Profession of Practice

INTRODUCTION

This is a profession of practice to put words into action and embody solidarity with the poor. We are inspired and chastened by the word of God; the Bible is the basis of the standards in this profession of practice.

We offer this profession, not as a set of legalistic requirements, but rather as a helpful tool to enable accountability and form community. The only way sinners can be made pure is by being washed clean in the blood of Christ through faith, not by adhering to any listed set of commitments.

LITURGIES OF SOLIDARITY

James K. A. Smith writes in You Are What You Love that liturgies are “habit-forming, love-shaping rituals that get hold of our hearts and aim our loves” (p. 38). Liturgies are things that we do that “do something to us” (p. 46). Solidarity is a word of unity, a word that says, “I am with you.” Solidarity entails learning from, standing with and sacrificing for the poor.

Liturgies of solidarity have daily, weekly, monthly and yearly rhythms. They are practices that help us see the image of God, marred by suffering, in the lives of the poor. And they don’t just help us see that image—they help us respond to that image with love. We get an idea of what this looks like in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus preaches on five spiritual disciplines related to the poor: giving (Matthew 6:1-4), prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), fasting (Matthew 6:16-18), gratitude (Matthew 6:19-24) and faith (Matthew 6:25-34).

GIVING

Matthew 6:3-4 - Jesus expects his followers to be giving financially. As Christians, we start our giving with a tithe: ten percent right away after each paycheck. This is an act of faith and the start of Christian giving. If there are leftover funds at the end of the month or year, we can expand our giving. We count it as a joy to do so, knowing that God is using our generosity to build his kingdom.

Commitment

We commit to giving away a minimum of ten percent of our gross incomes immediately after each paycheck as an act of faith and worship.

Aspiration

We aspire to increase our standard of giving, not just our standard of living, as the Lord blesses us with financial resources.

Solidarity

This is an act of solidarity with those in poverty who, because of your generosity, are empowered to overcome poverty and flourish through transformational development.

PRAYER

Matthew 6:11 - Have you ever noticed that the Lord’s Prayer includes language that expresses solidarity with the poor? Give us this day our daily bread. Asking for our daily bread reminds us that all we have is a gift from the Lord. Moreover, when we pray this, we are standing with the poor, asking God to provide for our daily needs as well as theirs. Praying for the poor is a form of advocacy to the Highest Power in the universe. It shapes our hearts and makes us the kind of people who take up the cause of the vulnerable.

Commitment

We commit to praying the Lord’s Prayer daily, taking a moment to ask God to provide daily bread for us and for the poor.

Aspiration

We aspire to cultivate an awareness of every breath, every meal and every good thing in our lives as undeserved gifts from the Lord.

Solidarity

This is an act of solidarity with those in poverty who may have to trust God for their next meal.

FASTING

Matthew 6:17-18 - Jesus does not say, “If you fast,” but rather, “When you fast” (emphasis added). There are many good reasons to fast. One of them is to remind ourselves that some go without food due to poverty. Indeed, fasting can be an embodied form of lament that deepens our concern for others. As we fast, we consider the injustice of poverty and cry out to God to bring restoration. The practice also serves as a reminder that true nourishment comes from communion with God.

Commitment

We commit to fast from food for at least one 24-hour period each quarter as an act of solidarity with the poor.

Aspiration

We aspire to occasionally fast for longer periods or special occasions and to do so in secret when possible.

Solidarity

This is an act of solidarity with those in poverty who feel the pangs of hunger and want due to a lack of material resources.

GRATITUDE

Matthew 6:19-20 - In no uncertain terms, Jesus condemns hoarding wealth. We lay up treasures in heaven when we express gratitude for what we have instead of chasing more and more. Gratitude creates a sense of enough. It’s not just an attitude—it’s something we do. Gratitude gives us an abundance mindset instead of a scarcity mindset, enabling us to be “cheerful givers”.

Commitment

We commit to ending each day by thanking God for three specific gifts from that day, either in verbal prayer or a journal set aside for gratitude.

Aspiration

We aspire to not store up more and more wealth for ourselves and our families when there are poor families around the world with urgent needs.

Solidarity

This is an act of solidarity with the poor who find contentment by thanking God for the simple things, like sharing meals with friends and family.

TRUST

Matthew 6:25 - We often try to justify our lavish expenditures by calling them “prudent” or “wise,” but these labels are really just a cover for our anxiety about the future. Yet, Jesus says to not be anxious. Oftentimes, the people with the greatest faith are those with the fewest possessions. By choosing faith over fear and increasing our standard of giving, we express solidarity with the poor.

Commitment

We commit to a weekly liturgy of listing three things that we are most anxious about to the Lord, casting our burdens on him, and then reading Philippians 4:5-7.

Aspiration

We aspire to live by faith and not by fear, with peace and not with anxiety, in our thoughts, words and actions.

Solidarity

This is an act of solidarity with those in poverty who, lacking the luxury of a financial safety net, must rely on God for their day-to-day needs.

JOIN A COMMUNITY OF LOVE

Commitments

We commit to giving away a minimum of ten percent of our gross incomes immediately after each paycheck as an act of faith and worship.

We commit to praying the Lord’s Prayer daily, taking a moment to ask God to provide daily bread for us and for the poor.

We commit to fast from food for at least one 24-hour period each quarter as an act of solidarity with the poor.

We commit to ending each day by thanking God for three specific gifts from that day, in prayer or in a gratitude journal.

We commit to a weekly liturgy of listing three things that we are most anxious about to the Lord, casting our burdens on Him and then reading Philippians 4:5-7.

Aspirations

We aspire to increase our standard of giving, not just our standard of living, as the Lord blesses us with financial resources.

We aspire to cultivate an awareness of every breath, every meal and every good thing in our lives as undeserved gifts from the Lord.

We aspire to occasionally fast for longer periods or special occasions and to do so in secret when possible.

We aspire to not store up more and more wealth for ourselves and our families when there are poor families around the world with urgent needs.

We aspire to live by faith and not by fear, with peace and not with anxiety, in our thoughts, words and actions.

Isaiah 58:10–11 - "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then... the LORD will guide you continually...and you shall be like a watered garden"

We are currently working on updating our system, so the form below is inactive. For a helpful resource to prototype our Profession of Practice in your life for 40 days, check out the Solidarity Challenge on our online store at shop.simplecharity.org.

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