‘Social-lift’ – the tendency of new “non-middle class” Christians to begin aspiring towards the middle-class social values of the church they have recently joined. Where is the harm in that!?
Different social classes manage their social & moral disfunctions in quite unique and different ways. The middle classes tend to carefully regulate how public their social/moral disfunctions become. This allows for at least the appearance of stable and predictable church life, discipleship & ministry patterns. However, the open and unvarnished manner in which moral/social disfunction is often displayed in communities of social disadvantage, can easily hijack the focus of churches in unhelpful ways.
One of the key factors that cripples ministry within socially disadvantaged areas, is an ingrained failure to understand how social networks operate outside the middle classes. It's a failure I often unfortunately replicate in my own precious relationships. Tim Chester describes the "blind-spot" of middle class social networks this way:
Aren't we all middle class now? We're a nation that proudly self-identifies as egalitarian. It is no longer self-evident where "Blue-collar" and "working-class", part company with "middle-class". It feels somehow un-Australian to even acknowledge the existence of social class.
It forms such a big part of our lives.
We desperately long for it to have meaning.
But what meaning?
In the paper linked below, I compare/contrast how O’Donovan and Volf explain the relationship between our creational and evangelical work. The introductory section briefly reviews reformed thinking on vocation, before moving on to Moltmann’s, Volf’s and then O’Donovan’s proposals.
This paper was originally posted at:
I’m currently working on a talk reflecting on Genesis 4. Specifically I’ve been wrestling with how to make sense of the “reguard” that God shows to Abel and his offering, but not to Cain and his offering. To many people, God appears to be playing favourites It seems completely arbitrary as to why God accepts one sacrifice and not the other.
I'm Steve. Anglican Presbyter, Practical Theology Enthusiast, and Graphic Design Hobbyist in Sydney, Australia