April 20, 2006

Journey Inward, Journey Outward

As David has aptly pointed out, Acts 6:1-7 points us to the everlasting dichotomy of the Christian life. The second in the series of books that Elizabeth O'Connor wrote describing the history and activity of the Church of the Savior was called Journey Inward, Journey Outward. This theme was elaborated throughout the life of the church. One of our primary studies there concerned the trappist monk, Thomas Merton who clearly understood that contemplation and activity must go together; neither is effectual without the other: neither solitary Christian nor soulless activist has any place in the kingdom of God.

The most interesting thing to me about the passage is that Stephen, one of those appointed for work in the material realm, became the primary spiritual leader in the ongoing life of the church (See the material in Acts immediately following this passage).

In 1974 I was living at the Ritz, a run down apartment building in the inner city being renovated during the evenings or weekends by white professional people who lived in the suburbs; their project was to upgrade housing in D.C. for the poor; at the Sunday worship service I was so rash as to announce to the congregation after the sermon that the true spiritual leader of the church was the maintenance man at the Ritz.

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