Thursday, February 18, 2021

"The Least Of These" – churches and poverty in Tennessee

Some years ago I met Dr Anthony Bradley on one of his visits to Northern Ireland, a mutual friend introduced me to him at the 'Keswick At Portstewart' summer convention. He is a Presbyterian, an academic, and an African-American. I follow him on Twitter, where he has really powerful things to say and share around issues of theology, denominations, class, politics, the importance of fathers, and race. Voices like his provide some clarity within all of the noise we are bombarded with from America all the time. This tweet from him really struck me today.

This is the web page he links to. I have encountered this in our own NI context. Churches whose members are well-off, and which therefore have spare funds for external 'missional' work, often choose missions which appeal to their aesthetic preferences, and those preferences often reflect their lifestyles and interests.

Dr Bradley's point here is that the words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 25v40, where Christ aligns himself with those at the very 'guttermost' of the social ladder – people he calls "the least of these" – don't necessarily compare well with Christians who are prone to look the other way and do trendier things instead.

Dr Bradley is a really interesting voice, across multiple subjects – if you are on Twitter you can follow him here.