In a nice little play on the old Paul Simon song, ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’, Shane Claiborne and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove have released a book on 50 ways to love your neighbour.
Some of their ideas are listed below. You may be doing some of them already. I think they’re brilliant, and many of them are so simple.
- Mow your neighbor’s grass.
- Ask the next person who asks you to spare some change to join you for dinner.
- Leave a random tip for someone who’s cleaning the streets or a public restroom.
- Write only paper letters (by hand) for a month. Try writing someone who needs encouragement or who you should say “I’m sorry” to.
- Go down a line of parked cars and pay for the meters that are expired. Leave a little note of niceness.
- Write to one social justice organizer or leader each month just to encourage them.
- Go through a local op-shop and drop $1 coins in random pockets of the clothing being sold.
- Become a pen-pal with someone in prison.
- Buy only used clothes for a year.
- Cover up all brand names, or at least the ones that do not reflect the upside-down economics of God’s Kingdom. Commit to only being branded by the cross.
- Confess something you have done wrong to someone and ask them to pray for you.
In a world of ungrace, selfishness and random acts of violence, some of the above will further the advance of the kingdom of God. As someone else has said, some of these could be called random acts of kindness.