Tag Archives: Mother Theresa

Subversive Relevance

This comes from OneHouse (via my comments)

Mother Teresa, a foreign-born nun in her late thirties, head of a girls’ boarding school, was going on retreat. As she traveled through the city she became overwhelmed by the sight of abandoned persons, lying in the streets, left to die. Some of these forgotten people were already having their not yet lifeless limbs gnawed by rodents. Under the impact of those grim sights she felt a call to a new form of vocation — a ministry of presence, service and care to the abandoned, the forgotten, the hopeless. In a nation and a world where scarcity is a fact of life, where writers and policy makers urge strategies of "triage" to ensure that resources are not "wasted" on those who have no chance of recovery and useful contributions, what could be less relevant than carrying these dying persons into places of care, washing them, caring for their needs, feeding them when they are able to take nourishment and affirming by word and deed that they are loved and valued people of God? But in a world that says people only have worth if they pull their own weight and contribute something of value, what could be more relevant?

OneHouse links to this post as by Darren Hughes

I’ve cherry-picked comments here, but "relevance," it seems to me, has become evangelical slang for "familiar comfort." And, to be blunt, I can’t think of a more damning critique of the church. It’s the type of relevance that leads to books like The Maker’s Diet and Wild at Heart, books that capitalize on "secular" trends (the Atkins craze or Mars/Venus pop philosophy) by refinishing them with a sanctified varnish. I mean, do I need Relevant magazine to tell me The Da Vinci Code "meets all the expectations of a great suspense novel without being formulaic or predictable"? Can’t I learn the same thing from a quick glance at the Best Sellers list?