by Anthony Reddie.
This Spectrum paper is a reflection, written by Professor Anthony Reddie, on a lecture he gave at the Spectrum conference in May 2022. You can also read reflections one and two on Theology Everywhere.
In Anthony’s third session, participants engaged in a Bible study entitled ‘Faith Inspired Action’. In this he invited participants to think about what radical Christian inspired action looks like?
He asked participants to go into groups to look at Luke 8: vv.40-48.
In the text we see how Jesus makes a clear ‘political’ decision in the choices he makes in terms of where he places his priorities. Jesus is on his way to attend to a very important man, the leader of the synagogue — a man who would no doubt have been very grateful to Jesus and his movement if he healed his daughter. I am sure that all the disciples wanted Jesus to attend to Jairus’ daughter. No doubt the crowd wanted to see what Jesus would do when confronted with this kind of expectation.
Yet, in the midst of the business, Jesus stops and deals with this anonymous woman — a woman who is ritually unclean, therefore an outsider — someone who is beyond the traditional cultural and religious niceties of the wider community and society.
For those who think that some belong, and deserve to be noticed, i.e. the Jairus’ of this world, but others can and should be ignored because they are unclean or seemingly not worthy i.e the woman who was bleeding, this text can and should be an immense challenge. In terms of the woman, we may read her plight in hermeneutical terms as a black, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered person who is seen as ‘beyond the pale’ due to her social condition.
In fact all peoples who have been told that they are beyond the pale can see themselves reflected in her position within the text and many wider societies.
For Methodists, this text is a reminder of the key radical practice of John Wesley who told the early Methodists ‘Don’t just go to those who need you, but go to those who need you the most’. In times when austerity has been shown to have been a political choice and when churches like Methodism have provided much needed services such as food banks, the critical question the church has to make is the extent to which it is impassioned to stand on the side of those who are marginalised and told that they do not belong.
1. Why do we need food banks when tax cuts are also being given the richest in society?
2. Does the Church cosy up too much to those in power?
3. Identify the marginalised people in your areas.
We are pleased to continue our partnership with Spectrum, a community of Christians of all denominations which encourages groups and individuals to explore the Christian faith in depth. This year the study papers are from talks by Prof Anthony Reddie and Rev’d Simon Sutcliffe on the theme ‘Being the Salt of the Earth (A look at some peace and justice issues)’. This is the third of six coming through the year.
One thought on “Making a Difference: Action”
Because the Conservative Government are only interested in the economy, since it affects their portfolio. They no longer even pretend that they are interested in justice and fairness for the people they are supposed to serve.