On my last night in Barbados, I enjoyed a good bit of christian evangelical challenge, served up by the kind folks through the Urbana email listserv. Just so happens that the column was written by Jim Thomas, the faculty advisor of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at UNC. I didn't interact with Jim much while at Carolina, but he seems to be a pretty cool guy.
He penned a great article about culture & community, and issued a challenge that resonates with me strongly:
The world is awaiting the witness of unity between black and white Christians on Sunday morning; the good word spoken by one Christian denomination of other denominations; and the unity that overcomes an ocean of distance between Christians who are dying of AIDS on one continent and others who are healthy on another.
Jim goes on to give a few tangible ways to accomplish this unity:
Cultural differences can be manifest in language, skin color, income, and more – sometimes even denominational differences. God’s kingdom knows none of these divisions. And to reflect his kingdom, we are to reach across those divisions in love. We are to learn from our brothers and sisters in Christ and serve each other. More than that, we are to seek to reconcile with each other. To do this, we need to step out of our comfort zones and seek to love well people who are different from ourselves. That might mean learning another’s language, attending another’s church, or visiting another’s neighborhood. In doing this, we follow in Jesus’s footsteps.
I agree that christian unity - demonstrated, not lip-serviced - is not only a powerful witness, but a place of tremendous blessing! Will you join me in examining our lives and our comfort zones, seeking God and asking if we are too complacent wherever we are today? I welcome your feedback & comments.
PS- En-sha-allah (God-willing), the next blog post will come to you from American soil.