When Helping Hurts

IMG_1707-2In both philosophy and religion, one subject consistently addressed is the matter of whether the human race is inherently good or inherently wicked. While major religions have formed immutable convictions on the issue, our personal convictions often wax and wane in direct correlation with whether we are speaking of our enemies or our allies. Regardless of religious belief, it seems our human propensity is to demonize our opponents while idolizing those with whom we agree.

Especially in our polarized culture, we often live as though our enemies can do no right while our allies can do wrong.

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The Scaffold

IMG_1707-2I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self.

Henri Nouwen

 

Vulnerability. Authenticity. Transparency.

These are popular buzz words in our culture today. Trendy ideas don’t usually show up in a vacuum; it’s probably a safe bet that the promotion of ideas such as these arose, in part, in response to a kind of generalized suspicion that seems to be working itself into every crack and crevice of our human relationships and institutions. For as much as we desire healthy connections in which we can risk the vulnerability of deeply knowing another, as well as being known ourselves, it seems an indiscriminate cynicism is sinking its roots into our most sacred places, proliferating an outgrowth of mistrust and disappointment and choking out the vital bonds necessary for healthy communities to flourish.

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