I was surprised to learn recently that being poor isn’t defined primarily by how much or little money a person has.
Poverty is about how dysfunctional or broken a person’s matrix of relationships is – with family, government, community, neighbours, those in authority, God.
The resulting isolation excludes them from all things that bring meaning and life and hope. Of course resources and money are part of this, but not the sole or even main driver of what we describe as poverty.
I’m often disappointed to see Christians and churches supporting apparently worthwhile causes that I know address only a narrow range of factors in the matrix of dysfunction. Too often we go for what is “sexy” and has a high “feel good” factor, and allows us to feel as if we are making a difference, rather than a project that has a longterm sustainable approach to addressing the range of issues that allow people to become more human.
My intent and prayers for Just Church, a March gathering at the intersection of faith, justice, worship and arts, is that people will leave the South Auckland venue knowing that God has spoken to them; that they know where to find the resources to guide and sustain them in their engagement with injustice globally, locally and personally; and how their community of faith can build for the Kingdom.
Just Church has no high-profile imported speakers. It has a wide range of local people with loads of knowledge and experience, some artists and poets, a group of Kiwi worship curators doing worldclass work in public places and in church worship, all of whom will be available for engaging with and questioning.
I’d love to meet you and to have you contribute to the conversation.
Mark Pierson – Worship Curator, ex-school teacher, ex-Baptist pastor, author (The Art of Curating Worship, The Prodigal Project, Fractals for Worship), writer, speaker on things worship and the arts, currently Christian Commitments Manager World Vision NZ, sustained by the community at The Upper Room, Auckland.