Solid theology

Okay – its a play on words.

What I want to have a quick look is the idea of solidarity.

Solidarity is characterised by identification with another person or group, not necessarily – nay, almost always outside of our immediate affinity groups – translated into practical action.

Jesus, I suggest, was big into solidarity. Just look at who this ‘good Jew’ identified with: Samaritan women, menopausal women, lepers, the physically and mentally disabled, the dreaded Romans, dead people (Lazarus) Pharisees (Nicodemus) and so on. Move into the acts of the apostles and who is the first person baptised into the Christian faith? An Ethiopian Eunuch! This is truly radical. So why are we so picky and choosy about who is in, and who is out?

There is no evidence form the gospels that Jesus did anything other than draw all people to himself. He was able to do so because he stood in perfect solidarity with all; he wanted to erase once and for all every single false distinction. He wanted to expose the lie of distinctions made between people based on false categories of pure and impure. To do so he had to humble himself, as a ‘good Jew,’ even to the point of death upon a cross. 

So it we wish to follow in the pattern of Christ, which is our calling what are the practical implications? Again Brother Roger of Taize provides thoughtful guidance, this is what he wrote in the Rule of Taize:

‘Love the disadvantaged, all those who experience human injustice and are thirsting for justice. Jesus had a particular concern for them. Do not be afraid of letting them disturb you.’

Jesus let people disturb him – the Syro Phoenician women for example – shouldn’t  we do the same?  

So if we are serious about being Church we need to let others disturb us, we need to stand alongside those who make us feel uncomfortable, we need to ‘get over ourselves’ and our preoccupations. We need to see the gay person (or couple), the disabled person, the sick person, the coloured person, the female person and the mentally ill person as equals in Christ. But, we need to go further, for we are required to fight for justice for all.

This is the Church’s real challenge: are we up for it?


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