Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Scouring Old Posts, and Don McLaughlin Appears

I was perusing old posts on my Africa and Russia blogs for CV purposes and came across this from nearly four years ago:
We are currently in the middle of Lectureship at ACU, as for the first time it is in September instead of February, and it has been incredible so far. This morning I finished the third part of two different series, one led by Don McLaughlin on fostering development of multicultural churches, and the other a dialogue among panelists about the relationship between the church and government called "Pledging Allegiance." I highly recommend both series to anyone interested in ordering the recordings online (I think they are available on ACU's website).

One small (though remarkable) point worth mentioning from Don McLaughlin's class. He started us in Revelation 7, where the great multitude of God's people -- "from every nation, tribe, people and language" -- are gathered together in heaven in worship of God. He then brought us to Matthew 6, where in the Lord's prayer Jesus models for us to pray for God's kingdom to come "on earth as it is in heaven." Don made the point that if we take God seriously, the vision of heaven is for all people from all places to be united in worship of Him, and that if we take seriously Jesus' command to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth, then our first priority should be the destruction of barriers that previously separated us before Christ. Meaning, unity within the church between those normally segregated by external factors -- such as race, class, gender, socioeconomic status, nationality, denomination, political party, petty doctrine disagreement -- is a supreme priority for God, and if we choose to ignore it, or shy away because "it's hard," we are disobeying a direct command from God. Put another way, remaining docile and complacent about the homogeneity within our churches is disobedience to the One we claim to follow. "Unity where unity is unlikely shows that God is really in it." If we remain in churches with people with whom we would normally be anyway, what testimony is that to God? How can the love, forgiveness, reconciliation, and hope of God preside in a place where it goes unneeded? The cross of Christ shines brightest in places where there is no other explanation than that the power of God is alive and empowering a community to live with and love one another.
Little did I know that four summers following, I would be interning under the man. If I weren't so hesitant about saying such things, I might even call it providential.

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