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Simply Church: World Rectification

We are a family with a mission. Our family has been charged with caring for creation, and because creation has been messed up, we have been charged with the rectification of creation. We don’t just exist because we happen to be born from the same parents, we exist because Love invited us in and we wanted that Love to consume our lives. When love consumes us, we must express it. A part of this expression is rectifying what has gone wrong with the world. Setting things right is one of our purposes for existing.

I want to reiterate that the first purpose of the family, and by far the most important, is to be formed into the likeness of our older brother Jesus who is the idyllic human reflection of our Dad. Our primary goal as a family is to be an incubator for Dad’s transforming love. Our secondary goal is inseparably connected to the first, we love God by becoming like Him, and in becoming like Him we are filled with love for the world that reaches out to invite others into our family. These are solutions to the two real problems in the world, which are: All of humanity has not been reconciled to their true Father and those that are reconciled have not yet grown up to be like Him. Everything else is symptomatic.*

Treating symptoms of sin’s disease is still worthwhile, honorable, an act of love, and a reflection of our Father. Ultimately though, if we are not bringing people into the family and strengthening the family, we aren’t really solving the problems. I think that while we treat symptoms out of love, not motivated merely by the desire for converts, we need to keep in mind that there is nothing more loving than the reparation of a broken relationship with Dad because this brokenness is the . I’m not trying to undermine the importance of treating symptoms as this manner of love expression is beautiful and there is great reward in heaven for expressing it. I do want to make sure we are primarily focused on healing the disease even while we are treating the symptoms.

In Scripture, helping the poor is one of the most important ways we make the world right. Throughout both Testaments are injunctions to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and shelter the homeless. In the U.S., I’m sure Christians give a lot of money to other people to do these things. However, I think that the further we are from the actual feeding, clothing, and sheltering, the less beneficial it is for the kingdom of God. Mass provisions of food in a mess hall, cardboard boxes full of free clothing, and mattresses on a floor are great because of their efficiency, but their impact in bringing more people into the family is diminished because the personal expression of love is diluted. It is one thing to put a scoop of mashed potatoes on someone’s plate, it is quite another to invite them to your dinner table in your home and engage them in conversation. The more intimately involved we are in helping the poor, the more our Father is put on display to those we are helping.

In many nations and in many cultures, oppression against certain groups of people is a serious problem. Often this oppression is based upon something like: socioeconomic classes, ethnicities, races, gender, religion, and perhaps sexuality. I believe that the response of the church to oppression should be twofold. We should first act to publically love the oppressed, declaring to them and to the oppressive government or culture that these people bear God’s image and should be treated with that dignity. Second, we should publically reveal oppression, denounce it, make clear its absurdity, and teach a different way. Through both of these actions, we are being God’s prophets to the world.

When humanity was first created God told them to find a name for the animals and take care of the world. The redeemed family of God is also called to be the caretakers of the earth and the animals. Paul describes creation as groaning in eagerness, longing for the family of God to be fully transformed into the likeness of our Father in the glory of our resurrected bodies. Creation itself was subjected to the Fall when we were subjected to it. When we are in freedom and glory, creation’s freedom from bondage to corruption also ends because its caretakers are redeemed in full. In the meantime, we are to be caretakers over whatever creation is under our rule. Additionally, I believe that the church can also function as a prophet with regards to the world’s treatment of creation. Where the environment is being irreparably damaged, where animals are being pointlessly destroyed or cruelly treated, where orcas are subjugated to a lifetime of forced labor by their human enslavers, the prophets of God’s people should be speaking out as God’s voice to humanity.

More important than rectifying these things in the world, we should make sure that these things are not a part of our family. Let’s make sure that our family is not ignoring the poor or treating them dishonorably, creating outcasts, oppressing others, or destroying the creation God wants to redeem. May being adopted into God’s family mean that there is no black nor white, Arab nor Asian, slave nor free, male nor female, rich nor poor, and may it not matter if one was gay or straight, Muslim or Jew, for those of all pats are equally welcome to be God’s children. Insofar as our family is free of these problems, the solution to these problems is simple, we adopt as many people into our family as we can. The more brothers and sisters we have, the more the world is set right.

*I’m still not sure if this is hyperbole or true. Thoughts?

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