Generous Orthodoxy  




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

How to be a true helper

David Brooks, the ever-reliable columnist who seems to have a strong leaning toward Christianity even though he is Jewish (or perhaps because he is Jewish...?), refers today to a Sojourners magazine blog post. If you don't take the time to read the Sojourners post, do read Brooks' summary and commendation, called "The Art of Presence," here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/21/opinion/brooks-the-art-of-presence.html?ref=opinion

There have been many articles with similar advice, but this one is particularly notable for having been written by a young woman who, having lost her sister in a horseback-riding accident, was hit by a car and suffered the severe mutilation of her face. From a devout Christian family, she is able to sort out the difference between helpful and unhelpful ministry, understanding the deep theological reasons that we should never offer glib reassurances like "everything happens for a reason" (and Brooks understands this himself so well that he is able to encapsulate it in just one paragraph).

All of us would profit by reading this column, even those of us who have spent a whole lifetime in ministry to the afflicted. It is so easy to think that we know it all. This is a salutary reminder that we do not, and that fact in itself can be an offering.