Giving the poor a voice can be a powerful way to witness for justice. When the church speaks in its own voice, its impact is usually pretty small. When we really get it that the Gospel is about loving hurting people, and hope for the dirty, well, our voices get raspy when we talk.
It's ok to feel passion about inviting people to come and hear the Good News. It's really something when the church is passionate about getting out there and mixing it up, living the Good News so vividly that blind people can read it, and deaf people can hear it, and prisoners can touch it. What gives the church such a sharp sense of reality that no one can doubt its authenticity?
People can SMELL it and know the fragrance of the Kingdom, on the street as well as in the pew. We need to be in the places where we can listen to those in pain, and where we can tell whether our love is making a lasting positive difference in their lives. And even harder, we need to listen to the prophets who scream at us, and who make us squirm. I can hardly bear to hear the words, "I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies." If a young angry cynic screamed this at me, I'd squirm a little. When God thunders it, I just want to hide. You mean he's really expecting his people to swim in a river of justice and righteousness? Angry prophets are easy to ignore. I can hide from the pain of their accusations. Have a listen to an angry prophet. It's not "Happy New Year" tunes. What do we say, fellow deacons?