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.
7 thoughts on “Five Minute Friday: Loud”
The funny thing about Christians and nations is that they always think their nation is great. American Christians think America is great. They forget that the only nation that God, really really cared about was Israel. Probably next on his list was Egypt because the Israelites sojourned there. The Bible (Zechariah 14) says that in the Messianic age all of the nations who stood against Israel will be required to send a representative to Jerusalem on every Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles), and which ever nation does not, will get no rain that year. In Egypt’s case the Nile will not overflow (that’s how it waters its crops). Why this fixation on Presidents and nations when our focus should be on God?
That’s a great ending question.
I honestly enjoy politics. I find the process fascinating, and the history/biographies of the personalities involved is endlessly absorbing. But my interest definitely became unhealthy in the months leading up to the 2016 election. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, but you’re absolutely right that our focus needs to be on God. I think it’s only possible for us to speak truth to power and to witness to the grace of God when we remember that nations rise and fall, and presidents come and go.
So well said. Thank you. May each of us learn to step outside our Christian bubbles and engage with people from all walks of life.
Nations rise and nations fall,
some wonderful, some flawed,
but I think that all in all
it’s best to look to God.
He set the earth to spinning madly,
and made the human race.
And He invented gravity
so we don’t fly off into space.
He made us of so many hues,
a rainbow of wide range;
for different colours, different foods,
and some of them quite strange.
For all He gave, return the favour
and learn to love weird foreign neighbour.
I totally understand this post and went to seminary! It’s a place where so many things can be challenged and questioned. In one of my classes, we had to write out “how does the gospel intersect with my life today?” It not only brings the reality of our world around us front and center but it expands our horizons, too!
~Your FMF Neighbor #33
Hi from one of those other countries!
Loved your perspective and encouragement to look outwards however we can.
And if you can travel, do. But come visit with us, not just ‘do’ a country or see all the obvious tourist attractions.
Your FMF Neighbour #34
I’m right there with you friend. We can learn so much from those that are different than us.