Posted by: Dan | January 20, 2005

The Bleeding Points of Humanity

Raymond Fung, a theologian and an inner-city worker in Hong Kong, in his critique of Western evangelism suggests that Christians are operating from a faulty anthropology when they only view people as sinners. He writes,

“Surely they are sinners, all of them – all of us. But we have forgotten the sinned-against, those who are victims of the sins of others.”

And this, adds Mortimer Arias, a Bolivian theologian, is precisely the opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus prioritised announcing good news to the poor, the outcasts, the marginals, the “little ones”, the sick, the despised, the rejected – the sinned-against.

“To the sinned-against Jesus' heart went out in love, forgiveness, and gracious invitation.”

At this point we must heed the reminder of J.L. Segundo, a Jesuit from Uruguay. We must be announcing the good news as good news.

How is it that so many Christians have lost this central aspect of the good news? The good news was about the forgiveness of sins, it was about an out-pouring of unexpected grace, of new life, and the restoration of right relationship among all people and all things. It is good news, not bad news. It is a cause of feasting, of dancing, of drinking and of Jubilee.

To live a life centered on Jesus is to move constantly toward the periphery and thereby follow in Jesus' footsteps. As Kosuke Koyama, a Japanese theologian writes: from his birth in a stable, to his association with sinners in Galilee, to his death outside the city gates, Jesus constantly moves toward the periphery.

“He expresses his centrality in the periphery by reaching the extreme periphery. Finally on the cross, he stops his movement. There he cannot move. He is nailed down. This is the point of ultimate periphery. 'My God, My God, why has thou forsaken me?'”

Therefore, the World Council of Churches concludes,

“In their witness to the Kingdom of God in words and deeds the churches must dare to be present at the bleeding points of humanity and thus near those who suffer evil, even taking the risk of being counted among the wicked.”

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