I remember talking to a Director of a Charity that works with the homeless in Toronto a few years ago. He told me how frustrating it is when local churches, schools and other groups just hop on a bus, head downtown and start handing out sleeping bags, food and toiletries (toothbrushes, deodorant etc) to people on the streets of Toronto. He told me that there are some days when people come into their shelter to get meals or to sleep in the evening and everyone seems to be carrying 2-3 sleeping bags, multiple bagged lunches and a backpack of toothbrushes etc. He said he wished local churches would actually call up local shelters and ask them what they really needed. I have never forgot that statement.His point was these organizations are already on the ground in these areas and they know better what things the people they are serving year round actually need.
Thinking of the Fort McMurray fire last week I was talking to a pastor and he said his church was doing a clothing drive for the people of Fort McMurray. I asked if that is what relief organizations, or the Mayor of Fort Mac or even the people who are displaced are asking for? He paused and said “I have no idea.”
I think that there needs to be some intentionality behind the desire to help. I am not saying we don’t help. Just saying we need to think a little before we assume what other people might need.
This article is a decent conversation on this topic. Love to hear your thoughts.
Great conversation here. It adds some definitions to a term we often throw around these days in our church community.
What is Spiritual Abuse?
Spiritual abuse has been defined in a somewhat nebulous way. The term has been (over)used to cover any abuse that happens within the parameters of a church or ministry. Thus Christians tend to be defensive when spiritual abuse is mentioned.
Abuse, by definition is:
to use wrongly or improperly; misuse
to treat in a harmful, injurious, or offensive way
to speak insultingly, harshly, and unjustly to or about; revile; malign
We assume every Christian has a Bible that looks like this one — worn down, marked up, and paired with a journal stuffed with multicolored spiritual reflections.
But that’s often not true. Many Christians find it difficult to get into a daily habit of Bible reading. So this week John Piper addressed four common causes of Bible neglect in the Christian life, like: “I don’t read my Bible because . . .
. . . it seems so irrelevant to my life.”
. . . I don’t have time.”
. . . I go to church every Sunday.”
. . . I find it confusing.”
What follows is a slightly edited (and abridged) transcript of his answers.