Thanks to my good friend Mandy for sharing with me this post from Joy Bennett who has captured a lot better what I was musing on a couple of weeks ago about prevalent theologies of personal independence:
Obviously her article is written from an American perspective but I do think we are suffering from much of the same fiercely damaging independence in Australia (especially with our growing political language of “lifters” and “leaners”).
The idea of asset based community development is not to create additional programs to “prop-up” the poor and disadvantaged in our communities but rather to create communities of inter-dependence in which our mutual strengths and mutual weaknesses enrich us all or, as Joy puts it:
“God didn’t create us to be self-sufficient. He created us to live together, to complement each other’s weaknesses with our strengths, and allow their strengths to complement our weaknesses.”
This is not a radically socialist thought but one echoed by the Rev Dr Martin Luther King Jr:
“All this is simply to say that all life is interrelated. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality; tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. As long as there is poverty in this world, no man can be totally rich even if he has a billion dollars. As long as diseases are rampant and millions of people cannot expect to live more than twenty or thirty years, no man can be totally healthy, even if he just got a clean bill of health from the finest clinic in America. Strangely enough, I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. You can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.”
And indeed by the Apostle Paul:
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.
You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. (Selected verses from 1 Corinthians 12, The Message)
I encourage you to check out Joy’s post and hope it can be as encouraging to you as it was to me.