I don’t think Jesus came to connect God to Man only to turn around and disconnect his followers from culture. As the nails pierced his flesh, so the cross pierced the earth. He made a permanent connection between God in heaven and all of humanity on earth. I am continually astonished when I imagine the cross, planted in our world, yet rising towards heaven.
How then, do we forget that Jesus came for us all? I don’t think any of us actually feel this way, but sometimes our words and actions create an Us and Them scenario. We draw a line in the sand: on our side we have Us & God, on their side we have Them & the World.
They do things on their side that we would never think of doing. In fact, we won’t even look out there to see what horrible things they’re doing now. The only time we venture out across the line is to try to drag a couple of them over to our side. But, while we’re over there, we are sure to be covered in prayer before we head out, and when we return we’ll be sure to report back on how awful it was out there, but hopefully we planted some seeds…God will water them, the Holy Spirit will speak to them…
Obviously, I write the preceding paragraph tongue-in-cheek, as so many of the ideals I mentioned here are good and true. It is the disconnected approach that I am addressing. That, and the religious mindset that causes us to draw a separating line between Us and Them. When we do that we become the Pharisee’s of our day, we elevate ourselves above them, those who are in the world.
We can’t forget that we were once them! Jesus came, intermingled with culture, and then drew a permanent line; not separating himself from the culture of this world, but creating a link between it and God.
It is we who create a segregated sub-culture. Of course we want them to come to our side. But with our actions, and sometimes our words we tell them that they’ll have to clean themselves up first! As though the sand on their feet might contaminate the sand on our side of the line.
We need to go out there to their side and let them come over here to our side, unthreatened, learning about them and let them learn about us. We’ve got to be real and honest. Quite often, sharing our faith once a relationship exists is so much more effective than our current evangelism efforts, our “get in, give the word, get out” mentality. Intermingle like Jesus did.
Sometimes we have to take a step back from our short-sighted view and notice that where we draw a line in the sand to separate, He draws a line to connect.
PS: Some of this article assumes that we actually get out of our comfort zones and evangelize, or at least have a conversation with someone, anyone, outside of our circle…This weekend, I took Brandee and our girls out to Kits Beach in Vancouver to take the pictures for this article, and while I had several great opportunities to intermingle with people, I didn’t take them. Just so you know, I write these words for you and me.