Gospel Mutuality & Solidarity

I’ve written previously that there’s something nearly sacramental about solidarity with and care for the poor in the name of Jesus.  As many have noted, most recently N. T. Wright in his book How God Became King, it’s easy for Christians who want to be more socially conscious to imagine that the way to do this is to adopt the vision and practices of Western political liberals.

For the most part, however, such postures maintain the destructive power dynamics between the rich and poor and perpetuate, rather than resolve, problems associated with generational poverty.  Christian practices involve so much else and so much more.

Check out my friend Siu Fung Wu’s wonderful article on Paul’s community vision in Romans 12 and how it might be embodied in an Australian context.

7 thoughts on “Gospel Mutuality & Solidarity

  1. Pingback: Romans 12 and Poverty

  2. S Wu

    Thank you, Tim, for posting this (and thank you for the kind words). I have learned in recent years that power imbalance is an important factor why people stay poor and marginalized. There are social and economic power dynamics at play, and one has to spend time with the powerless to understand it. This is why mutuality and solidarity are good words.

    1. timgombis

      Indeed, solidarity and mutuality are essential for embodying the Gospel among others and for experiencing its redeeming dynamics. When we try to maintain the power differentials by dispensing goods or money to others and/or withholding them, we invite strategies of manipulation from others. Such situations bring out the worst in us and in others.

      Gospel dynamics, however, demand that we seriously encounter others in relationships and community dynamics of mutuality. Those allow us to be genuine, to say ‘no’ when we need to, to invite others to participate fully, etc. Such dynamics end up generating truthful community relationships, marginalizing strategies of exploitation and manipulation. The result–hopefully–is a community that experiences the Spirit’s dynamics of flourishing and advertises Christ’s Lordship.

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