This discourse is bigger than ourselves

It’s bigger than our little Christian bubble, bigger than our discontented middle class lives. It’s bigger than another re-enactment of the Christmas story, much larger than another rehash of the Easter one. It will never be more important than these, but if you never get to the discourse, these stories have no point; no one will listen to them.

We’ve forgotten that.

I started Sunday with a workshop on writing personal monologues. I worked on one that has been bugging me for a long while, as evidenced by my whole collection of rants in Single & Female. I listened to the stories of 13 other women in the group. Powerful stories. Necessary stories. Personal narratives — universal personal narratives — that need to be told.

I ended the day with a couple of films on eviction, displacement, the destruction of heritage and history, the necessity of solidarity in the fight for a village’s land rights against the might of rich corporations and the greed of corrupt government officials. Powerful films. Necessary films. Films that showcase the narratives of marginalised societies that need to be told.

And here we are, re-enacting the Christmas story again when people are fighting to keep their homes. Talking about making an evangelistic drama for Easter when others are fighting to keep their lives together.

It sometimes seems so pointless.

I’m not an activist; I don’t know how to fight for social justice. I just think that we are talking about the wrong things.

We talk about pre-marital sex being a sin. But we don’t talk about how we can offer help and assistance to single mothers in a hopeless situation.

We talk about how corruption is ruining this nation. But we are more worried about the USD exchange rates worsening because our imported, luxury goods will become more expensive, than about the people who do not have enough to eat.

We talk about how expensive houses are and how unaffordable it is to buy a house. But we don’t talk about the people who are being evicted from theirs — so that someone can build us a nice new condo that we barely can afford to buy except for the loan that we complain about servicing — without proper compensation and without the ability to obtain or service a loan which would enable them have a place to call their own.

This discourse is bigger than ourselves. It needs to talk about the larger problems that people in our nation face, rather than the nuances of our faith and interchurch spats. It needs to talk about the deeper interpersonal issues our friends and neighbours face, rather than re-telling the same stories, hoping for new converts.

The stories of the Bible have stood the test of time, but our re-tellings of them are stuck in a rut. They’ve lost relevancy because we have forgotten that those stories were written for that time and that culture — a time and culture far removed from our own. And in order for them to regain that edge, we need to rediscover how to tell them afresh.

The Word, of course, is sharper than a two-edged sword. But we blunt it because we do not know how to wield it.

I don’t know what that’s going to look like. It may not look anything like what the church expects it to be.

But I would rather lose my relevancy in the church in order to gain a voice in the world because Jesus did not come to be a doctor to the healthy. He came to seek and save those who are lost.

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