Upside down

Most Sunday mornings find us in a diverse class of wonderful people led by John and Kathy Draper. It’s the SALT Class (Serving And Learning Together) at First Church, a 150-year-old United Methodist congregation in downtown Birmingham, Alabama.

In recent weeks, John has led the class in a study of some themes from Don Kraybill’s book, The Upside-Down Kingdom. Some excerpts from Kraybill about the poor:

Discarded on the human trash pile, they have not, however, been trashed by God. … God’s blessing falls on them. God cares about them. Meanwhile, the rich and haughty … too will have new life in the kingdom if they cast off the shackles of possessions. …

The outcasts–sinners, prostitutes, children, homeless–can enter the kingdom more readily than the elite, the righteous, the strong, and the pious.

The poor …. (have) fewer entanglements, they are freer to abandon all else for the kingdom. They have little to give up.

Jesus offers good news to the poor. Their poverty isn’t a sign of divine disapproval, a common view of the time.

Jesus also made it clear that the rich too were welcome–if they shucked off the shackles of wealth,…

Last Sunday’s lesson included Tevye (Chaim Topol) singing/praying “If I Were a Rich Man,” from Fiddler on the Roof (1971). Click here for a 5 1/2 minute YouTube clip.

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