His parents don't go to church anymore. They used to. Today they excuse their lack of fellowship because "all American churches are filled with fake Christians." They won't be part of that. They're only interested in spending time with "true believers." Not surprising, then, that they don't spend time with anyone.
In my view, they break communication with those who ruffles their feathers. He has adopted this practice himself. I said something to him he didn't like several years ago. I haven't seen him since.
The few times Facebook has told me what he's up to, it hasn't been good. Like his parents, his life is one of isolation. His theology was rather strange last time I talked with him.
My parents were big on considering things from various perspectives. They gave us an education built around fantastic books that introduced us to the larger world. We were part of a church community, but that did not preclude us from getting involved in other groups as well. We were active in sports and band. We attended functions at other churches. And we were regularly introduced to new cultures through prayer guides. We were given daily opportunities to see how God works in the hearts and lives of people just like us. We also saw His redemptive power in the lives of those radically different as well.
I don't like the isolationist idea. I see it bring people to bad places. I see them alone and consumed with their personal ideas and doctrines. They read things in Scripture I've never seen. And, too often, they'd be happy if the world burned around them as long as they came out okay on the other side.
I believe we see more reality the more we look around. I'm not talking about searching for God in world religions, restlessly embracing every philosophy as if amalgamated contradictions were enlightening paradoxes. No. But God is bigger than me. My view of Him is too easily shaped by my experiences and emotions. I'm no less prone to error than my forefathers. And like everyone else, I'm rather good at reading into Scripture what I want to see. And as fantastic as my church and pastoral leaders are, they are well aware of churches around the globe who can teach us a thing or two about prayer, worship, and following Christ.
This is the power of diversity. Through the various branches and expressions of discipleship, we begin to weave a tapestry of the Body of Christ that reflects His love and grace.
We do not see the world correctly when we view it only from the tiny windows of our home. But through books, and testimony, and fellowship, and discussion, we can find a new clarity.
The world is big. God is bigger. And our only hope of seeing more clearly His view is to draw near to Him, His Body, His redemptive story throughout history, and the people He wants to touch through us.
I am so thankful for the global perspective my parents offered me through Sonlight. It is such a joy to be surrounded by my quirky friends. I am blessed to know people who challenge my assumptions and nudge me further into God's grace and truth. And I delight in the daily opportunities to expand my view and try to see the world a little more clearly through the insights and experiences of you, my brothers and sisters.
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