Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
I’m frequently asked about “doing” the work of Jesus in “the real world”. Sometimes it is skeptical—suggesting the way of Jesus is good theory, but not practical or even realistic. And sometimes it is optimistic—suggesting that it sounds good, but we don’t know how to translate it to the modern world.
Both of these frame the way of love as, in a sense unrealistic and our world as real. And I think this is a rather dangerous way to see our world. Common, of course, but dangerous.
Mercy is real. And a remarkably good way of living one’s life. Showing mercy, seeking mercy, making merciful families, churches, and communities.
What we’re trying to say with our talk about “the real world” is to speak about cultural norms that are difficult to change. And often, we’re talking about strategies which encourage growth in spite of these cultural norms. And that is totally challenging work.
But that junk is no more real and the change we seek is no less real. Which means “real” is not the right word. And a skeptical apprehension to change is not as beneficial a posture as we think. Not when we are seeking a better world. And when our hope is in the one behind that better world.
For people of faith, being realistic starts with naming the ways of the Kin-dom as real. Love is real. Mercy is real. Hope is real. Real in us and all we do.