On page 44 and 45, we read about the many different people with whom Jesus interacted: the tax collectors, shepherds, women, those of other races (ex: Luke 10:26), children, lepers, etc. Many of these people groups were in some way ostracized during Jesus’ time period, but Jesus subversively interacts with each of them. In what ways do you see the Church interacting in similar ways today with those who may feel excluded, stigmatized, or overlooked by society?
Keller discusses “koinonia” in relation to Acts 4:34-34 (pages 58 and 59). Reread this verse. Have you experienced or witnessed this kind of “radical generosity?”
In the Bantu language, there is a similar concept found in the word “ubuntu.” In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, “…It is the essence of being human. It speaks of the fact that my humanity is caught up and is inextricably bound up in yours. I am human because I belong. It speaks about wholeness, it speaks about compassion. A person with ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole. They know that they are diminished when others are humiliated, diminished when others are oppressed, diminished when others are treated as if they were less than who they are. The quality of ubuntu gives people resilience, enabling them to survive and emerge still human despite all efforts to dehumanize them. You know when ubuntu is there, and it is obvious when it is absent. It has to do with what it means to be truly human, to know that you are bound up with others in the bundle of life.”
How can we better incorporate this concept into our daily lives?
In both chapters 3 and 4, Keller discusses the differences in perspectives of the church deacons and the poor woman from church who spent donated money on seemingly lavish things—i.e. bikes for her kids and meals at restaurants. We learn that the woman is feeling remorseful on the inside and expressed doing these things out of the desire to feel like she could give her kids something so normalized by many other families. Have you ever been in a situation in which parties had two different perspectives, but upon coming together, shared an understanding of the others perspective that contributed to growth and compassion? If you haven’t, consider an area in which you serve. Is it possible that those who are serving and those who are being served (who are in turn teaching us J) have varying perspectives? How can we better understand the perspective and the journey of someone seemingly different from us?
Any additional thoughts on chapter 3?
In this chapter, we read about the story of the Good Samaritan. Have you ever found yourself in the shoes of the person on the road to which someone showed you grace and kindness? If so, share with the group to the extent you feel comfortable.
Any additional thoughts on chapter 4?