An article by Rev. Rudi Augusto Kruger
in response to Rose City's Apostolic Business event on 7.10.16
Published in the BRAZILIAN newspaper “Diário de Caratinga,”
in the weekly column: "Theology active in today's Society"
On one of my travels I met the most amazing people of the earth.
I would like to share with you some aspects of the lives of those ‘flesh-and-bones’ people, wondering how Caratinga would be if this same spirit would 'be populating' our beloved city, where we find so many hopeless folks. I refer mainly to our young people, who, secretly or not, think about leaving us as soon as possible, because they don’t see any option to develop a profession, a career, a business or a mission that requires support from others, especially from people who have some money left over.
The meeting took place in a small church building, rather a little old - the benches of which had been taken out, and replaced by tables and chairs, round tables, with quite common chairs around them.
My friend and I had wrong directions and arrived fifteen minutes late. As we entered, about 50 people were standing, singing the prayer "Our Father." 90% were young people between 20 and 40 years old.
We actually came with no expectations, since we hadn’t understood the nature of the meeting. We were told it would be a meeting of business people - an opportunity to meet and connect people who were trying to develop some kind of activity that would give them sustenance.
The leader of the meeting, a rather young minister, began very much at ease, without making any promises.
He was, however, straightforward and candid as he explained that we live in a time in which the church is no longer in the spotlight of society, and that those desiring to know their vocation as Christians needed to understand foremost and above all the need to change the strategy as well: the local church is now in the outskirts of our towns and cities.
This means, he continued, that the Christian himself should be at the center, assuming that he or she were sure they have something to offer to society, especially to those who were in search of guidelines for their lives, but also to those who had been kind of ‘knocked down' by circumstances of their personal or family lives, or who could not find any meaning in continuing to search, or even to live!
Soon after this brief presentation, each participant helped himself to a snack, and returned to their seats and tables. Right after half a dozen people came to the podium and shared what he or she were doing in their lives.
My companion and I left that meeting enraptured.
The reports given were simple, dressed up with real life words, filled with information without big adjectives, but the overall impact was tremendous.
When we finally left, after two hours of manifold interactions, we were very happy, and assured of having gone to a place where the program had not been done by big stars, and that something very deep and real had been passed on.
It was a night of good news!
A young lady in her 30-40 years rose along with her husband and said: - I am a physiotherapist, and fought hard to get where I am. Now, I decided to work only part-time because I want to be able to have time when someone from our community comes in need of an ear! Her husband, involved in financial planning, told how he has been able to bring hope and joy to many who came to him under a cloud of despair. - With little comments, and some tips, he said, I could bring life back to those people.
An executive spoke about his enterprise, a coffee business, aimed at providing decent work for homeless people, so that they can return to a social life and to build their own families. Another, a senior official of a multinational expressed the desire to help with his knowledge and skills (he is a lawyer) people in need of some legal help. Several others expressed that they were ready to be with him in that endeavor. He was very excited.
The subject matter of how to help a person who is experiencing difficulties, who is unemployed, or who suffered some sort of "tsunami" in his or her life had become the main keynote of the night: from different sides of the group we could hear people asking: - How can we help those who aren’t able to get up by themselves? And immediately someone would tell how he or she was being that person who, without big speeches or powerful organizations, had lifted people out of poverty, from being alone and without anyone. Yes, a Christianity without religion!
The feeling we had at the exit, and who accompanied us for the rest of the week was: - Yes, it is possible to have good news, even in the midst of a chaotic world!
My expression was: - You guys are making a new theology, but - as it says in the Bible I study – it is this theology that our Master and Lord Jesus has always lived and taught!
- Rev. Rudi Augusto Kruger - firstname.lastname@example.org
Director and Professor of Theology at FACTUAL (Faculdade de Teologia de Caratinga Rev. Uriel de Almeida Leitão).
*Note: This article was originally published in spanish and has been translated.