EITHER we focus on the inner life, OR we focus on the world's problems.
EITHER we focus on Social Justice, OR we focus on our own souls.
EITHER we change people's HEARTS, OR we change people's conditions.
In a previous post, I suggested that maybe the answer is not a False Choice between EITHER/OR, but something new that includes BOTH/AND
What if the answer to growing our souls involved BOTH the inner life AND our active engagement?
What if the reign of God involved BOTH a change of heart AND a change of structures?
What if the answer to growing a soul involved BOTH Solitude AND Service?
That is what we are betting on at New Hope. In a recent strategic planning project*, we summarized our vision as:
We will focus on integrating our spirituality into all facets of life while courageously
bettering our community and world for future generations through compassionate service and profound personal transformation as our unified focus.
The answer is not Solitude VERSUS Service, but BOTH/AND
At least, Jesus seemed to think so.
Amid all the stories of Jesus healing the sick, teaching the crowds and confronting the religious establishment, there are these comments in the Bible about him constantly going off by himself to pray. It was a pattern he gave to his followers. Sometimes he would send them out into the countryside for active ministry, and then he would help them establish the habit of finding solitude and rest (Mark 6:31).
*New Hope Presbyterian Church recently completed the first steps of a strategic planning process. We used Will Mancini's book, God Dreams, and the planning team (aka Dream Team) consisted of Dave Arnett, Leslie Clemensen, Nancy Faunce, Judy Hodge, John Lundgren, Gregg Macaluso, Scott Risby, and me.