So today I sat at a Tully’s in downtown Pleasanton hoping to prepare my message for Jr. High STUFF tomorrow night. In case you were dying to know, I’m going to be sharing about a man named Emmanuel Jal, a Sudanese Rapper and rescued child soldier caught up in the Darfur conflict. Its a pretty sweet story, check it out. While I gazed into the world that is my laptop, I started to observe my fellow Tully’s patrons in the cafe with me. To my left sat three young Christian men who were doing some sort of Bible Study. I’m confident it was a study group because of the gold-lined, leather bound books on the table with them. I know those books all to well. To my right sat an African American man preparing a sermon to preach. I overheard him describe that he is a chaplain of some sort. In front of me sat a middle-aged, glasses sporting, man with a stack of books 8 inches high. He seemed to be studying for a sermon too based on the small cross attached to the backside of his laptop and his Christian commentary volumes by his side. As I surveyed my companions I realized that about half of the people in the store were studying the Bible or preparing for some variation of a Bible lesson. My first visceral emotion was cynical, and filled with judgment. I usually enjoy being the only Christian around, it gives e a sense of identity and uniqueness. Why is it that we have paradoxical needs to both fit in and stand out?
As I began to process the reality of the situation my negativity evolved into pride, the good kind. I began to realize that these men were people who model their lives after the precepts in the Bible and aspire to be people of love, generosity, sacrifice, integrity, boldness, risk, adventure, and faith. I soon realized that I count them on my team, the team of Jesus, and that is an awesome fact. I think in todays culture many assume that we are in and strive to be in post-religious society. My friend Kevin wrote about this earlier this week and it got me thinking. Do I conceal my allegiance to the Christian Worldview, or am I proud to sport the colors of Christ? And if I do decide to embrace the Christian Worldview, what am I signing up for? The more I thought about what a Christian man stands for, the more I began to be proud. Here are some things I thought of today at Tully’s that I am unafraid to align myself with, but are by no means a comprehensive or complete list of details within a Christians worldview.
1) Belief that life is not an accident. (Gen 1) Every person I see, every cloud, every animal, and every day are results of intention and purpose.
2) Belief that life is sacred, precious, a gift to be treasured. (Psalm 139:13-16) This allows us to live humble lives of gratitude and generosity as we come to terms with the fact that we are blessed for every breath we take.
3) Belief that we live in a broken, sinful world in need of help, Gods help. (Gen 2, Rom 3:23)
4) Belief that true, full life starts and never ends when we humbly accept the fact that we need Gods help and receive his love for us through Jesus. (John 3)
5) The Bible is Gods inspired word written through imperfect humans to tell his story. (2 Timothy 3:16)
6) We are best suited for living a life in community with others, more specifically the Church. (Acts 2:42-47) As Jon Donne, the English poet, understood, “no man is an island”. From the moment we are borne to the moment we die we are dependent on one-another to get by. This should be celebrated and praised because each person can contribute to others in truly unique ways.
7) Belief that God designed us for a life of love, service, giving, sacrafice, and learning to empty ourselves for the sake of our fellow man. (Phil 2:1-11) Selflessness vs. Selfishness. This is truly counter-culture as our capitalistic consumer driven society is never satisfied with what it has and envelopes every aspect of human relationships. The Christian love should be the guiding force in friendships, stewardship of the enviornment, wealth, sexuality, justice, laws, politics, ethics, and everything else we do or say.
What if people actually embraced a Christian Worldview? Aids would stop spreading as a result of people remaining celibate, committing themselves to saving sex for marriage. Wars could cease as we begin to serve instead of dominate. The poor and downtrodden would be embraced and taken care of and provided for as generosity permeates the hearts of the rich. Fathers and Husbands would fulfill their responsibility to their families, Wives and mothers to theirs. The list could go on forever!
It is these informing ideas that contribute to the Christian Worldview and make me proud to see the world through this lens. I feel lucky and blessed. Reminding myself of what I believe drives a desire inside of me to celebrate and proclaim how there is goodness in our world. I would gladly raise a drink and say “Salute, Cheers, L’Chaim, or Hell-yeah!” to these concepts in the company of other Christians. Anyone want to join me?