As I opened the door leading into Guiding Light Mission, I felt a strong gust of air. I believe that was the breath of the Holy Spirit, filling my heart with love and compassion. In just a blink of an eye, the Holy Spirit changed my life.
Before walking into Guiding Light, I did not know it existed. Further, I had only vague notions about the Heartside Neighborhood, yet God would use those two locations, where suffering abounds, to change my life. In these locations, I found my purpose, my vocation, and my worldview. In short, I discovered who I was in Christ. The Holy Spirit gave me the ability to show love and compassion for those suffering. He showed me how to develop deep and lasting ...view middle of the document...
I would later learn that Martin Luther described my worldview as “the theology of glory.” However, the Holy Spirit breathed new life in me, and my worldview dramatically changed in the blink of an eye.
The aim of this paper is to contrast my former worldview to my current worldview. The outline for this paper is first to describe what suffering is like in Heartside and Guiding Light. Next, I will contrast my newly discovered worldview with my old worldview. Last, I will share the challenge to my worldview because of my awareness of suffering among the marginalized in Heartside and in Guiding Light.
I saw more suffering in Guiding Light and Heartside than I had over my entire life. For example, I saw two men passed out from drinking too much wine that is what I guessed when I saw one of them still clutching a wine bottle. It was only mid-afternoon and they were unconscious lying in the entry of an abandoned building. I also saw people milling about and smoking during normal working hours. However, instead of working, they were gossiping, commiserating about lack of work, or making drug deals. In Guiding Light, I saw young men whose lives were a mess due to addiction. I saw older men who had struggled with addiction all their lives. I realized addiction is a battle lasting a lifetime; some win the war, most lose the war.
A New Worldview
As stated earlier, my worldview was “the theology of glory.” Those who hold to the theology of glory expect a powerful God. Further, they expect God’s blessing and success in the world if they can follow God’s law without failure. This was true of the Pharisees in Jesus day and true among the leaders of the medieval church. But it is also true today in the form of the health wealth gospel.
While I never completely believed in the theology of glory, I did think that God would bless me if I did his will. It was almost a superstition for me. Anytime I was working hard to succeed in some area of my life, I would do my very best not to sin. However, if my life was running smoothly I didn’t worry so much about sinning. But the theology that God would bless me if I followed his commands, often contradicted itself. For example, if I got sick, experience suffering or failure, I would immediately begin thinking about how I had failed God. Then again, there would be times when I would fail to uphold God’s commands and experience success. That left me confused to say the least.
There are several problems with the health and wealth or theology of glory worldviews. One, it justifies the wealthy, power, and advantages of the privileged center, allowing them to ignore the fringes of society. After all, they would say that if the marginalized obeyed God, they would be successful. This creates a distorted image of the marginalized and is a form of prejudging those less fortunate. The other problem is that it is a lonely worldview. It is all about the individual with little concern for neighbors. It is also a lonely...