Back to seminary this week. An entire semester focused on the mission of the Church. I’m so here for that. I’ve learned that I have no appreciation for a theology that doesn’t lead to engaging in the here and now. Books are wonderful. Thinking deeply is lovely. But at the end of the day, I want to go and do, to participate in the movement of God in the community, to put action to the thoughts. I want my theology to mean something, to have a positive impact on those all around me whom God loves so deeply.
Kate says: loud.
Did you know that there are countries in this world? Countries other than the United States of America?
I tease a little, of course, but it’s a serious question. How easily we become engrossed in the 24-hour news cycle. How quickly we become consumed by politics. How fast our minds spin with the chaos of our society.
And we should be engaged. Like I said, the here and now and the theology must come together. My neighborhood needs me to live out the Gospel, as your neighborhood needs you to. Not because we can save anyone, but because that’s our job. Whatever else we do or have in our lives – family, work, vacations, pets, homes – our primary focus, if we claim the title “Christian,” is to be about the proclamation of the Gospel in word and deed. The joy and peace and love of God is to permeate and transform us until we can’t help but share the Good News. (Again, not only in word, but in deed).
But the loudness of our neighborhoods, figurative and literal, can cause us to forget that there’s a whole wide world out there. We become narrow in our focus, our hearts shaking in fear and rage, our minds roiling. And in that, we assume that we, the United States and those of us native to it, are the center of the universe.
We are not.
I want to explore the world. Obviously on a grand scale that looks like traveling, which I dream of, but in the immediate that looks like learning. Reading books that give voice to experiences and cultures far different from my own. Trying new foods. Finding micro expressions of other societies hidden within my everyday context. To reach out to people who do not look or speak or dress like me. I want to grow in my appreciation for the differences, because differences are genuinely beautiful.
There’s nothing wrong in appreciating where you come from. Nothing wrong in taking pride in your own culture. Let’s just remember that God is the center of the universe, not us, and God made and inspired all this fantastic variety. Let’s enjoy it, and each other.