Introduction from Michael Cassidy
“One of the great contemporary Christian challenges for both individuals and the Church as a whole is to avoid personal and ministry ‘lopsidedness’ by discerning and demonstrating a Balanced Christian Witness. All of us are so prone to polarising extremes or to living and ministering out of theological postures of imbalance. We love our purple passages in the Bible, and ignore others. We ascribe to our own giftings or strong points an exclusive relevance and ignore what others in the Body of Christ have to offer. Thus we may major on the personal and vertical dimensions of the Gospel and ignore the social and horizontal. Or vice versa. Or we are strong on worship and weak on world evangelism. Or we major on maintenance in our own congregations, but ignore injustice or poverty in the wider society.
“This I see as perilous. It was especially perilous in the apartheid era in South Africa where getting our act together for a Balanced Witness proved as difficult as it was necessary. It was this that led me in 1987 and 1988 to write my book The Passing Summer. The book throughout explored these challenges of balance in life and witness, with one chapter in particular summarising this. So, because this challenge still remains ever present and pressing, even now, I decided to reproduce that chapter in booklet form, with some minor editing and adjustments to give it some extra oxygen, life, and usefulness. This booklet could also ideally be used in small home/study/discussion groups, with the leader taking 2 – 3 sections at a time and working through it over a period of 4 or 5 weeks.”