Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Following Jesus to All People

This past Sunday we followed Jesus into the issue of racism. Whether you admit it or not, you have a response to the presidential candidates based on how you were raised to respond to another person's race or color. Some people call it your "culture," others call it "prejudice." Whatever name you give it, it is the sum total of our values and meanings that guide our behavior and emotions toward others.


I started by interviewing a friend and member of Legacy, Stephen, about his perspective on the election through the lens of an African American male whose great grandparents were slaves. You can hear him here. He shared honestly and provided a perspective I would never have from my experiences.

Jesus busted through every religious, class, gender and racial barrier of his culture when he sat down at Jacob's Well and asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. Read John's account and note each boundary Jesus crossed by his intentional actions to help this woman trust him. Also, don't miss the placement of this story immediately after Jesus helped a male, well-born, wealthy, ruling religious leader trust him. Jesus went to all people on his rescue mission.

Paul understood that the "mystery of Christ," why Jesus came as the Christ, to be "that through the gospel the [ethnics] are heirs together with Israel." (Ephesians 3:4-11) The purpose of the church was to make known to all people this "manifold wisdom of God." Even the powers in the spiritual realm would take notice when that happened. (v. 10) We are to demonstrate the unity in diversity that only a changed heart can experience. Otherwise, all I can do is be "aware of" and "tolerate" our differences. The church has the unique responsibility to show the world what true unity looks like.

So, what does all this mean for us today? I like the concept of "Gracism" by David A. Anderson. Check out his explanation of this way of life here. Check out his application of the "seven sayings of a gracist" based on 1 Corinthians 12 at the end of the video. Try practicing some of his suggestions in the near future.

Another resource I recommend is Patty Lane's book, A Beginner's Guide to Crossing Cultures: making friends in a multi-cultural world.

Leadership Journal has put together a great resource. Take The Church and Politics Quiz and then follow directions to the resources that support how you participate in the political process.

Following Jesus is not a trip on a cruise ship. But, it will take you to places you would never dream of on your own. Following with you...

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