The Gutter

January 21, 2008

books / ministry

Craig Gross of writes The Gutter. I’ve followed his ministry for some time, and admire the places he goes and the things that are accomplished through him.

This book is a great introduction to ministry outside of the methods that are typically considered to be normal. It strikes me as though it is written to Christians who are in a comfort zone of some kind. Maybe they are Christian college students, or part of traditional churches, or whatever.

The book is designed to show some things outside of that comfort zone. There are some amazing stories and brilliant thoughts, regardless of what comfort zone a person might fit into. Everyone has a comfort zone.

There are several things that really gripped me.

Imagine what must have been going on in her mind [here, he is referring to the woman in John 8 who is brought to Jesus after being caught in adultery]. Maybe that’s a difficult request, but I’m not asking you to imagine yourself as a scantily clad adulterer. I’m asking that you think about being a person who has missed the mark, maybe for the hundredth time. Someone who has a perpetual problem with that thing that always trips them up. Not necessarily committing adultery or even having sex, but something else. Something like (this is where you fill in the blank with whatever secret sin you may or may not have, the one you never talk about. You know, that thing.)

I don’t think this necessarily expresses the depth of the situation where the woman found herself (or where many people find themselves after encounters with Christians today), nor that it is supposed to, but I think this is a brilliant way for us to engage with these kind of thoughts. To teach us to think about ourselves along those lines.

I believe that if we are ever to become people of reconciliation, we have to learn how to see ourselves differently. Much of the issue with the way Christians see the rest of the world, which I want to talk about with unChristian in the near future, is derived from how we see ourselves. So many of us see so much of the world as scum because we see ourselves as so amazing. As being better than the gutter, and better than the people in it. None of these, if one really sits down to think about it, are true at all.