Thursday, April 2, 2015

Black and White - - or not?

Thinking in terms of "black and white" is common in Christian mission. After all, people are either saved or lost, Christian or not, right? While this kind of binary thinking obscures reality, particularly when it comes to something as complex as cross-cultural mission.

One of my former Muslim friends likes to say that the first few years after he came to Jesus he did not know what he was. He did not know if he was "Christian" or "Muslim," everything was confusing. He told me, "the only thing I <strong>did know</strong> was that I was clinging to Jesus!"

Many people feel like having everything boiled down to good or bad, right or wrong. It makes them feel safe. Not only that, but it is actually easier to think this way.

Despite the incredible complexity God gave our minds, the physical organ of our brain is basically lazy. Without getting too deep into neurological science, due to the nature of biology, our brain seeks the easiest way to process information because that conserves energy. Thus it is easiest to think in terms of black or white because it is simplest.

But a quick look around your home will remind you that most of us enjoy more than the three primary colors. Because of the beauty it brings into our lives, we have learned to think in terms of nuance and shades.

In the same way, our missiology is greatly enriched when we push beyond our natural tendency of binary thinking. While it takes real work to carefully consider nuance and shades of meaning, the effort is more than made up for by the beauty of seeing God's incredibly rich handiwork woven into a great redemptive tapestry.  

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