I had a brief conversation on Twitter with @niphal today that really echoed in my mind during the event I attended tonight.
niphal “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” http://twurl.nl/j5depe Reactions?
kristarella Reaction: they can advertise atheism if they want, but I’ve never seen a religious advert on a bus, esp. a threatening one. Also ?
niphal yeah me either but I haven’t lived in London Maybe they’re ‘out there’ in London?
kristarella I’m sadly skeptical of any religious activity outside Sydney… I think I might be a bible snob. I need to get out more!
niphal I think that could be true!
I have always been a bit of an intellectual snob. It’s something that has caused discord in my mind and heart. Of course, I have friends that aren’t necessarily brainy, or don’t spend their time being geeky, but I usually connect more with those that are and do.
Often this seeps into my Christian life. In Sydney we have been blessed with amazing opportunities to study and learn; if we really wanted to we could= manage to spend a huge portion of our lives as students and never find a “real job”. Sometimes, in some “Sydney Evangelical” circles, we are in danger of loving God’s word more than we love God. Sometimes we spend more time understanding what it says than putting it into action; although the two are by no means mutually exclusive. Truly understanding God’s word will mean doing it, and our church(es) will be edified because we are of one mind and one spirit.
So back to the event I was at… We had a Tribes & Nations evening where we were able to buy products as well as hear from Grant about the purpose and goals of Tribes & Nations. We also heard from Naomi Reed.
Naomi told us that when she was (almost) a teenager she felt like there was something out of place in her life, like something was missing or wrong. When she heard about the God who loves her and sent his son Jesus to redeem her, she knew that it was true and that the wrong thing in her life was her broken relationship with her creator.
Naomi and her husband went to Nepal as a physiotherapists (a place that in 1993 had 1 physiotherapist to tend to all 20 million people in Nepal). There, they were able to not only help treat people’s physical needs, but their spiritual needs too. As representatives of the living God they were able to love the people of Nepal as whole people.
Naomi worked in the Leprosy hospital. Many of the patients there had been outcast from (even by) their families or villages and had no hope. They had a hole in their life that wasn’t only caused by their disease, and they didn’t have knowledge, money, jobs, science, computers, cameras, iPods, cars… anything to distract them from the truth that Naomi had felt too when she was younger, they were incomplete.
Today, many of them (about 700,000!) know the God who made them and loves them. One Nepali man (who recovered and has a job and place to live) said that he was thankful for the leprosy; he would rather have had leprosy and hear about Jesus than not have leprosy and not hear.
I live in a world that manages to segregate into a couple of dichotomies: Christian, or not Christian; Jesus Christ alone for salvation, or claiming that you must be baptised/speak in tongues/bear the mark/take the sacraments to be saved.
Tonight I heard about and saw a different world. One where people struggle to produce enough food for the year, where they don’t receive medical treatment, where they grow up to appease gods of destruction, gods of fear, gods of stone. Yet, a world in which God works to bring people to him, to heal their spirits and give them peace in physical, political and other kinds of unrest.
I can’t pretend that my struggles are going to just disappear. I can’t say that I won’t still question whether I can call certain people brothers and sisters. I can’t say that I won’t get angry the next time I hear someone twist the words of the bible. I hope that I can say that I will remember that God works. He works across the whole world, not just in my intellectual bubble. I hope that I will remember that he gives us his Spirit to know him and understand his word, and the people who twist that word don’t need my anger, they need my prayers.