Monthly Archives: November 2013
I grew up in a middle class background (as a doctor’s son) and so I know enough about the middle class world to know that mental illness is not confined to economically poor people. However, when you’re poor it’s less easy to hide it. When you’re poor, so much of who you are is out there in the open, and sometimes as an open wound. As such, when you live in an area like Govan, and are involved with a range of local organisations, you have to accept that things will happen – like I was sitting in a meeting with somebody a while back beside somebody who was standing to be a director, and he turned to me and said, quite casually, that he was having problems with “the voices” coming back since reducing his medication... read more
Last week’s blog post described the need for a time of discernment, a laying the groundwork in situations where churches feel motivated to engage with their local neighbourhood. In accompanying churches through this time, my colleagues and I try to encourage three crucial ‘conversations’ that enable the rootedness of what might develop.
Conversations with other community members… A church group may have strong connections to the local area, or they may feel that they do not know it at all. In either situation, it is important to consider what assumptions the group makes about the neighbourhood, and that they test these assumptions. This is done through mapping exercises, and community surveys, but also in going to speak with individuals and groups in the wider area: other faith groups; schools and colleges; shops and businesses; health centers and housing associations... read more
Two phrases are common to many groups as they begin to awaken to the possibilities of community transformation: ‘we want to make a difference’ and ‘we have to do something’. These desires are good, they provide energy, a starting point, but they are vague: they say nothing about the actions to be taken, or indeed the kind of difference that people want to make. Work needs to be done to focus these desires, without clarification we can be tempted to mistake any activity for real engagement... read more
What does it mean to be human?
Significantly, our humanity is defined by how we relate to others. Do we honour everyone equally, just like little children do who smile at everyone without discrimination? Do we respect every human life as evidence of God’s love? As Christians we are challenged to see the presence of God in each person we meet.
Yet, as we grow more jaundiced, we learn to be wary of some others and judge people by the boxes we place them in – ethnic, religious, racial, intelligence boxes. Sadly, it seems that some people live as if they have totally lost their humanity with little regard for the humanity of others. In this world of shocking animosity and violence – human against human – we constantly need to rediscover our own humanity and the humanity of others – all born in the image of God... read more