The Common Good
The privatisation and individualisation of our faith is a major concern that integral mission seeks to address.
If I keep my faith private it becomes irrelevant to life in society.
If I only focus on individual salvation and do not recognise the Gospel message that calls for liberation, redemption and reconciliation of all things under Christ (Eph 1:10), then my faith becomes self-centred.
Integral mission calls us to see God’s Mission for all of creation. It orientates us around what we all have in common:
• We are all made in the image of God, giving each person a shared dignity, invaluable worth and significance (Gen 1:26)
• We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, therefore we are all in need of salvation liberation, reconciliation and restoration (Rom 3:20)
• The Gospel does not just focus on people, but on all of creation.
What does this look like in practice? For example, we could look at the issue of justice and mercy. We can all agree that these are central to God’s character and mission. Seeking justice for myself and for my family is important. Perhaps I would be willing to die for it? But further afield? Seeking justice and mercy for my community or those who are far away, or even for those who would seek to harm me; would I be willing to persevere and persist in the pursuit of justice and mercy for them?
When John the Baptist was asked by those coming to be baptised what they should do, his answer was simple – those who have two tunics should share with those who have none. The one who has food should do the same for the one who has none. (Luke 3:10-14)
The common good may not be the ultimate good, but is an important aim for our society’s wellbeing. It recognises our interdependence and interconnectedness to one another.
At school I was part of a choir. Within the choir there were some outstanding individual voices, many with okay voices and a few who struggled. When we sung in harmony together we sounded amazing and even won a few competitions. Occasionally one of the singers would promote themselves a bit too much and the impact would be disastrous for the choir, even if their voice was good.
We had to ask ourselves what was the goal of the choir?
If it was to win competitions, we had to work together drawing on the collective gifts of all and working hard to ensure the sound was of a high quality. If the goal was to enjoy ourselves and sing for pleasure, we may still have had to work together, and perhaps the quality would not be as good, but the fellowship would be great.
If individuals in the choir simply opted to promote themselves, seeking the attention and the glorification (and even possibly an individual recording contract), the choir would soon disintegrate.
Society and media have tended to convince us that life is all about individual achievement and promotion, seeking that individual celebrity “you’re worth it” status.
The Theology of the Common Good does not overlook the individual development and potential, but rather seeks to harness this towards a shared goal, communities living life in all its fullness free from poverty, injustice and conflict. The power and the truth of the Gospel is that in Jesus this is possible. We are called to live in this truth, live out this truth, and call all to respond to it.
In our ministry activities and our aid programmes, do we have this shared goal? Are we singing together, both for the pleasure it brings and for the achievement of the goal we share?
Micah seeks to create the spaces and platforms to act together for the common good and for the ultimate good.
Together for Him,