Excerpts from the new book about the visions and voices of the new friars movement among the world's urban poor.
"Walking with friends who wanted out, we started to dream together: what could this place become if we stayed here together?...Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove..."rethinking church means rethinking Christian mission"
"They are artistic, entrepenuerial, international, ecumenical, contemplative misfits. They are apostolic activists with a vision to see the flourishing of God's shalom among commercial sex workers, refugees, street kids and their neighbors trapped in poverty--communities committed to work toward systemic change in the halls of power." Scott Bessenecker
"Mother Teresa's sisters pray six hours and work five hours. Protestants, by contrast, enter mission "teams" not communities, and then they "work" or found "works" as if they were starting a business...We formed Servants as a movement...based on a lifestyle of incarnation, community, simplicity, suffering and sacrifice." Viv Grigg
Craig and Nayhouy Greenfield share about the helpful frame of John Perkins' 3 Rs or relocation, redistribution, and reconciliation, but also how Perkins has a 3rs of Relocation itself--relocaters who move into poor areas to live incarnationally; returners (like Bonnie and I) "who were born and raised in the community and then left for a better life...yet choose to return; and remainers, who could have fled the problems of the community but have chosen to continue living there incarnationally. The three types working together in an area help keep the privilege of middle Class in check so it is not always at the core of the communities. But each of the three types of experiences is important to the other two and bring special gifts to a community. They write: "The incarnational approach is more than the sum of its parts. The value of incarnation lies not only in the immediate relationships developed but in the symbolic nature of the act. When the nonpoor reject their position of privilege and move toward the poor, they encourage others to do the same and model a way of life that values the poor and underprivileged."
"Ivan Illich, the philosopher and social theorist, was once asked, "What is the most revolutionary way to change society: Is it violent revolution or gradual reform? He gave a careful but very insightful answer: "Neither. If you want to change society, then you must tell an alternative story."...Mahatma Ghandi once commented on this when he said: "You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature." Indeed, it seems that a significant number of Christians have accepted Christianity as a religious belief system--a little Jesus to spiritualize their life and a little extra God to give them peace in a stress filled world. But they have not allowed the biblical message to transform their underlying worldview, the framing narrative or storyline that continues to shape the way they really live their lives....
[This leads to] eight categories of transformation: 1. reproducing transformational communities of people following Jesus. 2. increased civic participation for the common good. 3. improved accessibility to education that equips and enhances life. 4. expanded opportunities to achieve economic sufficiency. 5. increased spiritual and psychological health and freedom from destructive patterns. 6. increased family health and well being. 7. improved environmental and community health. 8 presence of political, economic, and legal systems that work for the poor and vulnerable. --Derek Engdahl and Jean-Luc Krieg
"People may come to our communities because they want to serve the poor; they will only stay once they have discovered that they themselves are the poor. And theyn they discover something extraordinary: that Jesus came to bring the good news to the poor, not to those who serve the poor" Jean Vanier..."It is only when the church relinquishes the privilege of the world's power centers that we can denounce its tactics. It is only when we Christians detach ourselves from the world's claims on us that we can find the power to criticize its values...The madate for the margins is not simply a strategy to get the gospel out to the whole world; rather, the movement toward the margins is primarily a reflection of God's heart for the world. When we walk with God, we are directed toward the margins because this is the way God works in the world. And when we see God on the margins, we find that what the world calls marginal is central for the church." Christopher Heuertz and David Chronic
"Activism without contemplation opens us to the risk of imposing our will on the world. If we are blind to our distorted compulsions, even our very best intentions and deeds can have self-ish motives and exploitative effects. These hidden motivations deceive us in the moment but are glaring in the rear-view mirror of history--like the dark side of colonial and imperialist missionary endeavors....What would it be like for our socieites--even our churches--to quiet our frantic frenzy down to a whisper? Imagine the impact of a church whose activism flowed from a life of devotion rooted in contemplation." Phileena Heuertz and Darren Prince.
"Incarnational, missional, marginal, and devotional--taken together, these signs amount to heady wine and require an appropriate wineskin. It is challenging to wrap these powerful currents into cohesive community. But without careful attention to the wineskin, the new wine spills onto the ground." Jose Penate-Aceves and John Hayes.
"Can I share my biggest fear in contributing to a book like this?...What I fear most is that people will read this book and live vicariously through the few of us who are already out there and overwhelmed by what is in front of us. Reading is not the same as living your faith....(quoting a professor in a class attended by Elias Chacour: "If there is a problem somewhere, he said with his dry chuckle, this is what happens. Three people will try to do something concrete to settle the issue. Ten people will give a lecture analyzing what the three are doing. One hundred people will commend or condemn the ten for their lecture. One thousand people will argue about the problem. And one person--only one--will involve themselves so deeply in the true solution that they are too busy to listen to any of it. Now, which person are you?"