Thursday, October 11, 2007

A realistic map.

A few months ago i was in Portland and was staying with some newly acquired friends there and In their living room there was a fairly large map of the world.  The first time i noticed i almost just shrugged it off, but then realized this was a very unique map.    
Now, most maps have half of the Pacific Ocean on the left followed by the United States in the center and Europe, Africa and Asia finishing it off on the right.  But this map was different.  It was as if someone took the normal map described above and flipped it around so its was in essence backwards.  This perfectly odd map started with the Atlantic Ocean on the left and proceeded with Asia, Africa and Europe in the middle and the lonely U.S. in the corner.  So, for the first time in my life i saw the world in a whole new light.  We were not the center of the world.  Literally.  Maybe this is the reason that we are such a country of hearers, not doers.  This place reeks of stagnation.  We sit around and think that the rest of the world has their problems and they should have to deal with them on their own.  Little do we know that Christians in the U.S. are still practicing "isolationism" while the rest of the world is engaging in world affairs.  For once we can learn something from the "secular" world. Sometimes they  engage culture better than we do, and we have the answers to the questions they are asking.  

What i am getting at is that we as the blessed should focus our blessing onto a world that is hurting, lonely and dying.  One amazing organization striving to do this is the Jubilee movement.  This organization works toward debt relief and poverty reduction in third world countries in many ways but one big way is they have introduced a resolution (HR 2634) into Congress this summer and are trying to introduce it into the Senate in November the will effectively cancel debt for 63 third world countries that are literally starving to pay their debt to the U.S.  Most of these countries are spending more on debt relief than on clean water, education, infrastructure and health care combined.  We have the chance to make a difference for literally millions of people worldwide, all we have to do is rearrange our maps and take a different look at our world.

get involved.

The Jubilee Movement

Monday, October 1, 2007

The etymolgy of a title.

Christian. A term so dear to some and yet almost repulsive to others. Why is that? I have been noticing myself and others who are in tune with the world around us that we tend to shy away from this title more often then not. I was listening to a radio DJ, one who did not follow Christ Interview Donald Miller and the first thing He asked Don was " Hey, so I hear you are a christian and you and some others ore doing some christian stuff up at Reed college." Don repiled quite frankly but eloquently" I don't really like that term christian, but if you want to talk about Jesus, we can talk about Jesus." He sees that the term christian hasnt had a very good run in the last ohh....thousand or so years. But this term didnt always make people cringe, Jesus freak or otherwise. The first time the the title was given it was in the most positive way.

Acts 11:26
"...The disciples were first called Christians at Antioch."

Now the Bible tells us that when the Church at Jerusalem sent Barnabas to Antioch that "he was evidence of the grace of God" and that when they heard of an empending famine they prepared by sharing all they had so no one would be severly affected. Other parts of Acts say that the disciples were respected and well liked in many areas by all kinds of peoples. The ones that were not in the fold of Jesus' teaching saw those who followed Christ as good, loving and compassionate people. Nowadays you say the word christian and people think of pushy judgemental hypocrites. well, i guess we kinda went the other way with that.

Now lets take a look at this term Christian. In the Greek it is the term Χριστιανός , or Christianos. I dont have spend on lenghthy exegesis because we all know what it means. Follower of Christ. But, it is just a word, rhymes with fishin' and mission. Jesus didnt say we will be known by a word, he said we will be known by something else.

John 13:34-35
"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Jesus did not say we we would be known by how much we tithe or how verbose our prayers are or how many bible studies we attend, he said we will be known by the way we treat the people around us. Boy, everytime I seem to think I get this whole following Jesus thing down, I come back to the gospels and they just devestate me in the most beautiful way possible.

So, We are obviously not worthy for this title, to put Christ in our name, but God has believed in us by calling us ambassadors for His Son. He believes in this age just as much as he believed in his first disciples. We need to start living up to our name and starting acting like Jesus, not just talking about Him. Lets bring ths term Christian from borderline embarrasing to something that invokes hope in a world that so desperately needs it.