I’m teaching A World Worth Saving at two different locations and am fascinated by the very different dynamics. In one session I gave my ten-cent lecture on the Armenian genocide because, though I referred to some historical aspects of the genocide in the book, the group’s members did not know about this desolation.
I also hear from people who are studying the book during this season of Lent. The chapter titled “Seeking Justice” is stimulating conversation among many people. They are coming to have new thoughts about how to understand justice, and they agree that it is easier to define injustice than to define justice.
One question in that chapter stirs the conversation: “On the road to Damascus, Paul was blinded and three days later began to see a new vision of life. How is your church seeing life anew? How is justice part of the congregation’s mission and vision statement?”
One person sent a long email: “I hadn’t thought about justice as part of our church mission statement. When I looked at it, your question caused some consternation in me. (I hope consternation is the right word. Maybe I’m just puzzled, but it’s more than that.) Our mission statement stresses words like warmth of the fellowship and community. It seems it’s all about being the church in order to be the church—not for any real mission. I don’t want to be church just for fellowship. Our study group is starting to look seriously at that mission statement and how we can clarify our purpose. I’d appreciate your prayers.”
That response is certainly an unforeseen consequence to what I intended in the writing. I’ll join in prayer.
On the road during the last two weeks: I made a fast trip to the mountains of east Tennessee and to Nashville. I also visited Pickens Presbyterian Church (Pickens, SC) and Lupo Memorial United Methodist Church (Greenwood, SC) to talk about A World Worth Saving and to sign copies. I’m grateful for the hospitality of these churches and especially for those who engaged in much conversation.