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Mission on the margins - Mary Beasley

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Mission on the margins
Mary Beasley
Paperback / softback
The Lutterworth Press
UK Publication Date

Run-down inner city areas are not usually seen as places for spiritual renewal and encounters with God; rather they are viewed as places where people are to be found whom the rest of society might wish to avoid. Yet in symbolism and mythology, places of marginal habitation such as the desert, the forest and the jungle contrast with settled human habitations and are places of mystery and encounter with the supernatural. Why not, then, the 'urban jungle'? This book, which arose from the author's work with church-based agencies among homeless alcohol and drug abusers, confronts the whole question of marginality and brings a new understanding to the concept. It examines the affinity between those who are alienated from the mainstream of society, and those who seek to follow Christ's example of solidarity with those whom society has rejected. People who do not relate satisfactorily to the dominant middle-class culture of most churches in the West, says the author, have to be met on their own ground and in ways that are culturally relevant to them. Moving outside the structures of society and offering a critique of the mores of this world is seen as fundamental to the vitality of the church. Involuntary marginality is often the result of flaws in social structures, while the role of the Christian is to live and work for a society in which God's justice prevails. As the ancient desert was the place for stripping away false realities in order to meet God, so the urban jungle can be a place where Christians can rediscover the vitality of the early church. Street people in the wealthy industrialised West, the poor in the Third World, hermits, contemplatives and hippies who have left 'civilisation', all have a contribution to make to the comfortable, middle-class church. The author brings together these aspects of voluntary and involuntary marginalisation to present a challenging view of their role in Christians' self-awareness and social concern. It becomes clear that, in reaching out to the disadvantaged, Christians may themselves be evangelised by them. Includes a Foreword by Kenneth Leech.

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Keyword Index
Marginality, Social - Religious aspects - Christianity.|Church work with the homeless.|Church work with alcoholics.|Church work with narcotic addicts.|Church and social problems.|Inner cities.
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