Came across this post from Larry Gross on d2k on loving the people and place where you live... for me this is key to real incarnational faith... God loved the world so much that he sent his son - God incarnate... we love as God loved us - incarnationally and sacrificially... surely this is the message of the Gospel, echoed in the mission of the church (1 Thessalonians 2 etc.) - sorry if this doesn't fit with the whole dualism/total depravity thing, but it seems to me clear that God LOVES the world (not the same as LIKES all of what the world has become on our watch) and we are called to do the same... anyway loved this post - Thanks Larry (excerpt below)...
If you can’t love the people God placed you in contact with… you’re a poser in desperate need of a serious kick in the head by the Boots of the Gospel of Peace. Do you think we live where we live by some freak accident? Do you think you’ve been placed near that guy who really pisses you off because God is mad at you? Do you think your nemesis exists purely for the Devil’s enjoyment? Nope.
I live where I live because God has called me to love the people I’m near. Nobody I live near is an accident. The people in my neighborhood who tick me off are here to remind me that I must rely on the Spirit to love this person and respond winsomely to their barbed attacks. My multiple nemesises exist to remind me that I must find my worth in God and God alone.
To stop being a poser, I’ve realized that I must fully live my theology. I’ve realized that working out my salvation with fear and trembling equates to getting my butt out there in the world and actually working out what I believe in the LIVING of life