Sunday, April 19, 2009

seeing "the world" through new eyes ...

I've always thought I had a pretty balanced view when it came to what I think is meant when the Bible refers to "the world"... until recently ...
My theory on "the world" (see Romans 12:2) has always been that our planet is not being referred to here, but the system of understanding/belief which creation is subject to - the dominion of sin and the devil ... ie. we live on a planet that is the world, but it is not "the world". Just because creation is under the dominion of pride and rebellion and selfishness and warped ideology, does not mean that this planet is a bad place, just the system it is subject to ... that has always been my theory, and it still is my theory.
But I find that my attitude and my practice is often much different ... the easier road for me is to almost unwittingly equate the creation we live in with the system it is subject to ... when I'm consistently confronted with the brokenness that evil brings, it is far easier for me to want to escape from the world (and to perhaps convince others to come with me), than it is to join God in bringing change (and in the process others are swept up into salvation) ... it's much easier for me to focus on the ultimate victory Jesus will bring at the end of this age than it is to notice how He can and is bringing it now. Kingdom is easier understood as a conquering force that's coming tomorrow than it is a subversive yet powerful influence that emerges today.
So, my hypocrisy frustrates me ... but I think it's important to identify ... it's important to see "the world" through new eyes ... why?
... because my behavior should not be reduced to a performance for the age to come, but an expression of the kingdom I belong to now ...
... because when I'm so focused on the badness of "the world", I tend to miss the beauty of the world ...
... because the alleged comfort "the world" brings me will always stand as a blindspot to the discomfort of the world ...
... there are probably a heap of other reasons why it's important for me to see "the world" through new eyes (and to see the world through new eyes) - a more important question might be - "Trav, what are you going to do about this?" ... I'm working on that ... .

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

easter "fan mail" ...

EASTER this year saw me sharing with a bunch of young people and leaders at an easter camp from Baptist Churches in SA. It was "heaps good" to walk through God's story together ... I was amazed at the effort the camp's leadership team put in to not only make it a great experience for the campers, but in their intent of integrating the content I brought with the whole flow of their camp ... these guys were super-committed to seeing God work amongst the generation coming through - and from what I saw over the weekend, He's certainly doing that.
Something that was particularly encouraging for me was in my "fan mail". (everyone got fan mail in a paper bag stuck on a wall over the course of the camp - I wasn't the only one!)
Not only did I get a stack of shout outs from a number of the campers, and encouragement from some leaders who God spoke to over the weekend ... but God used one particular note to speak into my life personally ...
... it simply says: "thankyou for helping me realise things I needed to."
No flattery, no embellished praise, no sordid details - just honest acknowledgement that "things in my life weren't where they should have been, and now I want to see that change"
... I don't know the context from which the note was written, but I do know that a simple statement like this can fuel me in what I do for a very long time.
When all the hype of a camp is over, and the reality of living out grass-roots faith hits us the day after, my hope is that I can be a person who keeps "realising the things I need to."