Thoughts for Friday 11th September 2020

Psalm 103:8-13; Genesis 41:53-42:17; Acts 7:9-16

 

Friday 11th September

 

In the late 1980s, there was a book that was being read in church circles here in Glasgow, written by an American called Ray Bakke. Called ‘The Urban Christian’, it encouraged Christians not to abandon the inner city, but to live and work in what were being called ‘Areas for Priority Treatment’ (or APTs for short) here in this country.

 

Together with his family, he had done this in Chicago from the 1960s onwards, and the book included some personal stories, as well as an analysis of the way all too many church initiatives aimed at helping people living in poor neighbourhoods at that time, actually had the effect of benefitted people outwith those areas instead.

 

There was a Bible study method he advocated that was based on our Old and New Testament readings for today. And that was to get people thinking and talking about what Joseph had done in order to tackle famine in his day. When, Ray would then ask the question, ‘Okay, now see if you can tell whether he was a capitalist or a socialist?’

 

What do you think yourself? It’s a difficult question to answer, I think, unless you were to say that he was neither and was something entirely different altogether; or maybe that he was both at the same time. The whole point of this, from Ray’s point of view, though, was to say that sometimes we can actually fail to serve people’s best interests by allying ourselves slavishly to specific ideologies; and that this is something that can be as true in the realm of theology as it is in that of politics!

 

Ray Bakke has always advocated methods which – just as Jesus’ ministry was an incarnational one – seek first of all to understand the problem from the inside out. And in the here and now, that would be by involving those recipients of the 1.9 million three-day emergency food supplies given to people in crisis by Trussell Trust food banks in the financial year 2019-2020; and by asking them what the solution to food insecurity might be.

 

Let us pray:

 

(Johnny Appleseed)

 

The Lord is good to me
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need
The sun and rain and an apple seed
The Lord is good to me,

 

Amen.

 


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