Vulnerability is the norm

Despite out best attempts in the West to protect ourselves, vulnerability is the norm. Vulnerability is the norm of human experience and it is the norm for the kingdom of God.

Think about what Richard Bauckham says about vulnerability and weakness here:

This fourth of our thematic trajectories through the biblical story is a necessary reminder that the church’s mission cannot be indifferent to the inequalities and injustices of the world into which it is sent. The gospel does not come to each person only in terms of some abstracted generality of human nature, but in the realities and differences of their social and economic situations. It engages with the injustices of the world on its way to the kingdom of God. This means that as well as the outward movement of the church’s mission in geographical extension and numerical increase, there must also be this (in the Bible’s imagery) downward movement of solidarity with the people at the bottom of the social scale of importance and wealth. It is to these – the poorest, those with no power or influence, the wretched, the neglected – to whom God has given priority in the kingdom, not only for their own sake, but also for all the rest of us who can enter the kingdom only alongside them. (Bible and Mission, pp.53-54)

What does this mean for the Church as we seek to meet the needs of the vulnerable in society? Here are three brief thoughts:

  1. We should recognise our own vulnerability;
  2. Our expression of the values of the kingdom of God is inextricably linked to concrete ways in which vulnerability is experienced: economic, political, educational, social, etc;
  3. Caring for the vulnerable is not just one-way traffic.

What do you think?

About timjdavy

I teach and research on Bible and Mission at Redcliffe College and lead the 'Bible and Mission' and 'Scripture Engagement' streams of our MA in Contemporary Missiology. I am the Director of the Centre for the Study of Bible and Mission, and also lead Redcliffe's 'Fostering, Adoption and the Church' research project, .
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