Saturday, October 25, 2014

25 in 30 for 30

"Having a public faith means not retreating into Christian subculture. Instead have friends who are not just Christians." - Timothy Keller

A little background about myself:
- I grew up in a Christian family. Both of my parents and all my siblings and bro-in-laws are Evangelical believers
- I attended Cornerstone Christian School for Kindergarten, then attended Portland Christian Schools from 1st grade  all the way through high school.
- Through middle school and high school, I was highly involved with my church youth group, as a regular attender and as a student leader.
- I went to George Fox University, a contemporary Quaker Christian liberal arts school in Oregon, majoring in Christian Ministries.
- I did youth ministry with Willowbrook Free Methodist Church, in affiliation with a local YMCA, then with Countryside Community Church, all in Sherwood, Oregon. Along the way I've worked alongside workers with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and Young Life (a parachurch youth ministry).
- Now, I'm working on getting a Masters of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, one of the top Evangelical higher education institutions in the country training up pastors, preachers, teachers, counselors, missionaries, and religious academics.

(To answer your questions[s]: Yes, I've known some people for over 20 years. I'm old. And yes, I love the Pacific Northwest... because it's the best)

Noticing a trend?

I've been in a Christian environment for most of my life. Most would argue, rightly so, that I've been in a Christian bubble for a majority of it.

Thankfully, many of you, both Christian or not, have pulled me out of that bubble over the years.

Yes, many jokes can fly from sheltered children such as myself who've never been exposed to the "horrors" of public school. At least I wasn't home-schooled, right?

However, this trend was something I saw as a youth leader. So many students were involved in church, youth group, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), Young Life, and a host of other Christian-related activities, on top of school, sports, friends and family. Wow, makes my head spin just thinking about it.

Proverbs 25 is a call back to Proverbs 10-22, with short, great pearls of wisdom and observation of how things are when you follow Wisdom/Righteousness or Wickedness/Folly. Yet, this chapter is on the heals of the Thirty Sayings of the Wise, which from my post two days ago is modeled after Egyptian wisdom. Chapter 25 was "compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah (25:1). In this chapter, the allegory of consuming honey appears a few times. The gist of the honey allegory is this: consume some, but not too much, or it'll consume you.

I think this is the connection. Wisdom, ultimately, comes from God, but that doesn't mean everyday life and people can't share some healthy, good wisdom as well.

There are a number of people in my life who definitely do not believe what I believe. Because of this fact, they've helped challenge my faith. Their observations created a desire for me to dig further, not into doubt, but quite the opposite.

Paul commissioned us to be "in the world, not of it." (Romans 12:1-2)
Jeremiah told the Israelite exiles to contribute to the well-being of the city of Babylon. (Jeremiah 29)
Jesus engaged everyone he encountered, and challenged the religious to think harder and dig deeper.

This Proverb reflects this: the wisdom you seek ultimately comes from God, but don't be surprised if it comes from other places. Just don't mistake them for God as well, for He made all things.

I hope all followers of Jesus don't hide themselves from the world. We are to be in it. We are to engage it. Be challenged by it. And love the lost as Jesus loves us.

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