THINKING INTO JESUS’ WORLD

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THINKING INTO JESUS’ WORLD

This morning, three experiences have engaged my mind and stirred by heart and vision.

The first two were articles that came my way via Facebook friends.  They are insightful, provocative, disturbing, and hopeful while also being a bit of a challenge to read. Both articles engage with the convergence of ideas, values and worldviews that is reflected in most of the major news items that we encounter every day. One may disagree with some of the particulars in these articles but there is no doubt we increasingly are living in a world in which everyone is bumping into others who see the world so very differently. Globalization and migration, as well as major shifts in understanding human sexuality, are just some of the many movements that push us towards the question, “What is God doing in our world?”

In international churches/fellowships, we meet at the crossroads of cultural, economic, socio-political, and religious realities. These articles describe the context of our church people. We are not churches that meet in mono-cultural, mono-ethnic communities somewhat isolated from these global movements. These articles point towards the larger questions and anxieties of our people. Personal lifestyle and everyday experiences are being shaped in meaning and practice by how these larger global perspectives are understood.

Our people are asking questions and wondering how to make sense of this convergence of movements in international cities. Faith and discipleship depend on how well our worldview makes sense of the big-picture. Some may opt for the version of Christian faith that dismisses these large questions in the interests of a narrow focus on personal spiritual experience. Such a faith is essentially escapist: living for the day when God takes me elsewhere. Such a faith is morally bankrupt if all it has to offer is escapism from this world of the 21st century.

I suggest we need two strong movements within all international churches if we are to witness salt and light to our cities.

The first is a theological maturity that enables our people to make sense of God’s global purposes as these connect with the global movements of ideas and values, economics and justice, peace and culture. Without such a strong theological depth, our people will have little to offer those searching for answers to the questions of meaning and hope for our world. It is the lack of this comprehensive theological perspective and application that is one factor in why many are drifting away from church involvement. And it is also a factor in why a narrow and hyper-spiritual gospel has so little impact on many caught up in these big issues.

The second is a commitment to being a reconciling presence in God’s world: obviously not compromising essential truths and values but practicing the peace and reconciliation of the cross for all creation.

Both of these needed movements are passions of MICN. And the second will be the focus of our next MICN conference. So by joining us, we will have so much more to inspire us on the question of reconciliation.

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