 crores, designer Dinaz Shenoy, and socialites
like Lata Reddy, Gunny Raju who owns a Lamborghini Gallarado Black
worth 2 crore in Hyderabad, Shanta John,Kishore Reddy who owns a BMW
X5 worth 50 lakhs ,Vishnu Actor who owns a Porsche Cayenne SUV worth
80 lakhs, Iqbal Patni and Raju Jain. Everyone from Srini Raju of TV9
to actors Nagarjuna who owns a Meercedes Benz S Class and Porsche
Cayenne SUV worth 2 crores , NTR Junior who owns a BMW X5 SUV worth
55 lakhs, Pavan Kalyan and even Chiranjeevi were invited for the
launch of the car in the city.
It is also believed, that two richie rich from the city have
already booked the car. Again Satya Bagla, the Indian partner of
Bentley Motors, refused to disclose who they are all.
"It is our policy. One cannot disclose customers names, unless
one gets specific instructions to do so," he said.
At a cost of Rs 1.95 crore on road — subject to dollar rates —
the Bentley is the second most expensive car in the country next to
the Mercedes S Class which costs a whopping Rs 3 crore. Nonetheless,
every year over a dozen buy this car in India.
The only owner who has let the world know he owns a Bentley is
Vijay Mallya whose Continental Flying Spur has been custom made for
him in Kingfishers Red and White.