Indifference as a Form of Oppression?

26 09 2008

In reading the very enlightening article, The Madness of Anger, by Ed Welch, I realized the potential evil a church can be if it were to be unintentionally regional. Unintentionally regional meaning a variety of things, couple being: primary concern not being that of the local neighborhood, ambiguous visions and goals. Now I may be transposing Welch’s words in an erroneous manner because his article was a counseling article on anger and not one of ecclesiological analysis, but conceptually I find it somewhat enlightening. He says:

“If anger is about power, then here is the master of his craft. The indifferent person has no investment in a relationship, and whoever is less invested usually has the most power.”

Now I know indifference of churches are usually not a manifestation of anger, but if we were to look at a situation where indifference, to whatever degree, exists in a church to its physical locale, then I feel it a fair assessment to say that they lack investment in the relationship to the local people. Now up to this point the analysis is straight-forward, but if the next point, which is that less investment stems from the desire to retain power or results in the retention of power (it can be a vicious cycle), can be applied (and holds true) to the indifference of a church to a locale, then it can be concluded that the particular church is being oppressive to that neighborhood and those who live in it. Again, I’m transposing an analysis of individual relationships (anger, indifference) and placing it on a sociological setting (oppression), I could be wrong on this transposition (Sorry Dr. Welch), but if it were true, wouldn’t that be a scary thought. The church as a possible agent of oppression.


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27 09 2008
donaldkim

Interesting. Considering that the church has had a lot of influence historically speaking on the surrounding community, I’m sure the connection is still there perhaps indirectly.

I can’t help but to think how Korean churches (and probably just about any other church too) are discouraged from buying buildings in the NYC area. City governments and the residents do not like precious land being bought up, only to be crowded by parked cars, with the churches not doing very much for the community. They realize that ethnic churches are insular and do very little for the community.

Of course, your church, Paul, is an exception with Quo Vadi. There is not enough ownership of the communities. For Korean churches, it’s just too easy to be insular.

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