Monday, April 13, 2009

going tribal


There used to be a show on Discovery Chan nel called "Going Tribal". This guy named Bruce Parry goes into a 3rd world country and lives with a tribe of people for like a month. He literally becomes one of them. He dresses like them, sleeps like them, eats what they eat, and he observes and participates in their customs and traditions. He literally goes Tribal.

It really reminds me of what it means to be a Christian and what our purpose is on this earth as children of God. Sometimes we go to church for so long and "serve" in churchg so long, and our whole lives revolve around church services, programs, activities, and friends that we have no contact with the outside world and we in no way relate to anyone who doesn't go to church. We forget what it was like to be lost, unsaved, and to not go to church or doing church things or being churchy.

I believe with all my heart that God wants us in church. I believe He wants us to use our gifts to serve in ministry, and I believe He wants each of us to do our part. I believe God wants us to be a family in our churches and have christian relationships, but I also believe with all my heart, that He never meant for us to be a christian country club, or a religious social group that never interacts with our communities, closes out the outside world, and doesn't reach out to lost, hurting, searching people in our world.

Once we know God and enter a relationship with Him and begin to mature, God doesn't want us to continue living like the world or we once did, but His word doesn't suggest or back up the attitude many have, that we are to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. As a mattter of fact, if you read Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John the gospel accounts of Jesus earthly life, you will see Jesus spent as much time with his disciples (some of who were worldly before the met Jesus) as He spent with non-religious, pagans, sinners, and the like, and He was always defending the outcasts, rejected, and those who needed grace the most.

"It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick." Matthew 9:12b(NIV)

This was Jesus' answer to supposedly religous leaders of that day when they questioned (condemned really) Him eating at Matthew's house (tax collector) with other tax collector and "sinners". Being a tax collector in those times, wasn't popular, because most of them cheated people and charged them higher taxes and kept some money for themselves. But, the real reason they didn't like it was because it "didn't look good".

Today it's not tax collectors we despise. For some of us, It's people who hang out in bars, do drugs, sleep around, are gay, have abortions, or commit adultery. We think Jesus would never associate with these people, most churches certainly aren't reaching out to these types of people, and a lot of christians turn their backs, turn up their nose, and either run away from them, or run to them to tell them "what we think" of them, like they are doing God a favor (hint: your not).

Understand we are not condoning behaviors or accepting lifestyles when we love people and show them grace. We can be firm in our convictions, yet tender in our mercy. We can stand strongly in God's word, yet reach out a hand of freindship to the hurting and help them change.
Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians Chapter 9 about the rights of an Apostle and he goes into detail talking about How he's willing to do anything to reach people for Christ.

"I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings".
I Corinthians 9:22b-23(NIV)

Bruce Parry goes tribal so he can understand cultures, people, places, and traditions in forgotten tribes, do you think those of us who already know God and have a relationship with Him, can venture out of suburbs, get our nose out of a book, and step outside the church doors and actually be the church to people?

I think it's time we go tribal! We work, have class, play sports, and live beside people who do not know God personally or knonw anything about Faith. People don't care that you go to church, they don't care how much you know about the Bible. Church, God, Jesus, Bible, Faith, Hope means nothing to people who don't know about them, they must be taught and more importantly shown and the only way we can show them is to live among them, hang out with them, and practice what we preach! It's time we stop hurting hurt people are stop helping them, but we've got to understand them first. Let's get out there in the world and start relating to people again.

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