While I wouldn’t classify Richard Beck as a “missional theologian” I’ve been reading his stuff for a few years and find that a lot of what he writes informs the way I act in the world and also reaffirms a lot of the missional thought I’ve taken in. Yesterday he quoted the following from Thomas Merton and I find that they are words to live by as we try to live missionally in the world:
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy if anything can.
–Thomas Merton, in a letter to Dorothy Day
There you have it.
The rub with this, as you can tell, is the pressure to inquire whether or not the recipients of our love are “worthy.” I find this carries over into our charity as well… giving to those we think have “earned” our gift.