Monday, September 15, 2008

Services For Unwed Homeless Mothers

The intermittent volunteer shared a concern in her post "Pregnant and On the Streets" about a street family who were denied services and ultimately lost their pre-born child because of the reality that the church provides most all homeless services and therefore the unwillingness to house an unwed couple.

Although I believe it awesome that from her experience the mantle of care for the homeless is rightly placed within the church. I am concerned by the ideology that our service is based on the morality of the recipients rather than on the morality of the church. Better stated, the church should serve not based on the merit of those being served, but on rather on the Biblical mandate to serve.

I imagine the consequences of my life story if God reversed the roles we have filled together. In every stage of life God has based his saving grace on his own merit, and the receipt of that merit has compelled me to be changed into the moral vision he had for me. Imagine how differently the "woman caught in adultery" would have played out if Jesus had based his decision about the stoning on the code of a moral life that she had never sought to be bound by. Instead, Jesus calls her as a response to him to live under a new vision of moral hope.

I had this similar fight at our church when our work with the children of the migrant families at the Arlington Racetrack was bullied out by those who felt that it did not value the vision of the church, since we were not gaining numerical attendance results from the work. This is not our motivation.

All our decisions and motivation towards acts of service must be based on our responsibility to be participants in God's moral vision for our participation in bringing His kingdom to earth. It is our morality, as the representatives of Christ on earth that most concerns him, since after all his good name rests on our shoulders. Perhaps we should be wholly concerned with the vision of healing the sick, and preaching the good news to the poor that he called us to, then we'll let God take care of the rest.


Randy said...

I read this post earlier this week and thought your statement about it being our morality that should prompt service, not the morality of the recipient was "spot-on." Today, I am studying I Timothy and ran across Paul's advice to Timothy concerning which widows should receive aid from the church (I Timothy 5:3-16).

It seems that Paul (especially in verses 9&10) thinks that the recipients morality SHOULD play into the equation.

Could you please discuss the seemingly disconnect between your message and Paul's advice to Timothy?

Anonymous said...

who, man. right on. i love how you made this personal. i didn't really think of it that way, but my life circumstances probably look a lot like yours, in the sense that grace came first, then obedience. Must be a testimony to something about God, huh? i admit that i don't always mirror this aspect of love to others. thanks. great post.