This week we are reading Chapter 7 “Learning from Local Heroes” of Tim Sorens’s book, Everywhere You Look: Discovering the Church Right Where You Are.
Sorens ended the last chapter with three practices that a Core Team should implement. These practices are moving from isolation to awareness, polarization to curiosity, fragmentation to integration. In other words, we must be aware of what others are doing in the neighborhood, lean in with sacred curiosity, and be willing to work together with those whom the Spirit has already called. The Spirit is active everywhere you look if we simply open our eyes. Soren wants us to understand that everywhere means not just with other Christians.
One of the recurring words in this chapter is “fear.” Fear sells. Fear gets ratings. Fear gets votes. Fear, and specifically fear of the other, causes us to retreat into what we know and behind walls that we build. Fear causes us to disengage. Soren gives us an example of how fear drives our isolation in his discussion of Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option. p.101. In his book, Dreher argues that our present culture is corrosive to the church, and therefore, for its own preservation, the church should withdraw from all social and cultural institutions and create a parallel society. Soren says that this is what a fear-driven faith looks like.
“Fear not!” is one of the more common phrases throughout Scripture. Fear is the opposite of trust. As Soren writes, we don’t need to fear our contemporary culture and retreat inside of the walls of the church, rather we need to trust that God is active throughout our world, even when that activity may not be under a “Christian” banner. As Paul tells us “all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Col. 1:17-18. All simply does not mean only all Christians.
Soren writes about Tim Keller’s concept of Common Grace as a way that we should view the world. p.102. In his article, Keller writes “The doctrine of common grace helps us to acknowledge God’s goodness in all of creation and enables us to pursue mission with love in a fallen world.” We need to acknowledge that “the gifts God has put in the world for believers he has also showered upon non-believers.” We also need to “appreciate truth and wisdom wherever we find it.” For Keller, “Common grace is therefore a thread that binds us together in our common humanity.”
As we open our eyes and engage in sacred curiosity, we should not limit ourselves to those who look like us, vote like us, or even believe like us.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is arepas. Discussion about 6:45. Compline at 8. Hope to see you here.
John answered, “Master, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him; for he that is not against you is for you.”Luke 9:49-50