Monthly Archives: May 2011

the Body of Christ (a series of staff reflections)



As the Body of Christ, we should seek out the poor, broken and outcast with the intent of embracing them. What is meant by embracing them? Embracing these individuals starts with treating them as human beings who have the same value before the Almighty God as we do. By treating them as humans, whether that is asking them their names or enjoying time to get to know them, several amazing things can  happen at the same time: restoration of self worth, participation in a group that is loving and potential opportunities for discipleship are revealed to the local body of Christ. When the local body of Christ reaches out to all members of society with the desire to do more than fill the pews it begins to demonstrate the desire to change society both local and distant (state, national and global). This desire could be expressed by participating in lives through loving them and instructing them in ways to imitate Jesus it fulfills the teachings and commands God passed on through Jesus, the apostles, church fathers and preserved by the presence and work of the Holy Spirit.
What does the world gain from the Body of Christ treating people as valuable?  God’s active presence in the world provides a means of understanding humanity’s options including the option to move away from the daily grind of accepting brokenness reinforced by paradigms of indifference. When the local body of Christ intentionally acts with the goal of showing reconciliation and transformation of individuals, families, local and global communities, society is forced to accept the validity of living for something other than the American dream, self-preservation or communal well being. This type of societal response will meet resistance, be scoffed at and be judged by some as abnormal or wrong.  But these expressions of desiring to keep the status quo are okay. They are okay because not everyone gets the importance of changing paradigms. This is either because they refuse to change or they need time to let the idea sink into their thought life. Both refusing to change mindsets and needing reflection were present when Jesus was preaching, healing and performing miracles and they will continue to be represented by parts of society until the Second Coming

-Chip Guyton


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the Body of Christ (a series of staff reflections)



The Body of Christ is not something formed later, it is not doing in the future:

It is here now.

Doing now.

Here is wherever I am, you are, we are.

I cannot expect to change the entire world and neither can you.

But

I can change me

and

you can change you

and

together we can change each other

and perhaps

perhaps we can change ourselves in such a way that compels others to notice, to join – but this is secondary.

These changes ought to grow Love in me and in us.  These changes ought to make me a better lover of people, of the earth, of justice and peace.  These changes ought to tangibly affect the people around me here in my community, in my life, in my sphere of influence (but I’ll l come back to this later).  These changes ought to change my world and my place in it. And together, these changes ought to change our world and our place in it.

-Jane Krosse

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the Body of Christ (a series of staff reflections)

Many minds and hearts from different backgrounds coming together to effect change as one body. The following series is this body, the Good Works body, searching for the answer to “What does it mean to be the Body for the world, in the world and for the glory of God?” We all have different perspectives, different questions to be answered in this layered question. Our hope is that we may be able to start a dialog, not just within this body, but with you.


What does it mean to be the body of Christ, in the world, for the world, for the glory of God?

 

Sunday morning: Again I am faced with the question of church. Where should I go? I sigh, discomfort twisting amidst threads of thought. It has been more than two years since I moved to Athens. Why haven’t I found a church? Is there something wrong with me, or my attitude? I have tried. But, somehow I haven’t been able to connect. I am twenty-four and can’t seem to rattle myself into sitting through another church service.

Tuesday morning: I am with my friends and coworkers. “Good mornings” and coffee mugs crowd the dining room. The residents of the shelter have headed out for the day, and we meet where they ate breakfast. Someone closes the door against the incessant ringing of the phone, thank goodness. Staff members answer the phone all day—talking with many people—those seeking shelter or help with bills, eager donors, and each other as we maintain the daily operations of this organization. But now, it is time to quiet ourselves for prayer, song, scripture sharing…story-telling, collage-making, walking… hearing testimonies, honest fears and encouragement.  In my week of work, this is a sustaining hour.

My parents are Mennonite missionaries, yet I didn’t grow up going to church. When people ask me about my church background, I am usually tempted to say that I grew up in the “Isaan rice-farmers’ house church” denomination. My sisters and I spent dusty Sundays visiting newly formed groups of Thai believers. For me, this meant bumpy rides out to various villages, politely sitting on the floor for many hours and straining to interact in my limited language abilities. The meetings and the meals that followed were simple, and sometimes “poor.”  Yet, these villagers were experiencing the power of God in profound ways—dreams, physical healing, and restored relationships. I didn’t always understand or appreciate what was going on around me at the time, but looking back I glimpse something mysteriously real, and beautiful.

These days, I spend my Sunday mornings exploring the village of Chauncey. A run-down town in Southeast Ohio, it is far from Asia. I find myself surprisingly energized to be there: meeting people from the Chauncey Church of God, Chauncey Faith Chapel and Chauncey Christian Church. I am a curious visitor, and I feel as though these sincere churchgoers have a hard time understanding me.  I haven’t yet found words to explain my hopes and intentions to them, because my purpose feels somewhat “other.” Some day soon, I hope to live in this used-to-be coal mining community and take part in its culture. I hope for the movement of God in which I, along with others, can link arms with the local believers to continue to express Christ through our joined body.

These are a few of the angles from which I approach the question of what it means to be the Church. I do not intend to answer exhaustively, but rather to speak about several aspects that seem most significant to me.

— Dawn Tobin

(To read the rest of Dawn’s article about the Church, visit www.good-works.net, click on “Who We Are” and go to Dawn’s bio page. The article is titled The Body of Christ.)

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