A community of Shalom

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A community of Shalom. In a post-modern world and its cultural context Christians, in order to engage in effective mission and the making of shalom will need (amongst other things):. A clear and compelling IDEOLOGY. A strong sense of IDENTITY.
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A community of ShalomIn a post-modern world and its cultural context Christians, in order to engage in effective mission and the making of shalom will need (amongst other things): A clear and compelling IDEOLOGYA strong sense of IDENTITYINTIMACY (‘koinonia’)with brothers and sisters in the context of Christian communityTo make an IMPACT – i.e. showing evidence that God is involved in life changing activity- spiritually, personally, socially, economically etcCONTRASTING VALUESOlder/traditionalContemporary1.Life is hardLife can be easy2.You’re going to dieYou can stay young and keep looking/feeling young for ever3.You’re not that importantYou are the most important4.You’re not in controlAbove all else you must stay in control5.Life is not just about youLife is mostly about you and your fulfilmentGHANDI LISTED SEVEN DEADLY SINS
  • Politics without principle
  • Wealth without work
  • Commerce without morality
  • Pleasure without conscience
  • Education without character
  • Science without humanity
  • Worship without sacrifice
  • WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
  • “The church gets into trouble whenever it thinks it is in the ‘church’ business rather than the ‘kingdom’ business. Church people think about how to get people into the church – kingdom people think about how to get the church into the world……The church needs liberating from it has become in order to be that which God intends.”
  • Howard Snyder – Liberating the Church
  • ‘To be an active agent of the kingdom is our highest calling. The kingdom generates new forces of righteousness, justice and peace through the means of servanthood and self giving love….we begin to test things by a biblical judgement and the church is slowly led from conformity to community and change…..The kingdom is within us and among us; it is our standard, our calling, our hope and our salvation. It is deeper, stronger, more profound and lasting than all our programmes, strategies, projects and causes.” Jim Wallis – Sojourners Washington DCThe experience of community is in itself extremely evangelistic. In a world starved of relationships it seems that even the most basic functions of community are powerfully attractive. In those special times when the congregation is able to achieve honesty among its members and before God, there is a qualitative experience of ‘koinonia’ which seems to pervade most defence mechanisms. It is not the kingdom of God but in those precious moments the community becomes a sign of the kingdom.“First the new community should constitute a challenge to the old. Its values,and ideals, its morals and relationships, its sacrificial lifestyle, its love, joy, peace – these are the signs of the kingdom, and present the world with a radically different alternative society. Secondly as the world lives alongside the kingdom community, some of the values of the kingdom will spill over into society as a whole. The salt, light and yeast metaphors which Jesus employed are more dynamic, since each implies the penetration of the old community by the new.” John Stott – Making Christ Known“Shalom is an enduring vision….among the eloquent spokesmen for this vision is Jeremiah writing to the exiles urging the validity of the vision even among displaced persons: ‘I will fulfil to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, plans for shalom and not for evil, top give you a future and a hope…..you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes.”Walter BruggemmanSHALOMfrom a Hebrew verb meaning ‘to bring to completeness’ – ‘ to make whole’. It suggests health, wholeness and well-being in these areas:INDIVIDUALLY – soundness of body, mind and spirit, health of body and soul, being a ‘together’ personBETWEEN PERSONS – relationships of trust, love, mutuality, openness and respect, a caring concern for the other personIN GROUPS AND SOCIETY – being satisfied with enough so that all may have enough, a commitment to social justice- no one group standing ‘on the neck’ of the otherIN THE NATURAL WORLD – living in interdependence, having mutual responsibility, no exploitation of the created order – no pollutionSHALOM:-is God’s gift is God’s vision which passes all understandingis the total well-being God will for His whole created orderis the fulfilment of His purposesis the content of God’s reign…………..and all through Jesus Christ – the Prince of Shalom Isaiah 9:6SHALOM is God’s ultimate will that things will be as they ought to be and working together as God intendsTHEREFORE WHEN:# the RULE of God is recognised# the WAYS of God are learnt# and God’s way of lifestyle is PRACTICED …..….…then SHALOM results [Isaiah 2:2-4]WHAT and WHO are the enemies and blocks to shalom for:
  • young people you are currently working with
  • young people generally in your local community
  • young people in the wider context – nationally and globally
  • What evidence will you cite?
  • What implications arise for the church – God’s shalom community?
  • GOD’S SHALOM COMMUNITY – THE CHURCH – HAS THREE PRIMARY TASKS:MAKING REAL GOD’S REIGN IN IN THE WORLDTO ENGAGE IN MISSION ON GOD’S BEHALFTO BE A WORSHIPPING COMMUNITYAs a community of God’s shalom community, brought together in and through Christ, we make real God’s reign in the world when we live as:His NATION – therefore are we primarily Christian or British?ALIENS, PILGRIMS and STRANGERS in a world that is hostile and opposed to God’s rule and reign in ChristAs a DISTINCTIVE people who do not conform either to the norms of the world and its culture or to anything that denies or defies the Lordship of ChristChallenging people to repentance, faith and discipleshipSharing in Christ’s mission and the making of shalom will involve God’s people in;Witnessing to Jesus’ love & friendshipPenetrating the world in every aspect of its lifeMaking known the good news of shalomDeclaring God’s forgivenessCounselling and supportingLoving those who will not, cannot love usSHALOMDemonstrating and making real God’s kingdomHealing in body, mind and spiritBefriending, serving, feeding and sheltering othersBuilding Christian communitySOME TENSIONS IN WORKING FOR SHALOM
  • Genuine brotherhood/sisterhood not easy to achieve
  • God’s vision V human and sinful nature
  • Shalom community is God’s vision – may not be what others consider to be the ideal
  • How can the shalom community represent God to the world if it is ‘over zealous’ on not conforming to the world? Tension between being ‘in’ the world but not ‘of’ the world
  • Can God’s people ever be a community that is wholly and entirely Christian?
  • REMEMBERNew methods, new strategies or structures will neither fulfil God’s purposes or meet the needs of people unless there is a continuing and radical renewal of trust in Christ as Lord within the community of God’s peopleThe ‘poor’ in the O.T. (Hebrew) – each of the words translated as poor has a spectrum of meanings. Poor is an inadequate translation!The poor are described as those who are;# Oppressed, downtrodden and humiliated# Powerless and diminished# Yearning and insistent# Defenceless and open to exploitation# Needy and in want# Subjected and dependent# Diminished and impoverished# Destitute and bereft# Dispossessed and evictedTHE ‘POOR’ IN THE NT – [GREEK]– are described as;# The manual worker struggling to survive#The one reduced to ‘meekness’#The one brought low #The beggar #The weak #The leper#The heavy laden #The widow#The fatherless #The destitute #The common peopleTRUST YOUR QUESTIONS !Why is life so different in ‘white’ communities than in others?Why, in this nation, are there so many who are described as ‘poor, deprived, exploited and unfulfilled’?Why is there such a gap between the haves’ and the ‘have nots’ – in this nation and globally?Why are a disproportionate number of black young men in prison than those who are white?Why are there so few genuine links between white churches/denominations and their black counterparts?“ The God who has revealed himself in Jesus makes it very clear in His word (to those who welcome His revelation), that our response to poverty is a crucial test of the reality of our faith.It is impossible to really know Jesus and be indifferent to the plight of the poor.”As a Christian, professional youth and community worker you are:
  • A disciple of the most radical of Lords
  • Called to be a servant, a witness and a herald
  • A member of a ‘called out’ and distinctive community
  • A member of a profession with a code of conduct –
  • working in either church or secular contexts
  • A member of a number of different communities
  • THEREFORE – what challenges and tensions can be anticipated as you seek to make shalom among young people and communities
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