Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Orthoparadox...

“Orthoparadoxy is an effort to make God’s main thing the main thing for all the people of God: reconciliation. Not sameness or agreement but differentiated oneness - where the fullness of one can be in relationship with the fullness of another. Orthoparadox is right paradox - holding difference rightly. Orthoparadox seeks to hold difference, tensions, otherness, and paradoxes with grace, humility, respect, and curiosity, while simultaneously bringing the fullness of self to the ‘other’ in conversation, not to convert or to convince but with the hope of mutual transformation through interpersonal relationship”. -Dwight Friesen

This is an Iraqi family that have become regulars at our Community Resource Center. The mother on the right has been volunteering at our center to fulfill State work requirements. Since her English is basic, she can gain work experience, be stretched linguistically and meet Government mandated requirements for refugees. We have had the privilege of getting to know her husband and all her children during our Tuesday dinners. We are learning about different cultures and religious traditions. Beef over pork, sensitivity in customs, prayers and general relational humility towards one another as we become friends. It's been a rich experience for all of us, gaining new acquaintances, sharing the work of care for our community and listening to their stories of trial and challenge. This family fled Baghdad...their journey was sobering.

In our CRC on a regular Tuesday night, you will meet people from Africa, Asia, the Middle East, North America and South America; that's pretty amazing! Learning to extend hospitality and friendship to diverse cultures, in an unconditional way, is one of the most rewarding aspects of urban ministry. The beauty of it all, is how you end up discovering God in the process of sharing His love. Those who are sent to proclaim Him...end up finding Him within the very people He sends you to love.

Last night as I was standing next to this family as they were preparing to leave, the little girl, looked at me and reached her arms out for me to hold her. I picked her up and the family started chattering about how that was a first for her. I was blessed to see us all connecting on such a simple, yet tender level.

God is love...it's the heart of the gospel....and it never fails.
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