I don’t remember how many times in my life I have reached the conclusion that the more it seems I know, the more I seem to realize how little I “know”. It is as if knowledge is never ending and that we will never have a basket full of it—in this life at least.
And each time I have had that particular thought about knowing how little I really know, I have truly felt like I understood what I was thinking. Tonight, as I was reading a book by Carl Raschke entitled “GloboChrist” I was literally overwhelmed with the vast body of knowledge that surrounds our every waking moment like the air that envelops our very being.
Why, just the casual study of how our language has developed over the millenia could consume the next twenty five or thirty years of our waking moments. For instance, did you know that a noun names a person, place, thing, quality, action or idea according to the Perrin-Smith “Handbook of Current English”—itself a tome of over 590 pages of info about the words and sentences that we use everyday and no doubt have taken very much for granted since that 4th grade English class in 1958 (insert year here).
But that, in and of itself, is just a pleasant side trip when juxtaposed against the substance of the GLOBOCHRIST book and its’ story of how the great commission is taking a postmodern turn.
But pomo or no pomo (postmodern), understanding the mystery of the gospel has got me in its’ grip—I am beginning to see just how much of it there really is to see and how little I know in comparison to how much I realize there is to go. But I am not dismayed—rather intrigued by the journey itself and all the stops and starts it has taken over the past 25 years.
It is almost as if I am a man who has eaten vanilla ice cream for many years and then one day begins to really taste the fullness of the flavors that make it what it is—this very sensory revelation doesn’t take away from what has been but instantly adds to what is and what very well will be.
Take the “Incarnation”—a noun which simply means, “…the embodiment of God in human form as Jesus”. As Christians, we believe in the divinity of Christ and the doctrinal truths that surround this belief. Yet believing it and understanding what this means for the global church is another matter in and of itself.
Simply put, “Christ in us” is what will transform us and the world and not the buildings and programs we have built around this belief. These things (buildings and programs) are not inconsequential but are not the substance of “things hoped for”.
What follows this thought for me is the fact that what we export must be trans-cultural and not an American idea of what the world needs.
I have been dismayed in the past, by how—when Americans take the gospel message (the good news) to other people groups—a very American idea of what the church should look like is usually is what transpires. Rather than focusing on the “indwelling” Christ and letting the culture shape that experience, it is often the other way around.
Now of course, I could be totally off base here simply because I have not actually been to all the nooks and crannies where the gospel message has been preached. But if what I have read (and experientially know about American culturalization) is true, we like to take our McDonalds with us rather than the other way around. I mean I thought the whole point of going to Europe was to experience the way other people live their lives. That means eating in their restaurants and using their transportation, etc.
One of my frustrations with even writing about this is, because of my free-flowing nature and lack of outlining discipline, I may not have totally made the point that I set out to make, which is—the power of the gospel and why it is still so very relevant today—is all about the incarnation plain and simple.
So at least I have a place to hang out and explore during these first few months of 2009. And hopefully you will come along for the ride as well.