The Inside Edge
Originally Posted September 5, 2014
Richard Rohr wrote in his book, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, “Francis and Clare were not so much prophets by what they said as in the radical, system-critiquing way that they lived their lives. They found both their inner and outer freedom by structurally living onthe edge of the inside of both church and society.”
The inside edge of society and church, I like that.
The inside edge implies that it does not take up too much room; it is not a part of the mainstream status quo. It can be a tight or uncomfortable place against the wall as one gets pushed by the cultural pressures in both church and society to conform. Or it can be quite spacious and allow for innovation and creativity without the impediment of “Shoulds” and “Tradition”. The beauty of being on the inside edge versus the outside, is there is still some semblance of acceptance, albeit tenuous. It is easier to effect transformational change from within a structure than outside. A voice on the inside edge has more credibility and greater trust because there is relationship and personal investment.
Living on the inside edge as Clare and Francis did, has people take notice, be curious and drawn to or conversely flee to the middle of the space where it is “safe”
I believe Metro Community structurally lives on the edge of both church and society. Social agencies are puzzled by us, churches are somewhat suspicious of us and politicians watch us. This combination tells me we are on the right track. Focusing on the poverty of relationship as the primary, it is counter cultural and edgy because it is riskier, messier and far more time consuming, yet producing “results.” The downtown businesses know when we are open or not, based on the street level activity outside their doors. Churches are willing to invest a little money into our ministry as it appeases their need to do their own help-the-poor ministry.
I say, let’s keep being who we are and doing what God has called us to do. The result will be that enough people will gather and soon it will no longer be the inside edge. It will be the new norm. It is our step towards “thy kingdom come on this earth.”