I’m taking some time today at a local book store/coffee shop to try and do some writing…and some of that may find its way on to the blog. Lots of stuff kicking around in my head, and we’ll see what makes it out in to cyberspace.
Last Sunday, we continued our series on being Jesus people by focusing on God’s call to embrace those who truly are “other”, who truly are different from us. God’s infinite creativity has resulted in people who are extremely diverse. Part of how we have marred the world is to make our differences points of great division, and it is one of the primary global struggles in this century. Here’s what I shared.
Once upon a time I said I was going to start the habit of asking y’all for your input before I shared on Sundays. Sigh. Well, I’d like to get back on the wagon and ask for help for Nov. 12, a week from this coming Sunday.
A core belief among Friends is that God is involved and active in the life of every person on the planet. God’s Spirit does not only impact the lives of those who follow Jesus, but is speaking and wooing and impacting everyone, even those antagonistic to Jesus. Quakers have called it “the light within” or “the seed” or “that of God in each person,” and it means that we don’t assume that God is absent until we come along to tell people about God; rather, when we build relationships with others, we start from a much more positive framework. We trust and believe God is at work, and part of our responsibility is to name the Spirit’s activity in others’ lives. We simply join what God is already doing rather than rush in and change lives with our eloquence.
My past experiences and observations in Evangelical churches have demonstrated that many have a different framework. The divide between “Christian stuff” and “the World” is sometimes much more strongly stressed. In particular, there is an animosity toward “the media” and “godless Hollywood”, an absolute certainty that nothing good can be occurring in culture. God has forsaken it, and we must forsake it as well.
Over the last several years, others have helped me pay attention to the amazing ways that God’s Spirit is crying out through the arts and media in our culture. This offers hope in many ways; hope that God is not silent, hope that God is at work raising questions and longings through culture, hope that movies and music and novels and plays and all kinds of things can be avenues for really fruitful discussions about our own experiences with Jesus Christ.
So on the 12th, I’ll ask us to look at Acts 8 and Acts 17. In Acts 8, Philip uses an opportunity with someone of a different religion to affirm that God is speaking to this person, and to share what he has experienced in Jesus. In Acts 17, Paul carefully observes Athenian culture and religion to find a way to name how a longing they have already expressed has been met in his life by Jesus. I want to challenge us to follow Paul’s and Philip’s example to name God’s activity in our culture, rather than be afraid of it…to find creative and authentic ways to share what we’ve experienced with God by connecting it to how God is already at work in others’ lives and in culture. I’d like to use some examples of songs, videos, movie clips, novels, whatever; examples from pop culture which show God’s voice speaking and calling out through the questions and experiences of others.
I invite and welcome your thoughts and/or suggestions for clips or songs to use in the comments…